Gerry Robinson prepares to make BBC comeback

After his failed bid for Rentokil, company doctor will resume TV career as adviser to top London hospital
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Sir Gerry Robinson, who in October failed in an attempt to seize control of Rentokil Initial, is to resume his television career with a series analysing the management of one of the UK's leading hospitals.

The former chairman of Granada and Allied Domecq became a TV star with his series I'll Show Them Who's Boss. In it, he was invited into family-owned companies and asked to help them improve the way they were run. However, he turned away from his TV career last year to focus back on business. As chairman of the drinks group Allied Domecq, he helped secure a sale of the company to its French rival, Pernod Ricard, and then resurfaced with an audacious attempt to wrest control of Rentokil Initial.

The plan, which would have involved Sir Gerry becoming executive chairman in return for a sizeable stake in the troubled services giant, was ultimately unsuccessful. Sir Gerry has not decided whether to try to revive his business career with another public company venture.

Meanwhile, he will be returning to TV screens in a BBC2 programme that aims to get to the core of the crisis within the National Health Service.

Sir Gerry has been invited to give a management assessment of the Royal Free Hospital in north London, one of the largest and most prestigious acute hospitals in the UK. The Royal Free has more than 1,000 beds and treats more than 500,000 patients a year, dealing with everything from accident and emergency to neonatal intensive care and major organ transplants. The Royal Free NHS Trust employs 4,500 staff and has an annual turnover of more than £260m. Given its location in Hampstead, it is used by some of the most influential people in the UK.

But while the Royal Free boasts the lowest mortality rate of any acute hospital in the country, it was recently lambasted by the NHS watchdog, the Health Protection Agency, for its poor standards of cleanliness.

The trust is run by Andrew Way, who joined in June from Heatherwood & Wrexham Park Hospitals NHS Trust. He is unusual in having risen from being a student nurse to being chief executive of a hospital.

Filming starts this month, and Sir Gerry is set to be given free rein to interview managers, doctors and other staff to look at the complex issues involved.

The show is expected to go out on BBC2 in the autumn.

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