BBC One controller Danny Cohen fails to rule out possible application for vacant BBC Vision top job

In an intriguing Q & A Edinburgh Television Festival session moderated by a mischievous Kirsty Wark, BBC One's Danny Cohen refused to rule out the possibility that he'll apply for the vacancy at BBC Vision created by George Entwistle's promotion to Director General and says he's going to consider his options over the next few weeks.

Asked about Elisabeth Murdoch's positive remarks about the BBC and the way it is funded, Cohen's answer suggested that her support doesn't mean much to him: "we always like to hear that licence fee payers support the licence fee".

Unsurprisingly, Cohen is happy to soak up the praise for the BBC's Olympics broadcasts but he believes its significance goes well beyond the excellence of the coverage: the public's use of the 'red button' and the other digital portals "was a moment of digital watershed for the UK".

Cohen balked at Wark's suggestion that the Olympics helped to make up for 'flotilla-gate' - the BBC's heavily-criticised coverage of the Jubilee celebrations - but by repeating the oft-used excuses about the weather, he merely confirmed Wark's assertion that the BBC is overly-defensive to criticism.

The extent of Cohen's micro-management was on display when he discussed The Voice - the imported format that briefly challenged Simon Cowell's dominance of Saturday nights. It's widely believed that the show's flaw is a loss of viewer interest once the judges have chosen the acts they want to mentor because the powerful hook involving 'spinning chairs' only features in the earliest phase of the competition. It's clear that BBC One's most powerful executive has been pondering 'spinning chairs' ever since.

Cohen was actively promoting 'Citizen Khan' - a new sitcom airing next Monday - and it’s clear that he is very happy to have commissioned it. He also spoke warmly of new sitcom projects penned by Ben Elton and David Walliams and there was a strong sense that Cohen is looking for a comedy hit to match the success of the hit drama 'Call The Midwife'. He doesn't reveal how high his hopes were for the David Jason comedy 'The Royal Bodyguard' but he admits he "would have liked it to have done better" and confirms there will be no second series.

Cohen is quite self-effacing about the enormity of 'Call The Midwife' and he concedes that "when something goes 'pop' you never really know ahead of time that that's going to happen".

There has been much talk at this year's TV Festival about the importance of the so-called 'second screen' and Danny Cohen's take on it is oddly literal: "I don't know how much it's going to be about two screens and how much it's going to be about one joined-up screen" - a statement that suggested that BBC One's Controller is adopting a 'wait and see' attitude to this burgeoning technology.

Cohen has also adopted a 'wait and see' approach to the vacant role of 'director of BBC Vision'. He appeared to use his appearance at The TV Festival to sound out the idea of applying and he may well be assessing feedback from colleagues after making it abundantly clear that he's considering his position. It would certainly put him in pole position to ultimately become 'Director General' - a role that many believe to be his destiny.

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