Could an entertainment tv producer once rejected by the BBC as "a bit too Dale Winton" end up as Director General ?
Mark Linsey, currently Director BBC Studios, has risen very quickly to BBC Board level - largely through others dropping out. When something went wrong with the career path of Danny Cohen, Lord Hall turned to Mark Linsey as Acting Director of Television. When Peter Salmon opted for the smoother waters of Endemol rather than building BBC Studios, Mark Linsey was again Lord Hall's solution.
He spent much of 2016 biffing Salmon's preferred management team, turning instead to "business managers" to run key departments. It looked like balancing the books was Mark's first driver, rather than creative leadership - maybe that comes later.
Top Gear brackets Mark's career - he worked on the show as a researcher in 1986, when the lead presenter was William Woollard - and now he's in charge of "re-skinning" it. In between he's had hits with Michael McIntyre, John Bishop and Russell Howard, and turkeys like "Don't Scare The Hare", "The Getaway Car" and "Can't Touch This".
A smooth start to BBC Studios as a commercial operation could place Mark handily for the Lord Hall succession, especially if the new chair of the unitary board wants someone to lead on balancing the books from the top. (That, too, would be a first...)
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