MOORE ‘NOT APPLYING’ TO BECOME BBC CHAIRMAN: Ryan Fahey (Mail online 3/10) claimed that former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore, who had been thought to be the leading contender to become the next chairman of the BBC was said to have decided not to apply for the role ‘for personal reasons’.
BBC ‘SECURED PRINCESS DIANA SCOOP UNDER FALSE PRETENCES’: Craig Byers (Is the BBC Biased? 4/10) reported that the Sunday Times had claimed that the BBC’s Martin Bashir – who had secured in 1995 a ‘bombshell’ interview with Princess Diana in which she had said there were ‘three of us’ in her marriage to Prince Charles – had secured the scoop by allegedly misleading her brother, the Earl Spencer. Mr Byers said the article had also claimed the allegations would raise difficult questions for the BBC as it had conducted an internal investigation at the time and cleared itself of any wrongdoing.
DAME JENNI MURRAY ATTACKS ‘SUFFOCATING’ AUNTIE: Jessica Carpani (Telegraph 3/10) reported that Dame Jenni Murray, who had stood down as presenter of BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour programme after 30 years, had launched a ‘scathing attack’ on her former employers for banning her from presenting items on the 2019 general election or about transgender issues because of her allegedly biased opinions.
Writing in the Daily Mail (2/10), Dame Jenni – emphasising that she had fought the many inequalities she perceived existed against women throughout her time in the role – explained that on transgender issues, she had ‘merely asked the trans activities to acknowledge the difference between sex and gender’ and had been ‘shocked’ by the BBC’s response which had been to ban her from chairing any discussions on the trans question or the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act. Dame Jenni, who suggested she had been stopped from political reporting for stating that she supported the UK staying in the EU, and found the embrace of the BBC as ‘sometimes suffocating’, said:
‘It’s an interesting word, impartiality. For years, until recently, I and other broadcast journalists have written articles and books. In my case they were often controversial ones on marriage, abortion, pornography or bringing up boys, and I suffered no comeback from the BBC. At one point I was actually encouraged by a channel controller to write a regular column as a way of widening awareness of Woman’s Hour and Radio 4.
‘Impartiality was perceived as what a presenter demonstrated in the studio. It was not assumed that the radio or television audience expected the men and women who entered their homes on a daily basis to be dull ciphers with no opinions or personalities. I defy anyone to know which political party I have voted for, or what I think about the current moves towards Brexit, or the way the coronavirus crisis has been handled — because, on air, I have been impartial, exactly as I should have been. I do hope the new Director- General, Tim Davie, will bear this in mind and have no fear of a seemingly unfriendly government or the Twitter mob bringing down his greatest broadcasters.’
Dame Jenni also attacked the pay of female presenters at the BBC who earned more than she had. In the Telegraph article, Ms Carpani said the BBC had responded to Dame Jenni’s observations by saying the corporation wished her well in her new role as a columnist, ‘but the public will understand the importance of impartiality while working at the BBC’.