Column Eight: A perfick bonus for TV chiefs

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The Independent Online
IT TURNED out to be a 'perfick' 1992 for the top managers of Yorkshire Tyne Tees Television, makers of The Darling Buds of May, (though not so wonderful for the 320 junior staff they sacked in the course of the year).

Clive Leach, chief executive, and 16 colleagues shared a bonus of pounds 1.45m, according to the new annual report, a glossy affair that treats shareholders to a colour spread of Gazza's thighs, among other delights.

The aim of the bonus scheme was to encourage senior managers to stay at Yorkshire in the run-up to the award of the new ITV licences. Mr Leach's total pay was pounds 432,000, a 162 per cent increase on 1991. On top of this he received pounds 59,000 - the mortgage interest on his house in Selby, North Yorks.

What kind of a home costs pounds 59,000 in annual interest? 'Not an outrageous mansion. A standard house,' a Yorkshire spokesman insists.

AT LAST, poor Mr Lamont's Treasury team acquires some much-needed authority and gravitas. Gyles Brandreth, a man who once attempted the world kissing record on nationwide television, was yesterday appointed parliamentary private secretary to the financial secretary, Stephen Dorrell.

WITH THOMAS Ward acquitted of stealing pounds 5.2m yesterday, the last of the Guinness trials draws to a close today, when the judge rules on costs. Among the expenses of the Serious Fraud Office was the airfare of Michael Glass, a Washington banker, who jetted over by Concorde last week to testify for the prosecution.

Perhaps the SFO was losing hope of a conviction: Mr Glass made the return journey by humble 747.

DAVID BURNSIDE, the PR man who abruptly left British Airways in the wake of the Virgin dirty tricks scandal, may soon be hobnobbing with the members of a certain gentlemen's club in London. His name has appeared in the club book where new boys are proposed. His occupation is described as 'director and adviser'. Beside these words someone has seen fit to pen several large question marks.

BRITISH Midland chose London's art deco Waldorf Hotel yesterday to trumpet its amazing innovation in air travel: cabins on European flights are to be divided into business and standard class sections. Flashing lights, crashing cymbals and the voice of Dr Who welcomed the bemused guests from across Europe to a 'Flight to the Future' . . . whereupon the hotel's power system seized up, plunging everyone into darkness for 10 minutes.