The scope of Greg Dyke's plans for the BBC - many of which will be revealed today - go way beyond the changes to its management structure trailed last week, and cover a wide range of areas from moving out of Bush House to scheduling an extra episode of EastEnders each week.
One of the biggest announcements in the director general's statement on the future of the BBC is expected to be his intention to move the World Service out of Bush House in Aldwych, central London. That is unlikely to be the only upheaval at a famous BBC site. The corporation has filed a European Commission notice signalling that it is looking for a private-sector partner to manage and redevelop its property portfolio. Mr Dyke wants a partner to help redevelop under-used land around Television Centre in west London into space that could be let to other tenants, and thus make money from property holdings.
The BBC's lease on Bush House expires in 2005. It will probably be renewed but, if the property is then redeveloped, the World Service operation may be moved into a purpose-built centre elsewhere. No site has been fixed, though the BBC has long wanted a new purpose-built building on the south bank of the Thames.
In his statement, Mr Dyke will allude to the property changes, saying that the corporation has to have a decent property strategy.
Insiders confirmed yesterday that moving the World Service out of Bush House and redeveloping sites at no cost to the BBC formed part of his thinking.
On the programming front, Mr Dyke is known to be interested in a fourth episode of EastEnders each week, though he will not formally announce the extra episode today. The change would have the obvious effect of boosting ratings, though it might lay the BBC open to accusations of neglecting more serious drama.
Perhaps significantly, today also sees a relaunch of the BBC Knowledge digital channel, with a run of informative programmes, documentaries and dramas, which will boost Mr Dyke's objective of stressing the corporation's educational remit. Its spring schedule, under the channel's head, Liz Cleaver, will include an interview with Sir Richard Eyre, Trevor Nunn's acclaimed Macbeth with Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellen, and a raft of specialist factual programmes.
Mr Dyke also wants to put more money into BBC Films and ensure that the brand is as successful as Channel 4's. His review will cast aside some of the structural changes introduced by his predecessor, Sir John Birt. Mr Dyke recently told staff he thought the BBC was "massively overmanaged".
The new Dyke structure will put programme makers much closer to the director general. It will abolish the controversial split between "production", which made programmes, and "broadcast" which commissioned them. The arrangement brought additional bureaucracy and an extra layer of top management.
The new structure is expected to have five top jobs reporting directly to Mr Dyke - director of television, director of radio, head of factual programming, head of entertainment and drama, and head of new media.
Mark Thompson, head of BBC regions, is likely to be the new director of television. Jenny Abramsky, head of BBC Radio, looks set to be director of radio. Alan Yentob, current director of television, is favourite for the entertainment and drama job. The posts of head of factual programming and head of new media are likely to be advertised externally.Reuse content