Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Last train

All very disruptive. One assumes Lord Hall himself is Gold Commander for the Clarkson Case.

Danny Cohen, Director of Television, wanted firmer action against Jezzer for previous transgressions, and thus has a position. Tim Davie, of BBC Worldwide, has a large financial interest. Worldwide re-acquired the Top Gear production company, Bedder 6, buying out Clarkson's shareholding in 2012; the company address is now the BBC Media Centre, W12. So both Clarkson and one of the shows producers, Oisin Tymon, are presumably his employees. Working out what to do will thus involve Kirstin Furber, Director of People at Worldwide.

This one looks like it's gone past what's described as "the informal procedure". Under BBC policies, the formal procedure is for the relevant manager to conduct a fact-finding investigation, "where there is uncertainty about whether a breach of discipline has occurred".  Was there an actual punch ? Did it land ? Was is provoked ? Is hunger an excuse for the threat of physical violence ? Did Newcastle have anything to do with Jezzer's mood ? Did Oisin complain, or was it someone else ?

Step 2 is The Meeting, summoned by a letter outlining the allegations. The employee will be given time to brief "an accredited representative" or a BBC colleague. After the meeting, the manager reviews the evidence, before writing to the employee with a decision notice. That decision will be discussed with a full-time official of any union representing the employee.

Step 3, is The Appeal, which, if made, has to be heard by a manager at least one level above the manager of the first hearing.

As insiders will tell you, all this can take months, if not years.

The crisis management specialists will be looking for something cuter. I'd promote Oisin (it means "little deer", and was the name legendary warrior Fionn Mac Cool and the goddess Sive gave to their son), get a photo opp set up with Jezzer handing him keys to one of his own cars by way of apology, then end with a rising drone shot of Jezzer cycling off to an anger management course, to be completed before the next Top Gear Live arena show, in Belfast at the end of May. Bring the last three episodes of this run of Top Gear back in the autumn.
  • 1230 Update: Clarkson's next scheduled outing under the Top Gear brand is 27th March at the Somarka Arena, Stavanger, Norway.
  • All this on Alan Yentob's 68th birthday. The sweet sherry will have to stay in his cupboard til this one's sorted. 

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