Friday, July 21, 2017


Probably still not a good day for signs and symbols of conspicuous consumption and status at the BBC - so this little number was parked round the back....

Done with Elan

Elan Closs Stephen, 69, has been re-invented as guardian of BBC interests in Wales, after the kerfuffle over Dr Carol Bell, selected and nominated for the job initially but turned down by the Welsh Minister Alun Davies.

Elan (Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle and English Literature and Language, Somerville College, Oxford - and the first woman President of Dafydd ap Gwilym Society Oxford University) was previously a member of the BBC Trust. Indeed she was such a trustie that she sat alongside Sir David Clementi as he selected the new bunch of non-executives for the unitary Board - including unfortunate Carol. At least Elan won't have to introduce herself to her new chums.


It cost BBC Worldwide £12.5m to close down the download-to-own failure, BBC Store.


As the BBC fails to put out fires still burning around how they decide someone's value, and heads to a new pay structure with humongous, deliberately-impenetrable salary bands with increased management discretion, and the country's general sense of haves and have-nots grows, it's entertaining to see a little light lunch for two laid out at Broadcasting House.

BBC canteen prices have just gone up 4%.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


There's a day or two still in this one.

Below, Charlie Stayt #notonthelist and Naga Munchetty #probably only on the list cos she did Strictly, discuss the salaries of Dan Walker #on the list partially because of Football Focus and Louise Minchin #notonthelist

Radio 2 ain't cheap, is it ?  But is Vanessa really worth more than Ken Bruce because she does a Radio London phone-in ?  Are these salaries the cumulative decisions of James Purnell, Director of Radio & Education - £295k; Bob Shennan, Director of Radio & Music - £291k; his deputy Graham Ellis £212k; or Lewis Carnie, Head of Radio 2 - #notonthelist ?

We finally discover that Jonty Claypole, Director of Arts (the whole lot) is on £150k+, yet Alan Yentob, who edits one arts strand, and has made just two new films this calendar year, is on £200k+.

Over at 5Live, there'll be tensions because Breakfast's Rachel Burden is #notonthelist, yet weekend late host Stephen Nolan, who also does local tv and radio in Northern Ireland, is apparently worth more than £400k to BBC audiences.

The BBC knew these lists were coming - Karen Bradley insisted on them publicly in mid-September last year. Since then, there've been some adjustments - but not enough.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Secret agents

The BBC presenter stuff is fun, isn't it ? This morning Lord Grade, a former BBC exec and chairman, and an agent, said the revelations were wrong. Today we learn his sister, agent Anita Land, has done rather well for two of her clients. Eddie Mair, on £300k+, for a portfolio that includes, er, PM. Nicky Campbell, with 5Live Breakfast and The Big Questions, is on £400k + (which won't include ITV's Long Lost Families.)

Doing even better is Alex Armitage of Noel Gay, representing Jeremy Vine, who, through Egg Heads, Radio 2, Points of View and election-arm-waving, takes home £700k+. Is he really worth more than John Humphrys, Today and Mastermind, on £600k+ ? Could not Alex do better for clients Emily Maitlis and Sarah Montague, neither of whom break the £150k barrier ?

Over at Avalon Management, Fiona Bruce, watched by millions on the Antiques Roadshow, Fake or Fortune and the 10'Clock News, is on £350k+. Yet Vanessa Feltz is in the same band (achieved with ASM, who also represent Nick Ferrari, Nadine Dorries and Sally Bercow).

Many will think Sam Gregory, at new-ish agency Big Red Talent, has over-achieved in getting £250k+ for shouty sports presenter Jason Mohammad. That's better than the £200k+ that James Grant has fixed for Gabby Logan, and the surprisingly-low £150k+ for Clare Balding, with the same agent.

World Affairs Editor John Simpson, with Kruger Cowne (in which he has a family interest) is on £150k+ - colleagues would give their eye teeth to know the full-time equivalent rate.

Andrew Neil, on £200k+, looks low, but then the figure might not include the free Blue Nun and presentation fee for This Week, produced by News' favourite indie, Juniper.

Personally, I think Radio 2 could make a useful saving on Steve Wright - really worth £500k + ?


A mixed section of KPIs etc from the BBC Annual Report 2016/17......

£2m was spend on redundancy costs in closing down the BBC Trust. 

Severance pay to staff overall rose to £33m, seeing 539 out of the door at an average cost of £61,398k. 124 of them took away more than £100k.

Radio 1Xtra saw its cost per user hour rise from 1.7p to 2.8p - close to 65% up.  BBC Alba moved from 7.8p to 9.6p per user hour.

Returns from BBC Worldwide rose from £143m to £157m; BBC Global News moved into profit of £2m (from break even last time); and BBC Studioworks turned a £2m deficit into a £3m profit.

BBC Worldwide CEO Tim Davie is the highest paid executive - nudging up just £1k this year, to a total package of £665k.

The report says no executive received severance pay in the financial year - which seems surprising given the departure of Helen Boaden to make way for James Purnell.

The BBC Pension Scheme deficit moved up 14% to £1,149 million, compared to £1,011 million a year ago.

Median earnings across the BBC rose 2% over the year, to £44k.

The percentage of programmes in BBC1's peak hours that were repeats fell from 5.7% to 4.0%.

The BBC recorded a deficit of just over £129m over the financial year.


Will part-time World Affairs Editor John Simpson be bothering the £150k salary stewards ? Shouldn't John be able to answer his own question ?

Everbody's at it

While you're waiting ...

...for those salary bands in full, we have the first set of minutes from the brand new BBC Board. They run to eight pages, bloated by a good deal of pompous stuff and 'governance'.

But there were also a few old chestnuts - including a promise that new tv drama would be played through a 'domestic set' prior to sign off to check audibility.  I have a 14 inch Sony Trinitron which may be useful.

The new directors tapdanced the steps of a 'materiality assessment' on whether or not Auntie might upset anyone by spending more on children's programmes - and said 'Go right ahead, Jimmy'.
It won't be eight pages next time....

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