BBC reporters told to get smart
"There's nothing compulsory about it," he said. "But there is a general offer for correspondents wanting to improve their visual appearance."
The BBC dismissed suggestions that it was responding to viewer complaints. "It's just something we do from time to time. We're sending them off in batches of four," he said.
All this raises fears that such "chain-store types" as the political editor, Robin Oakley, and the Northern Ireland correspondent, Denis Murray, are facing makeovers.
But in the newsroom there seemed little awareness of revamps. "We just take our correspondents in their natural dishevelled state and thrust them in front of the cameras," said a producer.
One BBC old-timer told a story that has circulated in BBC newsrooms for years. The correspondent Jeremy Bowen was phoned in the Middle East by his BBC boss. The conversation was brief and simple: "Get a haircut."
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