Friday, March 24, 2017

Where you are....

Top of the ratings across all channels yesterday ?  Despite all the London attack aftermath, it was the BBC's regional bulletins at 6.30pm, reaching a combined average of 5.967m, a 34% share of the available audience.

6 minutes a record

The eyebrows of your tireless blogger were raised to extremis when the BBC told an FOI enquirer that it would take more than two and a half days to work out the diversity stats for the 169 most recent recruits at BBC News.

Thank heavens - a BBC internal reviewer agrees with me. But look what they did to try to avoid answering...

"For the purpose of this review, I conducted further enquiries with BBC People in order to ascertain how long it would take to comply with the applicant’s request. BBC People confirmed that, while the information could not be automatically collated through a database (as it can be with full time employees), a manual search of electronically held documents would be required to determine the diversity and disability data held for the 169 external recruits. In the initial handling of the request, a sample exercise was completed and the BBC was of the position that the 18 hours would be exceeded. It is a time-consuming and manual process, but the BBC has now confirmed that it can complete the search within the appropriate limit."

Now we have to wait 20 days for the official figures. I sure they'll be as sparkly and shiny as the pan-BBC figures that recently emerged from, not HR records, but a survey. 


As Lord Hall and Sir David Clementi unveiled the composition of the new BBC Board, James Purnell, named only on the substitutes' bench, headed to adland, undercover.

The-tie-that-secured-Charter-renewal was ditched; a symphony in grey, including parts of the beard and the on-trend cardboard trousers, addressed a huge crowd in the Picturehouse, off Piccadilly, assembled for Advertising Week Europe. Watch and enjoy.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

New Faces

Two existing non-executives - Simon Burke and Nicholas Serota - have signed on for the new BBC (unitary) Board; one new face, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE has been in and around the BBC for yonks - in 2006 she was part of a panel appointed by the BBC Governors reviewing impartiality.

That leaves two new-ish faces joining as non-executives.

Ian Hargreaves, 65 was hired by John Birt in 1987 when John was given BBC News to run as Deputy Director General. Ian came from the FT, and moved seamlessly from Managing Editor to Controller to Director of News and Current Affairs, all within four years, before heading back to the FT as Deputy Editor. And when he left, the Director role fell to Tony Hall. Ian went to Burnley and Altrincham Grammar Schools, and then Queen's College Cambridge, reading English with French; his first hack job was with the Keighley News. His main residence now is a grey stone villa in the Cardiff suburb of Penarth.

Tom Ilube, 53, is a self-described 'introvert geek' who was also crowned this year as "Britain's most influential black person". Born in Isleworth to an English mother and Nigerian father, Ilube spent his formative years between the UK, Uganda, and his dad’s country of birth. He took his first degree, in physics, at the University of Benin, Nigeria, followed by an MBA at Cass Business School in London. He's currently founder and CEO of Crossword Cybersecurity PLC; he set up online credit raters Noddle and online identity trackers Garlik (now part of Experian). He runs educational charities in Ghana and Tottenham. He likes tai chi, Maseratis and now lives in Petersham.

His father was an engineer, who trained with the British Army in Harrogate, and then joined the BBC, before being part of the set-up team of Ugandan TV - there until Idi Amin was deposed.

How do you like them apples ?

The Golden Apples of seats on the new BBC (Unitary) Board have been thrown in rather different directions to those anticipated.

Yes, DG Lord Hall and his No 2, Anne Bulford take two of the homeside seats, alongside new Chairman, Sir David Clementi. But the story coming from Broadcasting House is that the remaining two go to Tim Davie, the BBC's most expensive employee, as Director of BBC Worldwide - and Ken MacQuarrie, newly-appointed holder of the resurrecting title of Director of Nations and Regions.

This avoids entirely the problems of making choices between James Harding, Director of News, James Purnell, Director of Radio and Education and Charlotte Moore Director of Content.

Gnomically, Sir David Clementi offers this quote in the press release. “Consideration around succession planning has played no part in the Board appointments being announced today.”


A mere sidebar to the horror of yesterday's events. ITV rightly biffed The Nightly Show, and ITV News at Ten was restored. I don't have the figures yet, but the BBC's 54-minute extended bulletin was watched by an averged of 6.17m viewers according to the overnight ratings - a 36.9% share.

C4 News averaged 96,000 - 5.0%. The Evening Standard offered a late edition - sadly, digital only.

What's the right call for ITV tonight ?


The forecourt of Television Centre - in BBC days, known as the Horseshoe Car Park, with entrance and exit through raise-and-lower barriers, with a central office for security guards - has always looked very different in artist impressions by developers Stanhope. Monumental concrete letters have so far been the name of the game....

New images from the Architects Journal show some rather different views. The developers are running a design competition to provide a kiosk or kiosks (selling coffee and flowers) on the outside deck in front of the big brick wall containing tv studio TC1. I'm afraid, at 28m, the opportunity is rather small for the five short-listed schemes - and the impact is provincial theme park, rather than wow.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Let it go

There are a few viewers - not many - who give each new host of  ITV's Nightly Show a chance. Dermot O'Leary was watched by an average of 1.6m viewers on Monday night - last night, the figure was down to 925k, a new low for the series.

We're almost halfway through the eight-week run. Gordon Ramsay is expected to be in the presenter's chair next week; lovable family man Jason Manford will do Week 7.  Never mind guest-booking, presenters for weeks 6 and 8 would be handy.

Farewell, BBC Trust, aged 10

The BBC Trust held its last meeting on Monday, and then held a small wake in the wood-panelled Council Chamber at Broadcasting House. (Deep blue carpet down to Dame Jenny Abramsky's interior design skills - shows up trodden-in deep fried mushroom balls and other assorted canapes wonderfully).

I wonder if anyone's going to pen a monograph.

I wonder if anyone's going to tell us who's on the new unitary Board before it starts work.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Where did you say ?

Potential candidates to follow David Abraham as CEO of Channel 4 will note that, in the candidate blurb from headhunters Egon Zehnder, there's an important blank ..

Position:Chief Executive Officer
Organisation:Channel 4

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