BBC Director General Runners and Riders

This morning’s abrupt announcement that Tony Hall is to step down as Director-General of the BBC has sent succession speculation into overdrive. As ever, Guido brings you the runners and riders for the perhaps appropriately communist-sounding job title…

  • Charlotte Moore
    Currently the Beeb’s Director of Content, and a former Controller of BBC One, Moore has been with the corporation for fourteen years. A safe choice, with the added bonus that the gender-pay-embattled BBC would be able to boast about hiring a woman. Of course, Guido would prefer conscientious objector to the BBC’s TV tax Charles Moore…
  • Tim Davie
    Advantage of having done the role before, for five months immediately preceding Tony Hall’s tenure. Would make a fitting bookend…
  • Jay Hunt
    Aussie-born Jay abandoned the BBC to become Chief Creative Officer of Channel 4 in 2011, quickly taking Matt Frei and Michael Crick with her. Channel 4 pedigree might not be the best way to win the trust of this Government with Charter renewal being a big part of the brief…
  • Carolyn McCall
    Serial businesswoman and Chief Executive of ITV since 2018, it must be tempting to step up from the third channel to the first. Although she hasn’t long in post before a move…
  • Alex Mahon
    Chief Executive of Channel 4 since 2017, when she became the first female CEO of a major UK broadcaster. The Beeb will be tempted to tick the female box, however, might be wary of hyper-left wing hires…
  • James Purnell
    Went from appearing on Newsnight seamlessly to being the BBC’s Director of Strategy and Digital. If a former Labour cabinet minister can get the job, surely other partisan people should be considered too…
  • Robbie Gibb
    If James Purnell can go from government to the BBC, why can’t the former editor of Newsnight go from government to the private sector, back to the BBC?

Guido will be surprised if it is not a woman…

mdi-timer January 20 2020 @ 15:14 20 Jan 2020 @ 15:14 mdi-comment Comments
Read In Full: Tony Hall’s Resignation Letter

Lord Hall has written to all BBC staff to explain his abrupt decision to step down from his role as BBC Director-General this summer. He wants the same person to be able to lead the corporations’ 2022 review as will see through the 2027 charter renewal. Read his letter in full here…

Dear colleagues,

First of all, thank you for all your comments and feedback since I spoke to you from Cardiff last week. It was really important to me to set a clear direction for us, as well as celebrating some of the outstanding work you’re doing.

My reason for writing is however more personal. I wanted you to be the first to know that I will give my all to this organisation for the next six months, as I have done these last seven years. But in the summer I’ll step down as your Director-General.

Read More

mdi-timer January 20 2020 @ 11:12 20 Jan 2020 @ 11:12 mdi-comment Comments
Twitter Bitch Fight of the Week

Battle waged between female media giants this morning on Twitter as Julia Hartley-Brewer called out Kay Burley’s hypocrisy when Lisa Nandy pulled out of an interview on her show. Julia was surprised Nandy didn’t get the same treatment subjected to James Cleverly during the election.

Kay fired back with “‘she?’ Bless you” which exploded the whole conversation

As per usual, we’ll leave it up to Guido readers to decide who won this one…

UPDATE: Julia has clapped back…

mdi-timer January 14 2020 @ 10:57 14 Jan 2020 @ 10:57 mdi-comment Comments
Editors Still Grumpy About No. 10’s Briefing Reforms

The media are still fighting No. 10’s reforms to the archaic Lobby system, desperate to come up with excuses to keep their cosy club as they’ve always liked it. Today the Society of Editors published a “call on PM to review lobby changes”. Not quite the ‘war’ the Lobby were promising…

Their letter raises three concerns which, given Guido’s now attended a couple of the new briefings, bear no basis in reality:

  1. Travelling to Downing Street twice a day will “hamper coverage of open government“. It’s at most a 5-minute walk from Parliament…
  2. “Correspondents now have to negotiate the Downing Street security system before attending the briefings”. It is the smoothest, quickest security Guido can remember encountering – waved through in seconds…
  3. “Correspondents… cannot take mobile phones”. This one came as a particular surprise to Guido given he’s been live-tweeting the briefings from his phone…

They voice these concerns especially for “regional titles and also smaller publications and websites”, yet smaller publications have been offered the option by No. 10 to ring the spokesman, receive the full readout and ask questions if they need to – even though they very rarely attend the afternoon sessions anyway. Ultimately this will all be fixed if Number 10 entered the 21st century and decide to #streamthebriefings…

mdi-timer January 13 2020 @ 16:28 13 Jan 2020 @ 16:28 mdi-comment Comments
BBC News Tech Cock Up Magnificently Handled

BBC Afternoon Live presenter Martine Croxall managed to smoothly work her way out of a tricky tech situation in the two o’clock headlines. Well worth a watch…

Hat-tip: Julian Druker
mdi-timer January 10 2020 @ 14:13 10 Jan 2020 @ 14:13 mdi-comment Comments
Live Stream the ‘People’s Briefings’ from Downing Street

The gentlemen of the Lobby are as thin-skinned and status conscious as a gaggle of gay hairdressers on a night out, currently they are up in arms about Downing Street insisting that their briefings be held at their offices. Usually ebullient Lobby chairman Christopher Hope is complaining that they now have to nip across Parliament Square and pop into Downing Street to hold the government to account. The truth is it is way past time to open up the government’s briefings, make them transparent and disintermediate the gatekeepers of the political news agenda.

In a digital world where news happens in realtime, not to inky deadlines, it is time to just put the briefings out live, streamed to everyone on all platforms. During the election Boris livestreamed his “People’s PMQs” on Facebook, demonstrating there is no technological reason why the briefings can’t be broadcast via a free digital feed to everyone. Hacks will still get to ask the questions, they just won’t be able to spin off-camera, privately delivered answers as they do now. 

The reality is that it isn’t in the interests of hacks to open up the Lobby system or insist more often that quotes are on the public record. Intermediating allows them to more easily introduce their opinions into their new reports. Transparency will devalue their role because information scarcity makes their possession of a spokesman’s phone number so much more valuable. A start to improving and opening up the system would be to put the people’s briefings into the open, in realtime as it happens…

mdi-timer January 9 2020 @ 09:57 9 Jan 2020 @ 09:57 mdi-comment Comments
Previous Page Next Page