Thursday, November 24, 2016

Does he want the Earth ?

BBC DG Lord Hall might need someone to tell him that giving departments to James Purnell doesn't make everything alright. Yesterday it was revealed that Jim now has custody of  religious affairs programming, and that this was evidence that the BBC was taking "one of the big issues of our times" seriously, and things would be "joined up"' across television, radio and news.

This shift ought to be read in conjunction with a story in the current Private Eye, which suggests that Jim, Director of Radio and Education "with responsibility for BBC’s arts, children’s, education, music and network radio output", and now "Gods", has been in a toe-to-toe territory fight with Director of Content, Charlotte Moore.

The patch in dispute was called "Factual Commissioning", re-organised earlier this year in a way that closed the door on Religion and Ethics commissioning as a discreet unit, headed by Aqil Ahmed. It was, at least until yesterday, the responsibility of Tom McDonald, Head of Natural History & Specialist Factual Commissioning, Television, covering Natural History, Science, History, Religion & Business. Tom reports up to Alison Kirkham, Controller of BBC Factual Commissioning, who in turn owes allegiance to Charlotte Moore.

All this good stuff - history, science etc - seemed like a fit to James Purnell in his extended role, and in line with the McKinsey three-humped camel structure of Information, Education and Entertainment; Charlotte "Shiny Floor" Moore should stick to Michael McIntyre and Mrs Brown, while Jim does the classy stuff.

We know now that Jim has got God - will he get Planet Earth II, too ?

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