Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Frothy coffee

Sometimes it's easy to patronise people in other countries by accident.  Sometimes it's done through ignorance. Not long ago, while still Controller, BBC Vision, Jana Bennett made a visit to BBC Wales - where a new "drama village" will soon be in operation.  Asked if she'd like a refreshment at the first meeting, she's reported to have said "Can I be terribly London and have a cappuccino ?"

The Welsh Language Board suspects a different form of patronage is going on in the hunt for a new Controller of BBC Wales. At present, speaking Welsh is "desirable, not essential" in the job specification.  The Board says Mark Thompson has refused to add a condition that a non-Welsh speaking Controller should be expected to achieve fluency as a condition of their contract.  

The last five Controllers of BBC Wales have been bi-lingual, and there are plenty with the same facility who think the job should be theirs; but the contrarian blog, Gogwatch, innocently states "In a country where most Welsh people do not speak Welsh it is odd that the best job in BBC Wales keeps going to a Welsh speaker".

It's also odd that neither the post of Controller, BBC Wales nor the post Controller BBC Vision has been filled yet - our dear DG knew about the impending vacancies in November (and probably before).   Are they both being held to be filled after a further executive re-structure ?

  • 1.30pm Update: Interesting to note that the Guardian's Media Monkey also picked up vibes of changes at BBC Vision during his regular ligging at the RTS Awards.... 


  1. Hi Bill
    one thing to bear in mind about the post of Controller BBC Wales is that it has responsibility for output in the Welsh Language. It's not a great idea to be editor of stuff you don't understand. To that extent it is not at all odd that the best job in BBC Wales keeps going to a Welsh speaker.
    See you soon I hope

    Matt Morris

  2. And on further inspection I see that Meri Huws thinks the same!


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