‘DAVIE FACES EXISTENTIAL BBC THREAT’: Edward Browne (Express 1/9) reported that in a speech to staff on Thursday, new BBC director general Tim Davie was expected to announce a shake-up in BBC comedy output so that it was no longer dominated by ‘left-wing bias’. He reported that according to ‘inside sources’, the BBC was perceived as targeting the Conservative party more often than it did the left and now needed to commit to producing material that was more inclusive of beliefs across the political spectrum. Mr Browne added hoped that such a move would help restore trust and confidence in the corporation as it faced questions about the future of its publicly-funded model. The Express also reported (1/9) that pressure groups the Silver Voices and the National Pensioners Convention were writing to Tim Davie to plead that he reverse the decision by the BBC to scrap free licences for the over-75s.
Former leader of the Conservative party in Scotland Ruth Davidson (Telegraph 1/9), surveying the tasks in front of new BBC director general Tim Davie, argued that, because the current licence fee funding model for the BBC was on its last legs, he must come up with an alternative. She argued that he must exercise a tighter grip on ‘talent management’, particularly in preventing BBC presenters from both moonlighting and becoming involved in political activities and social media commentary. In addition, he needed to make the corporation genuinely diverse in its staffing and what was reflected in the output.
Ex-BBC television news executive Roger Mosey (Daily Mail 1/9) argued that Tim Davie had to deal with a ‘existential threat’ to the corporation over its funding model and needed to be ‘honest about what he wants the BBC to do, how much it will cost and how it can find the money without penalising the poorest’, as well as tackling the growing feeling among sections of the public that the BBC was not on their side. Mr Mosey claimed that the row over the last night of the proms – with the BBC axing the singing of Rule, Britannia – had prompted despair among current and former executives, with one saying it was ‘unbelievable’ that a decision had been taken to axe the singing of patriotic songs. He argued that the BBC had done well 25 years previously in identifying the appeal of Tony Blair and Labour, but had struggled to understand the rise of Boris Johnson and the Tory party’s surge in the general election of 2019. Mr Mosey opined:
‘Davie, thank goodness, seems to get this. Privately, according to friends, he admits that the BBC ‘has some blind spots’, acknowledging that it underestimated the strength of public hostility to the EU during the Brexit debate. The same friends told a Sunday newspaper last weekend that he is determined the BBC should shed its London metropolitan bias and ‘politically correct’ culture. Can he achieve this? I t will certainly be a challenge. That ‘woke’ mindset seems only to have hardened in recent months, with some insiders expressing fears that it is becoming increasingly impossible to challenge fashionable orthodoxies inside the BBC.’