Friday, December 4, 2015


Alan Yentob is to continue as Chairman of BBC Films, we are told. Journalists have been briefed that he's "not handling finances nor is he being paid for the role".

There's no separate mention of BBC Films and its financial performance in the 2014/5 Annual Report. There's no mention of finance on the BBC Films website.  The BBC Trust last scrutinised their work in 2010, revealing that the unit had a fixed annual budget of £12m to 2012/13, and was allowed to re-invest any profits. There's no mention of returns achieved or targeted.  

A word search for Yentob on the BBC Films website produces nowt. There's no mention of Yentob in the latest brochure of BBC Films, celebrating 25 years of existence. Christine Langan is the Head of BBC Films (on £204k pa) and a member of the Television Board (so presumably reports to acting Director Mark Linsey.)

And yet, if you try a Google image search "Alan Yentob Cannes", a fair few pictures pop up.

British film-making is a fairly small world. Among Alan's neighbours in Notting Hill is producer Jeremy Thomas, whose various companies have collaborated with the BBC on Glastonbury 2006 (directed by Alan's Somerset neighbour Julien Temple) Fast Food Nation 2007, the remake of Brideshead Revisited 2008, Creation 2009, Quartet 2013, Dom Hemingway 2013. Jeremy's Hanway Films were sales agent for BBC films including Match Point 2006, Scoop 2006, Becoming Jane 2007, An Education 2009, Is Anybody There 2009, Made in Dagenham 2010, (from a book by Yentob family friend Lynn Barber) The Boys Are Back 2010,  Great Expectations 2012, A Long Way Down 2014, Brooklyn 2015, The Sense of An Ending (tba), and Their Finest Hour and A Half (tba)

Another neighbour is Eric Fellner of Working Title, co-producers of Billy Elliot 2000. (Working Title put money into a 1999 non-BBC film called Plunkett & Macleane, which featured then child actor Jacob Yentob).  Eric was listed as an Executive Producer of BBC Films' The Hawk 2003.

Alan occasionally takes a Notting Hill breakfast with Stephen Frears, director of Dirty Pretty Things 2002, Mrs Henderson Presents 2005, Tamara Drewe 2010, Philomena 2013, and Florence Foster Jenkins (tba) - all BBC Films.

Drilling down into the BBC Films website, you eventually find Alan credited as Executive Producer of Julien Temple's London: The Modern Babylon 2012, and alongside Harvey Weinstein for Woman in Gold 2015.

Harvey Weinstein's film company co-produced  My Week With Marilyn 2011 Suite Francaise 2015, and he's credited as executive producer on Mansfield Park 2000, About Adam 2001, Iris 2001, Dirty Pretty Things 2002 (as above), The Meerkats 2009, Tormented 2009, Valhalla Rising 2010. He's not a neighbour.  Financier Len Blavatnik, not far away in Kensington Palace Road, is listed as an Executive Producer of Mr Holmes 2015.

Do you think Al will make Cannes in May 2016 ?

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