The new Chairman of the BBC is to be Michael Grade, former Chief Executive of Channel 4 and a previous Managing Director of BBC TV.

The previous chairman, Gavyn Davies, and Director General Greg Dyke stepped down in January in the wake of the Hutton Report on the death of government scientist Dr David Kelly.

Commentators say Mr Grade is seen as a champion of programme makers. One of his first tasks will be to oversee the appointment of a new Director General to succeed Mr Dyke.

The 61-year-old comes from one of Britain's best-known theatrical families. He was only three when his mother left his father, the theatrical agent Leslie Grade, and left him to be brought up by his grandmother.

Mr Grade's uncles were the impresarios Lew (later Lord) Grade, who ran ATV, and Bernard (later Lord) Delfont.

After a spell at the Daily Mirror, which he joined aged 17, he worked for seven years as a theatrical agent in London.

He learned the television trade at LWT in the 1970s, becoming Deputy Controller of entertainment programmes at LWT before he joined the BBC as Controller of BBC1.

A former director of the Millennium Dome project, Michael Grade was made a CBE in 1998. He is currently the chairman of Camelot, the lottery operator, but will step down from that role on taking up his new appointment in the middle of next month.