Making the Grade 

2 April 2004

Michael Grade is new BBC chairman

My first instinct was that I wasn’t quite sure that he would be entirely suitable for the post (remembering how Channel 4 went downhill during his stint as chief executive), but there again if Greg Dyke had the same role at Channel 4 the likely outcome would have been broadly similar. And Michael Grade has had a wealth of experience in the broadcasting industry as well as having the respect of the vast majority of BBC staff; in short he is essentially another Greg Dyke clone and not a bureaucratic pen-pusher (he never really got on well with John Birt).

Michael Grade’s new role as chairman is essentially divorced from the day-to-day running of the BBC, so Mediawatch-UK (upset over his “pornographer-in-chief” reputation) and Doctor Who fans everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief as a result, and having someone with that level of experience as chairman will provide ample reassurance to the BBC staff who were upset at Dyke’s departure. An interesting (and with hindsight, obvious) choice of chairman, though of course only time will tell if he will have the desired effect.

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