Saturday, January 20, 2018

Wrong by 123

A number of eyebrows were raised when the BBC responded to a Freedom of Information enquiry about recruitment to BBC News, back in November: "There was one external candidate recruited to BBC Network News between 17 October 2016 and 17 October 2017."

The enquirer, the exotically named Signor Benati (mentioned, en passant, in Smiley's People) had another go, and asked for an internal review.

Now, an unnamed internal reviewer has reported rather different findings.

"After this review, I can confirm that there were 124 external candidates recruited to BBC Network News between 17 October 2016 and 17 October 2017. The information provided to the applicant on 17 November 2017 was an accurate representation of the way that the information was recorded at the time of the request."


The Sun (prop News UK, CEO Rebekah Brooks) is the only national to make space this morning for a picture of lingerie model Mel Sykes (Mel Of A Body For 47). This breaks the news that Mel is to join the line-up of TalkRADIO (part of The Wireless Group, acquired by News UK in June 2016), to sit alongside Jamie East, The Sun's film critic, from 1pm to 4pm each weekday.

The paper reveals the pair will occupy the slot until "until a new brand new presenter is unveiled in April".

Friday, January 19, 2018

Crafted language

Kirsty Wark is 100 this year. At least according to the now-widely available BBC Arts 2018 media pack... 

The Many Primes of Muriel Spark - BBC Two Scotland & BBC Four this Spring (1 x 60)
In the centenary of her birth, Kirsty Wark presents a programme about the Scottish writer Muriel Spark. A unique voice in 20th century literature, Speak [sic - ed] was a prolific writer (The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie, The Girls Of Slender Means, Memento Mori) who crafted language with precision and a sometimes merciless humour.

Ski pass sorted ?

Is this James Harding's route to Davos ? The former BBC News supremo appeared this morning at the London launch of GlobalGoalsCast, a new-ish podcast operation "that inspires and empowers listeners to make the world a better place by sharing the stories individuals, companies, and organizations that are advancing and achieving a more sustainable world. " Their broadcast partner is CBS, BBC News' new best friend in Ameria.

James was on stage with the podcast hostesses, Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman, wife of Richard, global PR man.

Claudia is looking forward to a Podcasting Session at Davos; she says they originally invited Mark Thompson of the NYT "but he seems to have broken his ankle or something".

Tim Davie's 16

A new executive board of 16 will lead the merged BBC Studios and BBC Worldwide forward from April. Gender balance: 9 to 7 male to female; 12.5% ethnic minority.

Tim Davie, CEO
Mark Linsey, Chief Creative Officer
Tom Fussell, Chief Finance Officer
Anna Mallett, Chief Operating Officer and MD, Production
Martyn Freeman, General Counsel
Jabbar Sardar, HR Director
Hannah Wyatt, MD for Factual Entertainment & Events
Lisa Opie, MD for Factual
Nick Betts, MD for Scripted
Suzy Lamb, MD for Entertainment & Music
Ann Sarnoff, President - Americas
Marcus Arthur, President - UK & Ireland and Australia/New Zealand
Paul Dempsey, President - Global Markets
Charlotte Elston, Director of Communications
David Moody, Director of Strategy & Business Development
Jaclyn Lee-Joe, Chief Marketing Officer

American twist

The press release about BBC Arts 2018, until recently under the jaunty hat of rakish Director Jonty Claypole, doesn't seem to have been issued via the command and control of the extensive BBC Media Centre.

So I'm catching up via other media sources. And thus shocked to learn that Civilisations, the re-invention of Kenneth Clarke's pioneering series from the late sixties, is to be narrated by a YANK.

Co-producers Nutopia and PBS have lighted upon San Francisco-born Liev Schreiber to add his chops to the script. And whilst the principal hosts are British - Simon Schama, Mary Beard and David Olusoga - plenty of the other contributing sages are from the USA:  Jamal J. Elias, Religious Studies Professor at the University of Pennsylvania; Rebecca Gonzalez-Lauck, National Institute for Anthropology, Mexico; Salima Ikram, Professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo; Jay Xu, Director of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco; and Maya Jasanoff, Professor of History at Harvard University.

Thursday, January 18, 2018


In BBC Arts coverage for 2018, flagship show Imagine will be shining lights into the careers of Tracey Emin, Mel Brooks and Philip Pullman. How on earth does Alan Yentob pin them down ?

Has it come to this ?

Looks like a different sort of conference circuit ahead for former Director of BBC News, James Harding.

"James Harding is speaking at Investec Wealth & Investment Vision conferences at Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle and Sheffield."

Who can have put him on to this ?

"Kamal Ahmed is speaking at Investec Wealth & Investment Vision conferences at Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester."

Yes, he's still the BBC Economics Editor.


ITV's News at Ten beat the BBC's Ten O'Clock News in the ratings last night - mainly because BBC1's live coverage of Chelsea v Norwich in the FA Cup started late, thanks to the District Line and then went to extra time and penalties.

ITV's bulletin was watched by an average of 2.95m according to the overnights, a 17.5% share of the available audience. The BBC bulletin, which arrived at 22.50, got an average of 2.88m, a 26.9% share.  It might be amusing if anyone can track down a Newsnight figure.

Rugby fan and newscaster Huw Edwards (last year's BBC earnings between £550k and £599,999) demonstrated his expensive taste in footwear, at four minutes past ten.


Johnston Press' share price hit a new 52 week low of 9p yesterday, valuing the company at less than £10m. It has eighteen months to come up with a plan to deal with a £220m bond, which is costing the company £19m interest a year. CEO Ashley Highfield earned £556k last year, in salary and pension contributions. JP's auditors are Deloitte, investment bankers are Rothschild, and brokers are Liberum and Panmure Gordon.

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