Thursday, December 10, 2015


In November 2011, BAFTA invited three luminaries to discuss the BBC in ten years' time - Mark Damazer, once of News, now Master of an Oxford college and BBC Trustee; Alex Connock, once of indies Planet 24 and Ten Alps, now running Shine North; and Peter Bazalgette, then about to be knighted, now chairman of the Arts Council England.

Peter's opening contribution: "I was in a taxi this morning, and I got a phone call. I put the phone to my ear and a voice said to me very conspiratorially ‘The BBC in Ten Years Time, in the debate this evening you must say in ten years time Alan Yentob will still be on the BBC,’ And I looked on my phone and the call was from Alan Yentob."

In a diary for this week's New Statesman, former BBC exec Roger Mosey recalls Yentob as ‘a genial and loquacious presence at meetings, seldom failing to tell us which of his world-class contacts had been in touch’.

He may still be on our screens in 2021; BBC4 will need all the repeats it can get, even if Lord Hall can keep the transmitter going on budget cuts of 20%. It's hard to see how Al might remain 'chairman' of anything, if Bernard Jenkin's Select Committee report on Kids Company is as tough as promised. Rona Fairhead, who played hardball over Al phoning World At One presenters, may again raise her shaped eyebrows over his continued "chairmanship" of BBC Films, with an annual budget of £12m, or his control of the seven-figure budget of Imagine, as Editor.

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