Wednesday, April 21, 2021


I presume those around the Prime Minister are confident that the leaking of text messages is coming from 'the far end' - i.e. bad actors who have found the typed conversations of David Cameron and James Dyson. 

It's interesting that Tony Blair says he never had a mobile phone as Prime Minister, up to 2007.  With Dominic Cummings' interest in technology, you might have expected that Mr Johnson had been moved to burner phones, at least to organise his poetry reading sessions with Ms Arcuri.  Or perhaps that was conducted on the Signal app. Or..... 

It's all in the writing

Getting more local at BBC News Online seems to translate as following more actors around.  BBC Yorkshire has a small feature on Tom Cruise filming scenes for a new Mission Impossible, on a vintage railway near Pickering.  To help us with context, in the distinctive public service style that defines BBC News values, Mr Cruise is described as "the diminutive star". 

Where ?

A partial view of the distribution of BBC staff around the UK, in March 2021, in response to a Freedom of Information inquiry. The enquirer left off Cardiff, a number of regional centres like Norwich, Tunbridge Wells, Southampton and Plymouth, and most local radio stations, so the total is only 13,479.8. 

Bigger picture

Tricky day for the BBC's Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg. There's a clutch of Boris' stories that need covering, and, I think, need a portfolio approach, rather than just choosing one.

Laura has text messages between Boris and James Dyson; the Mail has emails demonstrating that the Tory party has been trying to cover up the use of political funds to pay for decorating the No 10 flat; the hugely expensive volte face on regular on-camera briefings from a No 10 spokeswoman came on the day Mr Johnson was floored by Paul Waugh over Jennifer Arcuri and the Nolan Principles. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Busting some moves

Aled Haydn Jones, Head of BBC Radio 1, is shuffling his daytime pack - in moves not without risk. 

Annie Mac, 42, (Anne MacManus, Wesley College, Dublin and Queen's, Belfast) leaves the network after 17 years at the microphone. Her current slot, 6-8pm Mondays to Thursdays, goes to Clara Amfo, currently in the more prestigious 1030 to 1pm Mondays to Thursdays, which includes Radio 1's Live Lounge. 

Clara, 36 (Holy Cross, New Malden and St Mary's University College) has been with the Live Lounge since May 2015; and the BBC has invested in her on a number of tv music shows and Strictly.  In her place come the zoo team of Rickie, Melvin and Charlie. 

Rickie Haywood-Williams, 40 (Brit School, Croydon and University of Bedfordshire), Melvin Odoom, 40 (Aylward Secondary, Edmonton and University of Bedfordshire) and Charlie Hedges 36, (BA Journalism Harlow College) made their names at Kiss FM, and moved to Radio 1 in 2019. 

Did somebody say....

The BBC has split the role previously occupied by Matthew Postgate (Chief Technology and Product Officer) into its component parts. One suspects the combined salaries of the new Chief Technology Officer and Chief Product Officer combined will outstrip Mr Postgate's £317k a year.  Both new posts report to new COO Leigh Tavaziva, whose salary has yet to be declared. 

Storm Fagan, 41, (Deputy Head Girl at Combe Bank School - now Radnor House - Sevenoaks, and BSc International Business and French, Aston) gets the CPO gig. She is based in the hot county of Somerset, just outside Frome, where she once led the W1; she grows dahlias, roses, tomatoes, and forages. Hubby Dan is in research at Bristol University, and likes algae; they have three children.  She's currently Chief Product Officer at Just East (the Snoop Dogg one), where she has 145 staff.  There will be a few more to keep an eye on at the BBC.  

Interim Chief Technology Officer Peter O'Kane is made permanent, and will mind the shop alone until Storm arrives. 

Here's the Storm style... 

Monday, April 19, 2021

Basin News

The best guess for the London home of GB News is the wide open refurbished office spaces of The Point, 37 North Wharf Road, Paddington, London.  Completed in 2003, to designs by Sir Terry Farrell, its first occupants were 2,100 Orange Telecommunications staff. 

The Press Association, now rebranded PA Media, took space on the third and ninth floors back in May 2019, with new interiors (left) by Gensler. 

Other top companies in The Point: Dun and Bradstreet, photo agency Alamy, Addison Lee, AH UK Animal Health Pvt Ltd (serving UK vets) and a number of bus operators. 

Matt finish

My growing network of Covert Human Intelligence Sources tells me Matthew Moore, covering media for The Times since 2017, is moving on. 

Matthew, 38 (Dr Challoner's Grammar School, Amersham, BA History University of Nottingham and post-grad print journalism, Cardiff University) started professionally with the Daily Telegraph, moving to news editor at The Independent, and thence to Times. 

Balance ?

Gloria De Piero, 48, is the latest signing for GB News; we are promised a weekday afternoon show. I cannot improve on my 2010 note of her career before politics, including a GMTV interview with Gordon Brown with the question "Some women say you remind them of Heathcliff..." 

Husband is James Robinson, now running crisis management PR company Woburn, after three years as "Director of Communications" for Tom Watson. 

Gloria explains her move into the bosom of the enemies of wokedom thus: "I’m incredibly excited. So many of our communities are underreported + unheard but that’s going to change. Our news agenda will be shaped by stories uncovered by reporters in their own areas and that’s why GB News will be such an important new voice for our nations and regions".


A pleasing Sunday set of ratings for BBC1. Call The Midwife returned with an average audience of 7.3m. boosting Line of Duty to 9.9m (a 48.9% share), and trickling forward to over 6m for the 10pm news bulletin.   Mind you, ITV didn't put up much of a fight, with another showing of the 2006 version of Casino Royale. 

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