The BBC’s new Director General George Entwistle starts his new job today, taking over from Mark Thompson who’s been in charge at the corporation since 2004.
George Entwistle was previously Director of BBC Vision, with his background in television working on programmes such as Newsnight, Tomorrow’s World and The Culture Show during his 22 years with the corporation.
His appointment is the topic of conversation in many media outlets, including 5 live, where the former BBC Chairman Michael Grade told Stephen Nolan’s programme last night: “I think he cares deeply about the BBC. I think he’s intelligent enough to know how difficult the job is – some would say the job is like being Prime Minister it’s almost impossible. But I think his whole life has been a preparation for this and I think he will carry the respect of the staff because editorially he’s accomplished. I think he’ll be a huge success.”
“In terms of radio I think Local Radio, which was under attack at one point, is more and more important with the demise of local newspapers and local democracy. I think the decentralisation of the BBC out of London is more and more important. The big problem for George will be if Scotland votes for devolution – that’ll be a huge issue for the BBC.”
“I don’t think the market can support commercial radio in speech news, local news, community news – and that’s a huge role for the BBC. I think the BBC’s role in local radio becomes more and more important and easily defined.”
Here’s his first email to everyone on Monday morning:
Good morning. On my first day as DG, I wanted to say hello and tell you how nice it feels to be doing the job for real after all those weeks of preparation.
Over the next few months I’m going to be getting out and about, visiting as much of the BBC as I can. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts about the organisation – and your ideas about how we can make it better.
I’ve done an interview for the Radio Times, where I answered readers’ questions, and that comes out tomorrow. But I want you to be the first to hear my plans for the BBC, so please watch my speech if you can tomorrow morning at 11am on the internal ringmain.
Hope that’s all clear. More from me tomorrow, when I look forward to answering your questions and hearing what you think of my plans. Have a great day.
All the best,
As Director of Vision, George was responsible for BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC One HD, BBC HD, BBC Films, Vision Productions and had editorial oversight for UKTV.
Announcing the appointment in July, BBC Trust Chairman Lord Patten said: “George is a creative leader for a creative organisation.
“His experience of making and delivering great programmes that audiences love – built up through many years of working for the Corporation – will prove invaluable as he and his team work to ensure the BBC remains the greatest broadcaster in the world.
“Above all George is passionate about the BBC, is committed to its public service ethos and has a clear vision for how it can harness the creativity and commitment of its staff to continue to serve audiences in ever more innovative ways.”