An unfortunate move

without comments

You, dear reader, are clearly very sharp and cutting edge. Isn’t flattery great? We all appreciate being flattered and of course Michael Grade is no exception. It must have been very flattering to be approached by ITV, to be offered over a million pounds a year to be Executive Chairman, and on top of that to receive a standing ovation on your first day in the job. But as with government budgets that are lauded when first announced, I can’t help feeling Grade’s move will be seen, in retrospect, as tremendously ill-judged. First there are the question marks around his ability to turn ITV around – well summarised in Adrian Monck’s blog. Then, there is the legacy of his time at the BBC. Most reports have focused on the implications for the Licence Fee, but negotiations for this are at such a stage it seems unlikely to change the attitude of those within government (many of whom are already against a large settlement). More important are the implications for BBC governance. As Stewart Purvis comments in today’s Times, Grade was brought in to overhaul the structure of governance to ‘prevent another debacle’ like that over Iraq and WMD. By leaving just before the new structure starts working he has chopped off its head and left it running around like the proverbial chicken. Given how much criticism there has already been around the new structure this might make it virtually dead on arrival. Conversely, this has made the whole question of the accountability of the BBC very live again. And this at a time when trust in all media organisations is falling, and we have to look to the BBC as the role model of public service. In this context Grade’s move, while lucrative, is reckless and disruptive and, in the longer term, liable to do significant damage to public trust.

Written by Martin Moore

November 29th, 2006 at 8:34 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with

Leave a Reply