Friday, October 14, 2016

Cultured ?

It is, of course, against employment law to cut jobs simply to prepare for a "TuPE", the transfer of a business from one employer to another. So yesterday's announcement of cuts at BBC Studios made it clear they're cuts that would have happened anyway. Nonetheless, with Kelsey Grammar-lookee-likee Mark Linsey, Director/CEO of Studios now on £340k pa, surrounding himself with business-focused departmental leaders rather than creatives, going commercial must have influenced where the savings have been made.

One tv producer long associated with Imagine tweeted "London arts department erased". This, presumably, has the blessing of the Director Of Radio And Education With Responsibility For The Arts, James Purnell. There's three possible explanations for this move; BBC Studios is acknowledging that indies make cheaper, better arts programmes; London isn't, as many people think, an Arts Hub; it's easier to make these programmes in Scotland.

The regions have been protected - 27 jobs go in factual and drama in Wales, and 25 roles disappear in Scotland.

Meanwhile, former BBC Sports Editor David Bond, now energetically ploughing the media furrow at the FT, has been seeking views on the longer-term impacts of 1,600 BBC programme makers going 'commercial'. Caroline Thomson, thwarted DG candidate and former BBC COO tells him "If the production arm is at arm's length and something that could ultimately be privatised, then you have to ask what is the BBC at that point."

"The way the BBC has been structured, with a news and current affairs arm combined with an entertainment division, contributes to the magic of the place. How do you keep that culture? And what will the BBC become in 10 years’ time?"

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