Friday, April 17, 2015


A career in broadcasting regulation means you often bump into people again and again, sometimes travelling in different directions.

Take Alex Towers, the new Director of the BBC Trust, preferred by Rona Fairhead to mount what maybe its Last Stand. A degree in history from Robinson College, Cambridge leads, after a rather blank couple of years in the cv, to working for Tessa Jowell at the DCMS in 2002. Alex is part of the Bill Team working on what would become the 2003 Communications Act, alongside Peter De Val (spookily now Head of Legal at the BBC Trust). The Act set up Ofcom (from an idea by one James Purnell), and Alex went to work for it on its first review during 2004.

In 2006 Alex came back to the DCMS, with Tessa still at the top, but with James Purnell as Minister of State. Alex looked after the UK Humanitarian Assistance Unit, and was line managed by one Alan Davey, now of Radio 3.  

In 2007, James Purnell stepped up to Culture Secretary, and Alex switched to support Nicky Roche in the emerging Olympics Unit.  At that stage, Jon Zeff outranks our Alex, joining the DCMS as Director of Broadcasting. Margaret Hodge joined the department as Minister for State. In 2008, Alex took a career break, before joining the BBC Trust the following year.

Cricket also features in Alex's connections. On coming down from Cambridge he turned out for the famous Calthorpe Cricket Club in Crouch End, and occasionally for the less-organised London Erratics. They featured players like Bill Bush, whose career went from BBC to Blair to DCMS to the Premier League.  Alex will need a steady line and length if he's to hang on to his new post in the next Charter....

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