Saturday, February 13, 2016


"Leon Wilde is the Editor for Format Entertainment; he runs a team of creatives, driving relentlessly at the Entertainment slots across all BBC schedules."

And this year he's bringing us "Too Much TV", stripped Monday to Friday at 6.30pm across BBC2, now-Kim-Shillinglaw-is-gone. This cheap and probably relentlessly cheerful offering is another example of television eating itself - "A show for TV lovers, made by TV lovers, Too Much TV is for those wanting to hear all about the unmissable TV from that week."

Whilst at Shine TV,  Leon was part of the team that brought BBC1 a season of "As Seen On TV" in 2009, the inheritor of the weighty mantle of Telly Addicts, 1989-1995.

Leon's last format was the unlamented Tumble, which ran for six episodes in 2014. This foray is set for 30.

Justin Time

Justin Bairamian came to the BBC in 2004 from Leagas Delaney, where he had been Managing Director.

His marketing and advertising know-how has been deployed under a range of titles, most recently as Director of Creative Marketing; Creative Director, Marketing & Audiences Creative, and, from this January, Director, BBC Creative. For this latest, new and entirely different role, his salary now meets disclosure criteria, at £158,578k. That's the sort of radical restructuring we need.

Friday, February 12, 2016


It's just possible that Alan Yentob's PR adviser is Alan Yentob. He's just had a loquacious lunch with the FT's Henry Mance, and probably thinks the write-up is a win.

As a sidebar, I pointed to a Yentob/Wogan story corrected by the Mail earlier this week.  During the lunch, Yentob shares a text with Mance (presumably the phone misses on off setting) from a BBC press officer to discuss an unspecified story in the same paper. Yentob says “I’ve never challenged anything that’s been written about me, because in the end the wounds stop hurting. It’s just noise. And when you look at the Twittersphere, that’s just so full of shit . . . ”


The MD of BBC Studios and Post Production,  David Conway, has belatedly blogged about progress on the refurbishment of Studios 1, 2 and 3 at Television Centre.  (He was probably delayed in the committee meetings trying to agree a new name for his operation).

There are some sharper photos in his post - but, as you might notice in  one, a fluorescent tube has already gone...

Thursday, February 11, 2016


The current BBC management - at both Trust and Executive level - has singularly failed to make friends with Jesse Norman, chair of the Culture Select Committee.

This new bunch of MPs waste little time with the nice stuff about great programmes in their first report on Charter Renewal, before laying into the way things are run at Auntie now, over 54 pages of forthright prose, ending with 48 recommendations.

The report all but calls Trustees and the Executive spineless in accepting George Osborne's hospital pass of funding over-75s licence fees from the license. The report all but says the BBC's commercial activities are misguided and carried on in corners. It accuses BBC World News of 'mission creep' and wants more, not less transparency on salaries, strategies and deals struck by BBC Worldwide and the emerging BBC Studios Ltd.

The MPs like the idea of a unitary board, but also want an 'accountability body' somewhere behind Ofcom's front door. They want the review process extended, and promise to take evidence in Scotland, which should be a hoot.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Data Entry

The operative who types up the BBC's list of disclosed salaries has had a busy shift and seems to have knocked off halfway through some updates.

Mark Linsey ('Taxi for Sevenoaks ?') hits £292k as Acting Director of Television, from his previous £230k - not quite matching the departed Danny Cohen's £327k.

Some new names have been added, so far without numbers, including Charlotte Lock, Director of Media Engagement and Marketing and Audiences, BBC North, Patrick Holland, Head of Commissioning (surely not the whole lot ?), and Dale Haddon, HR Director, News.

Salaries for James Harding's Glitter Twins, Gavin Allen and Jon Zilkha, land at just over £143k each

Jaytin Aythora, artist and Chief (technology) Architect, is getting £175k. Michael Donnelly, new HR Director, Service Centre, is on £160k.

There's still no sign of Jonty Claypole's wedge, if you'll pardon my language. He was appointed Director of Arts back in March 2014.


Richard Klein has been trying to find winning factual formats for ITV for 32 months. Barging Round Britain with John Sergeant hit 2.9m for one episode. Celebrity Flockstars hit 2.4m. The Wonder of Britain was pulled from a 9pm slot after just two episodes. Rebuild Our Home, starring Nicky Campbell in the role made famous by Nick Knowles, appealed to under 1.7m. The Secret Life of Your House nudged over 1m. Ice Rink On The Estate finishedwith at under 1.3m.

Richard has now left the building, but there'll be a pipeline of similar corkers for a new incumbent to squeeze out....

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


As we reported at the start of January,   once we knew Dan Walker had entered the stakes to replace Bill Turnbull on the BBC Breakfast sofa by submitting to a live audition, he was a cert subject to terms and medical.

Bookmakers decided to stop taking bets on him before Christmas.

At Five Live, Controller Jonathan Wall maybe doesn't follow odds - he's filling Dan's afternoon seat with a mixture of Jonathan Overend and Colin Paterson til at least Easter.


Roy Greenslade in the Guardian reports a survey by analytics firm SimilarWeb which says that, in the UK, and clocked up 18.9bn page views last year, 30% of the market, and way ahead of nearest competitor,, with 5.6bn.

In third place was DMG Media, whose sites include Mail Online, generating a 6.6% market share (4.1bn page views). Fourth was Trinity Mirror, which has 31 news sites, and in fifth place was

The rest of the top 10 were the Telegraph, Sky, and (rather oddly, I must say) Polish publisher Wirtualna Polska’s, another Polish site,, which is published by Germany’s Axel Springer, and the aggregator NewsNow.

According to my Google Analytics, I clocked 106,513 page views over the year, and am ranked by Similar Web as the 481,947th most popular site in the UK. That must be wrong, too, eh ?

The Magnificent Seven

Finally, they've been counted, in response to a Freedom of Information Inquiry - but BBC News is still not prepared to say how many of its Senior Managers are working on special projects, after an internal review. Too hard to find out what seven of them were up to, because it's NOT WRITTEN DOWN. Here are the relevant extracts.

How many Senior Managers did the News Division employ on 1 October 2015? 

As at 30 September 2015 the BBC employed 90 staff in senior manager roles within the News division. This represents a steady reduction since 2011.

How many of these individuals were in their substantive and continuing named posts on that date? 

Of the total number of senior managers, 83 were in their substantive roles. The proportion of Senior Manager's [sic - Ed] to graded staff in News Group has come down measurably. For the purposes of this request, the disclosed information relates to staff employed on permanent or fixed-term contracts currently in Senior Manager (SM) graded roles as at 30 September 2015. Please note that this figure will not align with the reported senior manager data as per our senior pay strategy.

By way of background, the term ‘special projects’ is interpreted differently across BBC’s divisions, and employees may be involved in ‘special projects’ alongside their day-to-day substantive role. As mentioned in the original response, the BBC does not record data of whether a BBC News employee is working on “special projects other than their continuing substantive job”. To respond to the third question, BBC News would need to create information by defining what constitutes a ‘special project’ for the purposes of this request, and contact each Human Resource Business Partners within the News Division to identify whether a Senior Manager was working on ‘special projects other than their continuing substantive job’. The Freedom of Information Act 2000 only covers recorded information that a public authority holds at the date of the request. A public authority does not have to create an answer or find out the information if the requested information is not already held in recorded form. Therefore, as the BBC would need to create information to respond to the request, I confirm that the BBC does not hold the requested information.

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