Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Never mind Aled Jones in UK, the news from the States of the suspension of 75-year-old Charlie Rose from CBS and his nightly show on PBS is a shock. His trademark has been the urbane, civilised interview.

Meanwhile, it's something of a mystery back home that Aled and 5Live's George Riley are the only two of the 25 'live' cases at the BBC that have come to public attention.


And, at the tail of last night's Newsnight, Emily Maitlis cheerily read the autocue which said Princess Elizabeth got married in 1937, at the time of the continuing civil war in Spain....

Monday, November 20, 2017


As the BBC ponders best how it might get yoof back watching BBC1, the return of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here to ITV last night was watched by 2.96m in the 16-to-34 age group - 73% of that demographic who were watching any telly at the time.


Quite rightly, the BBC has a number of reporters in Zimbabwe. They include new Africa Editor Fergal Keane; old hand Andrew Harding; Anne Soy from Nairobi; Stanley Kwenda, multimedia journalist for World Service; and Harare-based Shingai Nyoka. Also on site is BBC News channel presenter, Ben Brown.

A year ago, as a cost-cutting measure, BBC News bosses ruled that presenters from the News Channel, Newsnight and BBC Breakfast were no longer to be deployed abroad on big stories.

Xmas present ?

For just £55 you could get a ticket to hear the BBC's Director of Studios, Mark Linsey, talk about "The Culture Change Journey" in February. The event is being organised by The Leaders Club ("Bringing Great Minds Together") at conference rooms just across Portland Place from Broadcasting House. Given Mark's attention to bottom-line opportunities, it's rather a surprise it's not in BH, so that Auntie could have taken a cut....

Mark, despite a degree in performing arts, is bringing COO Anna Mallett and HR boss Jabbar Sardar with him, to help fill the hour.


The old Rotunda building, bolted on the east side of the former BBC White City 1 building, has been bought by Rayners Lane muso Jai Paul.

The four-storey silver-clad circular lump was a building in search of a purpose during its BBC ownership - used as a dentist's surgery and then as a BBC staff bar. In fact, it was orginally designed to stand in front of the building's main entrance - as a hub for directing visitors to various parts of the site. Councillors, quite rightly, thought it misplaced and ugly. But, under the BBC's procurement route, it had all been paid-for and ordered, so it was wodged on land at the east side, and a short high-level corridor connected it to the rest of the building.

The circus tent of spikes atop the Rotunda act as a support for a metal globe, which was a piece of 'public art' required of the development - barely visible to anyone inside or outside.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Executive recruitment

In the absence of any real information, I fell to musing yesterday on the problems of attracting top quality candidates to pitch for BBC Director of News.

It ran like this. There is no longer a seat for this key function on the BBC's top board. This is despite News fulfilling most of the BBC's key purposes, and employing the vast majority of BBC staff (6596.6 equivalent full time continuing and fixed term employees in BBC News & Current Affairs  at 1st October. This does not include overseas recruits, agency, freelancer and casuals - or staff working for the burgeoning BBC Global News Ltd).

James Harding was out of work when Lord Hall tapped him up. To tap up, say, Lionel Barber at the FT, you might have to make some more promises - perhaps even hint at preparation to follow Lord Hall as DG. Lionel, spookily, has been musing on the future of journalism at the Society of Editors conference. And Kath Viner, at The Guardian has produced a long read on "A mission for journalism in a time of crisis". You'd be forgiven for thinking they could be preparing a presentation for a big interview.

You might try turning to former BBC News executives Roger Mosey, 59 or Mark Damazer, 62. The problem is that, if you bring any these savvy types in, they'd want to be assured they were ahead of James Purnell in any new pecking order. 

When do we want it ?


Some of this blog relies on big organisations' commitment to transparency.

There's been no publication of BBC Board minutes since June. There's been no publication of Ofcom Content Board minutes since March. BBC senior manager's expenses, once updated quarterly, are frozen in time at Quarter 4 2016/17.

There should be a new Chair of Ofcom by now.

Give us a break.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Streaming The Queen

Yanks starved of access to British culture by the scheduling policies of BBC Star Trek America may like to consider a switch to the streaming services of Britbox, which has just launched "Britmas".

Subscribers ($6.99 a month) will get near simultaneous re-broadcasts of The Queen's Christmas Message and Carols from King's. Other delights on offer in December include archive Christmas specials from The Office, Only Fools and Horses and Upstairs Downstairs. 


Jonty and the boys have had a meeting at the BBC, and someone noticed that the re-imagined Civilisation series (re-imagined by making it plural) hadn't got a 'partnership'. So now there's an invitation to all the UK's museums, galleries and libraries to take part in a Civilisations Festival, to run alongside transmission of the the new series in March next year.

But these are straightened times, and the partnership fund is £10k. And 100 institutions have already signed up.....you do the maths.

Other people who read this.......