Thursday, March 26, 2015

Underling news

A technical rollercoaster of a Newsnight last night - Piers Morgan, booked to appear live from at LA (announced at 1400 GMT) spent an hour in a remote studio without making it to air. His non-appearance meant we got a little more than we could stand of BBC Creative Director Alan Yentob on Clarkson, after an expensive Steve Hewlett set-up film.

Yentob's people had first said no to to duty editor Neil Breakwell - he was busy. He'd done R4 twice - The Media Show and PM, separated by less than an hour, and had opined on C4 News. He was in the brochure for an evening party to mark 25 Years of BBC Films, being held in the Radio Theatre, part of the same building as Newsnight.

Alan enjoys the company and hospitality of film producers, and had changed to the dark grey suit from the light grey (for Wolseley lunch), but with the same trainers. On Newsnight he was wearing either a prototype BBC Fitness band, or something that entitled him to unlimited local wines and beers at the do. Or it could be a new personal body identity card; Alan's had "Don't you know who I am ?" problems with the BBC standard issue over the years.

Do sanctions against those who face allegations of bullying actually work ? Do they drive a change in attitudes to production staff ? Mark Lawson, who left Radio 4's Front Row last March "for personal reasons", but co-incident with an investigation by HR, shared his thoughts on the Clarkson affair with Radio Times. You get a flavour in this quote...

"It may be revealing of the priorities of the BBC that, while an American TV star was disciplined for a serious broadcast falsehood, the British telly celebrity was pulled off air for allegedly losing his rag with an underling getting his supper."

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