BBC Bias Digest 26 September 2020

ANDREW NEIL ‘LEAVES BBC’: Steven Brown (Express 26/9) reported that former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil, who had worked subsequently for almost 25 years as a presenter of BBC political programmes, had confirmed in a tweet that ‘with heavy heart’, he was leaving the corporation.   Mr Brown added that Mr Neil had also revealed he had been appointed editorial board chairman and flagship programme presenter of GB News, a new advertiser-funded television news channel – the main investor in which was by Discovery Inc, the US company behind Discovery Channel  and Eurosport – which would be distinguished by ‘intelligence and a more independent mindset’.  Mr Brown quoted Mr Neil:

‘Despite sterling efforts by new DG (Tim Davie)  to come up with other programming opportunities, it could not quite repair damage done when Andrew Neil Show cancelled early summer + Politics Live taken off air. But I leave with no animosity or desire to settle scores. I look back on my 25 years doing live political programmes for the BBC with affection.’


ANDREA JENKYNS: “BBC FOMENTS DIVISION”:  The Morley and Outwood Conservative MP Andrea Jenkyns (£ Telegraph 24/9), in a comment item,  argued that, because the BBC was breaching its Charter by ‘fomenting division through questionable and blatant political positions’ in its programmes,  defunding the Corporation  ‘cannot come soon enough’. She wrote:

‘Not only is the BBC teetering on the precipice of a full embracement of “cancel culture” – which it fortunately stepped away from on the Rule Britannia chaos, even if it was after heavy pressure – but it often appears that there is an inherent leftwing agenda in its political coverage, be that interviews with a clear bias or reports that stem from a particular left of centre political position. . .

‘This political slant has become even more clear during this pandemic. . . The BBC’s charter obligates them to support the country’s social cohesion – to be a beacon of hope for our United Kingdom, but this can often see like a pipe dream as at every level the BBC is fomenting division – through questionable and blatant political positions in its educational content or Countryfile reports essentially labelling the countryside as white privilege.

Ms Jenkyns concluded:

‘These are just some of the reasons why I am adding my support for the Defund the BBC campaign to decriminalise the non-payment of the license fee. The legal privilege for the BBC regarding its licence fee is deeply regressive. It hits those who are most vulnerable hardest, with those who are less well-off or older being most likely to be challenged and end up before the magistrate. These cases are frankly unnecessary and, even if it is a minor impact to the huge overall workload of our legal system, any reduction in the legal workload is beneficial and allows for more time to be spent on meaningful cases.

‘Taxpayer money should not be wasted on chasing non-payment, and it certainly should not involve a multi-million pound contract to chase those who haven’t paid. I fully support Boris Johnson’s move for a roadmap to licence fee reform – we have a strong government majority and so now is the time to tackle these issues. Frankly, if the BBC is unable to shape up on its own, the government should force the issue and withhold the licence fee. The BBC and the country can only benefit from an end to taxpayer funding as it is then forced to compete in the open market – improving content and stripping out waste. Defunding the BBC cannot come soon enough.’


LINEKER ‘RACE-BAITS’ OVER SPORT QUIZ:  Rebecca Davison (Mail online 17/9)said BBC football presenter Gary Lineker had caused a furore when he had tweeted that Alex Scott, a former England women’s  team footballer, had been confirmed as Sue Barker4’s replacement as host of the BBC1 quiz A Question of Sport.   He had said:

‘Congratulations and good luck to @AlexScott on being the new host for Question Of Sport. Smart, knowledgeable and perfectly qualified for the role. Oh… and if you have a problem with Alex getting the job, you might just be part of the problem.’

Ms Davison suggested that Mr Lineker appeared to be shrugging off a warning from new director general Tim Davie about such activity on social media, perhaps because as a part-time football presenter, he was not bound by the new rules. She added that some on twitter had reacted by suggesting that Mr Lineker was attempting to ‘race-bait’ people for an argument. Ms Davison reported that a source in the BBC had told her that Ms Davison – whose roots were in Jamaica and Ireland –  was being lined up as Ms Barker’s replacement not because the corporation was trying to be ‘woke’ but because of her knowledge of sport and experience of broadcasting.

DEFUND THE BBC CAMPAIGN PUSHES FOR LICENCE FEE REDUCTION: Ellie Cambridge (Sun 17/9) said that a ‘Defund the BBC’ campaign had raised £60,000 in donations and 40,000 supporters, had three main aims: to show viewers how they could legally cancel their television licences; to call for the decriminalisation of non-payment; and to lobby for the licence fee to be reduced at the BBC’s mid-Charter review in 2022. She noted that the organisation was being led by Brexit campaigners Darren Grimes and Calvin Robinson, and believed that the corporation’s Brexit-related coverage portrayed supporters as ‘thick, racist and old’.

BBC ‘TREATS VIEWERS WITH CONTEMPT’:  Leo McKinstry (Sun 15/9) claimed that the chief talent of the BBC – which once made great programmes – was now alienating the British public with extravagance and attachment to wokeness, and that the people who paid for this ‘vast monolith’  and self-serving bureaucracy were often treated with contempt by the corporation.  He argued that this was clear in the figures for the pay for BBC presenters revealed in the BBC annual report which showed that 75 of them received salaries of more than £150,000. Mr McKinstry said that the pay figures made a mockery of the BBC’s decision to end free licences for the over-75s. He also noted that the annual report showed that the headcount had gone up in the public arm over the past year by 300 to 19,500 and the number of senior managers had increased to 253.

BBC DEFENDS ‘KILL WHITEY’ JOKE: Jack Wright (Mail 17/9) said that the BBC had come under fire for giving airtime to ‘Marxist’ comedians who had joked about ‘killing whiteness’ after new director general Tim Davie had vowed to ‘take a sledgehammer’ to left-wing comedy bias at the corporation.  He reported that black comedian Sophie Duker – on the BBC2 programme New World Order – had made ‘controversial statements’ about white power and racism in a segment of the programme discussing the Black Lives Matter movement.  He added that Ms Duker had called whiteness ‘a capitalist structure’ and then made jokes about ‘killing whitey’, had stated that ‘white power is Trump tower’, and that capitalism ‘hurt black people’. Mr Wright said that radio presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer had tweeted,’ This is horrible, it’s not just unfunny, it’s incoherent Marxist gobbledegook’. He added that the BBC had commented that the content was ‘within audience expectations, for a post-watershed satirical programme.

NEW HOST “LINED UP FOR QUESTION OF SPORT’: Bryony Jewell (Mail 17/9) reported that a BBC source had claimed that 35-year-old Alex Scott, who was a former player in the England women’s football team, was being lined up to replace 64-year-old former tennis star Sue Barker as host of the BBC1 quiz A Question of Sport. Ms Jewell quoted the source as saying that she was ‘genuinely the best woman for the job’.   She said that former BBC presenters had accused the corporation of both ageism and sexism.



Kathy Gyngell: How dare they? BBC robs the poor to feed millions to its fat-cat presenters

Kathy Gyngell: How dare they? BBC robs the poor to feed millions to its fat-cat presenters

Guest post from Kathy Gyngell – this first appeared on The Conservative Woman

LITERALLY, how dare they? BBC arrogance and entitlement knows no bounds.

Yesterday, because it has to, the corporation published its very own Rich List of its on-air and front-of-house staff paid more than £150,000 per annum in its annual report for 2019-2020. All compulsorily paid for by you and me, including millions of over-75s.

Be ready to be shocked at the sheer uncaring arrogance and brass neck of it in this time of growing unemployment and job uncertainty, when young people’s futures have never looked bleaker because of the coronavirus pandemic. You can see the full list in the BBC Group Annual Report and Accounts 2019/20 published yesterday.

It takes no more than a glance down it to see that the long list of reporters, news hosts and celebrities are being paid, on average, rather more than £150,000, too. A lot more in fact.

At the top is Gary Lineker on £1.75million – a figure reported shortly afterwards to have been reduced this year to a still eye-watering £1.35million per annum, a pay cut the Match of the Day star is understood to have graciously agreed for his new five-year contract.

How did the footballer-turned-crisp-salesman greet the news of the publication of his continuing annual windfall? With humility? With gratitude?

No, Lineker sent out a tweet that shows his contempt for the little people who pay his salary. He said: ‘Oh dear. Thoughts are with the haters at this difficult time.’

Think of that next time you see his smug, smirky face pontificating on Match of the Day.

Settling into the first-class seats on the BBC gravy train with Lineker is Zoe Ball on £1.36million after pocketing a £1million pay rise.

Then comes Graham Norton on £729,999, Steve Wright (who he? I hear you ask) at £479,999, Fiona Bruce on £454,999, Vanessa Feltz on a nice little earner at £409,999 and Claudia Winkleman bringing up the ‘celeb’ rear on a cool £365,000–£369,999 for rather less than a year’s work. Please do turn to pages 82 to 85 of the report for the full mind-boggling list.

Then find me one iota of justification for the inflated salaries for these so-called celebrities who even the kindest would have to admit are no Terry Wogans, Two Ronnies or Bruce Forsyths, the real entertainers of decades past.

The over-rewarded and mainly indifferent editors, reporters and presenters who make up the rest of the list are the reason I have had BBC TV and radio switched off in my home for a long time. Lockdown was bad enough without being driven mad on a daily basis by the BBC’s entitled ones – their propaganda, inanities, bad grammar and substandard reporting.

If I never hear the harassing Nick Robinson (£299,999 per annum) or the maddeningly smug and patronising tones of Mishal Husain (£269,999) ever again, I will be happy. As for the egregious and self opinionated Emily Maitlis on £374,999, well, words fail me.

I am bemused about why I have to pay for their overblown salaries (by any standards) in order to turn on my television.

Nor does this list provide the full story of the BBC’s excesses. I have little doubt there will be plenty of characters just saved from the glare of publicity by coming in at £149,999, just under the ceiling for non-disclosure.

And let’s not forget what the bosses (the BBC execs) are paid. Tim Davie, the BBC’s new director-general, was already on £400,000 last year, no doubt now due to catch up with his predecessor’s £450,000 a year, which is well over double what the Prime Minister gets.

And it doesn’t stop with him. Read the astonishingly long list of backroom executives in receipt of well over £150,000 on pages 85 to 88 of the report.

All the while, the BBC  is robbing cash-strapped Brits to pay staff who are not in demand elsewhere, or they surely would have already left for other channels.

That is the big lie that the BBC feeds us – that these oh-so-talented stars would quit if they didn’t have golden handcuffs. Ha ha! The truth is that most would be unemployable elsewhere, or would have to take huge pay cuts.

There simply aren’t enough prime slots to go round for the fact cats in today’s media outside the protective cocoon of the BBC. They’re not as irreplaceable as they think. It’s their domination of their spots – their monopoly of the airtime – that makes them famous, not their charm, wit or ability.

I vote that the Beeb cut their pay down to 10 per cent of their current amount and tell them if they can find better-paid work anywhere else, go. I bet none would. Who wants them?

That the corporation has seen fit to pay such inflated salaries in recent years for a biased propaganda service that many choose not to watch, and with so many people furloughed or facing redundancy or seeing their businesses closing, is nothing less than an outrage.

And to those over-75s who were war and pre-war babies, for whom watching television provides an essential source of information and acts as a crutch against loneliness and isolation, from whom the greedy BBC steal licence fee money, it is no less than a kick in the teeth.

Mr Davie, you are going to have to do better than this if you don’t want a mass protest over the licence fee.


BBC ANNUAL REPORT REVEALS FALL IN AUDIENCES AND REVENUE:  Daniel Martin (Mail 16/9), said that figures in the BBC’s annual report showed that the number of people paying the BBC licence fee had fallen by 237,000 to 25.9 million  over the previous year, with overall licence fee revenue – which was also hit by a fall in government contributions towards free licence fees for the over-75s – down £170 million to £3.5 billion. Mr Martin also reported that young people aged 16 – 34 now watched only seven and a half hours of BBC programming per week, only slightly more than You Tube. Across all ages, the audience reach of BBC1 had fallen from 68 per cent of adults per week to 65.4 per cent, with BBC2 also declining from 42.9 per cent to 41.9 per cent.  Radio audiences had also dropped – Radio 1 from 17 to 16.6 per cent each week and Radio 2 from 27.2 per cent to 26 per cent, though Radio 4, at 19.3 per cent had been stable.

Ellie Cambridge (Sun 15/9) reported that the BBC had disclosed that ex-England football captain Gary Lineker, who was now the main football presenter and had been the highest-earning on screen star with a contract worth £1.7m, had taken a pay cut of £400,000 a year, meaning that Radio 2 presenter Zoe Ball – paid £1.36 million – was now the corporation’s highest earner.

Kathy Gyngell (Conservative Woman 15/9), under the heading ‘How dare they? BBC robs the poor to feed millions to its fat-cat presenters’, said the BBC annual report contained its very own Rich List of its on-air and front-of-house staff paid more than £150,000 per annum, ‘all compulsorily paid for by you and me, including millions of over -75s’.  She noted that Gary Lineker – who had agreed a pay reduction but was still on £1.3m-a-year – had posted a tweet afterwards ‘that shows his contempt for the little people who pay his salary’ and said, Oh dear, thoughts are with the haters at this difficult time’. Mrs Gyngell commented:

‘. . . find me one iota of justification for the inflated salaries for these so-called celebrities who even the kindest would have to admit are no Terry Wogans, Two Ronnies or Bruce Forsyths, the real entertainers of decades past. The over-rewarded and mainly indifferent editors, reporters and presenters who make up the rest of the list are the reason I have had BBC TV and radio switched off in my home for a long time. Lockdown was bad enough without being driven mad on a daily basis by the BBC’s entitled ones – their propaganda, inanities, bad grammar and substandard reporting.  If I never hear the harassing Nick Robinson (£299,999 per annum) or the maddeningly smug and patronising tones of Mishal Husain (£269,999) ever again, I will be happy. As for the egregious and self- opinionated Emily Maitlis on £374,999, well, words fail me.’

The full report is posted on the News-watch website.

Stephen Glover (Mail 15/9) argued that the person made happiest by the revelation of the BBC pay figures was likely to be the prime minister’s  main advisor, Dominic Cummings,  who wanted ‘to hack back the Corporation and ideally eviscerate it’, with the ultimate aim of abolishing the mandatory licence fee, with non-payment decriminalised in the meantime.  Mr Glover argued that the British people – two-thirds of whom, according to an opinion poll, wanted the licence fee scrapped, with more than half thinking the corporation was politically correct – were inexorably losing their affection for it.   He stated:

‘Yesterday’s publication of gigantic BBC salaries will be greeted by many as further evidence that it is increasingly out of touch with its audience, and has jettisoned the values of public service that once distinguished it. . . . In the last financial year, the total salary bill for ‘talent’ edged up £1million to £144.6million, while pay for the BBC’s executive committee rose from £4.95million to £5.41million despite endless undertakings that top management would tighten its belt.’

He concluded:

‘The Corporation goes on behaving exactly as its enemies would wish. And I’m afraid it will find it has fewer friends than it used to.

‘Can it be saved? New director general Tim Davie has got off to a good start by reversing the decision to ban the words of Rule, Britannia! and Land Of Hope And Glory at the Last Night Of The Proms. His attempt to crack down on opinionated BBC staff pontificating on social media is also welcome. Reforming this arrogant behemoth will nonetheless be an almighty task.

‘I hope Mr Davie succeeds because the best of the BBC is worth fighting for. But it won’t survive in anything like its present form if it continues to carry on regardless.’


BBC SENIOR MANAGEMENT ‘FACES CULL’:  Anita Singh (£ Telegraph 15/9) said that in revealing the contents of the BBC annual report (on 15/9), new director general Tim Davie would – according to a ‘source’ – say that he was planning to remove unnecessary layers of bureaucracy, including a cull of its 100 most senior executives earning more than £150,000 a year. Ms Singh claimed the annual report would include the results of a management survey conducted by Deloitte into corporation finances which showed that 95 per cent of controllable spend went on the content and delivery of programmes, with the remainder on support services. She added that the planned reduction in jobs applied only to the public service arm of the BBC but not to its commercial business, BBC Studios, which was still hiring staff.  Ms Singh said that under Lord Hall, Mr Davie’s predecessor, promises were made to reduce headcounts, but in 2018-19, there were an additional 1,021 appointments to public service roles, taking the total to 19,231. She reported that Mr Davie was expected to praise the performance of iPlayer, which had enjoyed 4.8 billion streaming requests in 2019-20. She added that Mr Davie had made no mention of the BBC’s decision to end  free television licences for over-75s from August in his first speech to staff, but Silver Voices, a group representing pensioners, had now requested an urgent meeting with him, and Mr Davie had agreed to schedule a date.

Daniel Martin (Mail 15/9) claimed that the publication of the BBC annual report would led to a backlash from pensioners because it revealed that payment for its stars rose by more than £1m to £144.7m in the past year, and that 76 presenters earned more than the prime minister’s salary of £150,000 a year.  He added that the figures also revealed that the corporation had given pay rises to more than 700 female employees since a row over gender pay parity in July 2017.  Mr Martin reported that Dennis Reed of the pensioners’ group Silver Voices had demanded that payment to stars should be slashed if the BBC expected over-75s to pay for their licences.  He added that the annual figures showed that two stars were being paid more than £1 million and 73 received between £150,000 and £500,000, representing 10 per cent of total internal creative content spend, a figure unchanged from the previous year.  He said the BBC had declined to comment.

MAITLIS ‘ATTACKS GOVERNMENT AGAIN’:  Craig Byers (Is the BBC Biased? 15/9) noted that, on BBC2 Newsnight, Emily Maitlis, interviewing Lord Lilley and Sir Roger Gale about the passage of the government’s internal market bill, interrupted Lord Lilley, a supporter of the bill 10 times and Sir Roger, who voted against the government, zero times. Mr Byers also noted that Lord Lilley had received the ‘laugh in the voice’ treatment from Ms Maitlis and was told by her that one of his key arguments was ‘quite specious’.  Dylan Donnelly (Express 15/9) also noted that Ms Maitlis had called Lord Lilley’s defence of the bill ‘specious’ and that, in response, many viewers had said on social media that she had not been impartial in her questioning.

BBC ‘SHOOTS ITSELF IN FOOT’ OVER SPORT QUIZ CULL: Jim White (£ Telegraph 15/9) argued that in deciding to cull former tennis star Sue Barker, along with team captains Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell  from the corporation’s long running BBC1 quiz A Question of Sport, in pursuit of  ‘diversity’, BBC bosses had shot themselves in the foot.  Noting that they might be replaced with figures from ethnic backgrounds, he said that – though it was commendable if the BBC reflected society as a whole – all three of the current roster of presenters were over 60 – another desirable component of ‘diversity’ which was seemingly being ignored.

He added:

‘The idea that there are millions of youthful hipsters who will be drawn to the show if you make the regulars a bit younger and more diverse is absolutely fanciful. This is not going to become a must-see appointment in the artisan coffee roasteries of Hackney because Jermaine Jenas and Alex Scott are unveiled as the new team captains (excellent broadcasters though both of them are).

‘It is a bit like suggesting Fleetwood Mac would appeal more to today’s teenagers if they recruited a twentysomething singer. This is a show with a very specific demographic: the very reason people like Question of Sport is that it has been around forever doing the same things it has always done with the same cast. Or to extend the Mac analogy, that it has long gone its own way. The truth is that removing Barker and the boys from the mix will simply alienate the existing audience while wholly failing to bring in a new one.’

COLSTON STATUE BIAS:  Jack Montgomery (Breitbart Europe 15/9) said that the BBC was facing further accusations of political bias after claiming in a news report that the statue of Bristol trader and philanthropist Edward Colston had been ‘symbolically lowered’ in June into Bristol harbour by Black Lives Matter ‘campaigners’. Mr Montgomery said that the Save Our Statues campaign had countered on social media that the reality was that ‘a violent, lawless mob’ had been involved, with Darren Grimes, a Brexit campaigner adding that the statue had been ‘dragged down by a mob in an illegal act of criminal damage whilst police turned a blind eye’.

BBC Bias Digest – 14 September 2020

CONSERVATIVE MP: ‘BBC SHOULD BE DEFUNDED’: Simon Osborne  (Express 14/9) said the Conservative MP Andrea Jenkyns had called for the BBC licence fee to be scrapped,  and had urged prime minister Boris Johnson to use his Commons majority to push through major reforms of the corporation. He added that Ms Jenkyns had claimed viewers were fed up of paying the annual £157.50 fee to a broadcaster which was now behaving like ‘a politically correct nanny state’. She had said:

‘I think the BBC has had its monopoly for too long now.” “It is inherently leftist and pushing that agenda all the time – I know the number of interviews I’ve done where they’re just so biased. And I feel they are also teetering on the cancel culture as well which they shouldn’t be doing. If every penny of taxpayers money goes to the BBC or any public sector organisation it should have scrutiny.

And added:

‘They should be a beacon of light for British culture – it is the British Broadcasting Corporation – rather than trying to be this nanny state, politically correct role which they have being doing recently. This has got to change so let’s just get on and defund the BBC.’


BBC ‘TO SCRAP MEETINGS CULTURE’: Anita Singh (£ Telegraph 14/9) said that new director general Tim Davie had decreed that most internal meetings were a waste of time and that the ‘meetings culture’ – satirised in the BBC programme W1A – must end as part of a larger ‘unrelenting’ drive to make efficiencies and scrap unnecessary layers of bureaucracy.  Ms Singh said the measures would be outlined in the latest BBC annual report, due to be published on 15/9.  She said that the report would also outline that the gender split between pay levels among high corporation earners  – now at 55:45 in favour of men, had improved from 75:25 in 2017.  Other measures included a warning to staff about the need to be more circumspect in the use of social media and open about outside interests.



BBC ‘PUT WOKE TO BED’: Faith Ridler (Mail on Sunday 13/9) reported that Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia had been sung last night at the last night of the proms following the ‘furious backlash’ over the lyrics being pulled due to ‘imperialistic ties’. She added the performance had been by a reduced orchestra of 65, against the normal 300, and without an audience, with the choir positioned in the stalls to ensure social distancing.


MAITLIS ‘CHUCKS ROTTEN EGGS’ AT FORMER BREXIT MEP:  Craig Byers (Is The BBC Biased? 12/9), noting that Emily Maitlis was back presenting BBC2 Newsnight after a fortnight’s break – during which new director general Tim Davie had announced a renewed drive towards impartiality – argued that, in presenting an item about UK-EU Brexit negotiations, she had made not ‘the faintest attempt at even-handedness’.  Craig explained:

‘When I saw that she was going to conduct a joint interview between a pro-EU, ex-Conservative opponent of Boris Johnson (David Gauke) and a former Brexit Party MEP (Ben Habib) I metaphorically rubbed my hands in anticipation.

‘What better test could there be? Would she be even-handed, put appropriate devil’s advocate questions from different positions, etc? My old interruptions test probably tells you all you need to know. She interrupted Ben Habib 11 times and David Gauke only once – and the one interruption of David Gauke was only so that she could get right back to bullying Ben Habib.

‘She didn’t even make the faintest attempt at even-handedness. The two points she put to David Gauke were ones entirely in line with his own point of view. They helped him. (Hope he properly thanked her, maybe with flowers, later). Every one of her points to Ben Habib, in contrast, was a hostile one, contradicting him and challenging him, and doing from a position of disdain and moral superiority.

‘To put it only slightly fancifully, David Gauke was obviously there to be egged on, and Ben Habib was even more obviously there to be placed in the stocks and have rotten eggs chucked at him.’


SNP ATTACKS BBC DECISION TO AXE DAILY NEWS CONFERENCE COVERAGE: Daniel Sanderson (£ Telegraph 12/9) said the BBC was facing a ‘major backlash’ from Scottish nationalists after it had decided that it would no longer routinely broadcast SNP first minister Nicola Sturgeon’s daily press conferences, which had been started at the beginning of the pandemic lockdown.  He reported that the Scottish National Party believed the broadcasts on BBC1 in Scotland provided essential information about risks, whereas political opponents had compared her performances to party political broadcasts pushing the SNP perspective. Mr Sanderson added that future conferences would be covered on news merit rather than automatically.

BBC ‘REACHES NEAR EQUALITY IN MALE-FEMALE PAY RATES’: Hana Carter (Sun 12/9) said that figures on pay released by the BBC suggested that pay for women working at the corporation had moved closer to equality, with 45 per cent of those earning more than £150,000 now being females, compared with 25 per cent four year ago. Ms Carter claimed that highly-paid male stars had taken pay cuts while ‘some women had reaped higher rewards’. She suggested that one of these was news presenter Fiona Bruce, whose pay was likely to be around £400,000 a year after she took over presenting BBC1 Question Time as well as her other roles.


ANDREW NEIL ‘CONSIDERING HIGHER PROFILE BBC ROLE’: Robert Mendick (£ Telegraph 10/9) claimed that former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil had been offered a ‘higher profile than  he had before he was taken off air’ by new director general Tim Davie, and that Mr Neil ‘regarded as one of the most forensic political interviewers on television’ was believed to be considering roles on BBC1 and BBC2 as part of an overhaul of the corporation’.     Mr Mendick noted that Mr Neil’s former BBC programme had been taken off air in March and then formally axed during the summer as part of budget cuts.

‘ALLEGRA STRATTON FAVOURITE FOR DOWNING STREET  HOT SEAT ‘: Jack Maidment (Mail online 10/9) said that former BBC journalist Allegra Stratton, who was currently director of communications for chancellor Rishi Sunak, was believed to be the frontrunner in a selection process to choose who would front  new daily White House-style press briefings about government policy from Downing Street. Mr Maidment said that prime minister Boris Johnson was believed to be impressed by Ms Stratton’s work for Mr Sunak, although she had not formally applied form the new post.  He added that Downing Street had insisted there would be a ‘full and proper’ selection process for the £100,000+-a-year post.

FORMER RADIO 4 BOSS SLAMS ‘OUT OF CONTROL’ BBC PRESENTERS: Luke May (Daily Mail 10/9) said that Mark Damazer, a former controller of BBC Radio 4, had told an Institute of Economic Affairs  webinar that use of tweets and social media by some BBC stars to express political views was ‘out of control’ but had denied that corporation output was not ‘paralysed by wokeness’.   It was also reported by the newspaper that BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty could be banned from speaking about Natwest on the programme sofa after it had been disclosed she had ‘moonlighted’ by appearing in a promotional video for the bank.

MAIN ADVOCATE OF WOKE CULTURE ‘IS BBC’: Anne Widdecombe (Express 9/9), discussing the rise of ‘woke’ culture, which , she claimed, was akin to the Spanish Inquisition (minus only the torture), argued that the main exponent was the BBC.  She declared:

‘Supposedly impartial, it simply ignores what it does not like and jumps on any passing bandwagon that suits its own metropolitan-elite driven notions, as is evidenced by the enthusiasm with which it has recently embraced the agenda of portraying Britain and her historic figures as rabidly racist.’

Miss Widdicombe noted that Tim Davie, the new BBC director general, had a big part to play in making the country once more a land of liberty and free speech – but said she was not holding her breath that he would.