NEW BBC CHAIRMAN ‘SHOULD NOT BE TROJAN HORSE’: Television presenter and former Conservative MP Gyles Brandreth (£ Telegraph 12/10) asserted that he agreed with former BBC presenter David Dimbleby that the new chairman of the BBC should be someone ‘who believes in the BBC’ and not someone who ‘would bring the broadcaster to heel’. He said:
‘Appointing a chairman with a view to that chairman undermining the very organisation they are supposed to lead isn’t on. The BBC employs 22,000 people, and twice as many freelancers (like me), and in my experience these are good people – talented, committed, and for the most part not that generously paid – and they deserve to be led by someone who respects, understands and values what they are doing, and can help them to do it even better.
‘You can’t have a general who doesn’t believe in the army or a conductor who despises music, can you? The BBC needs a chairman who will be its champion, not a Trojan Horse sent to reinvent it on the sly.’
By contrast, former Circuit Judge Peter Birts QC, in a letter to the Telegraph (£ 12/10), wrote:
‘If David Dimbleby thinks it’s the BBC’s job to be “a thorn in the side of government” (report, October 10), he has already disqualified himself from the chairmanship by reason of a total misreading of the BBC Charter, the Framework Agreement and the Ofcom Broadcasting Code, all of which require the corporation to commit itself to “achieving due impartiality in all its output”. (See also section 4 of the BBC’s editorial guidelines.) If this misunderstanding has been widespread among other senior figures, it explains a great deal.’