Lord Alli leaves Carlton to spend more time with his political interests

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Waheed Alli, the Labour peer and television production mogul, is to leave Carlton Communications 18 months after he took over its television operations, it was announced yesterday.

Waheed Alli, the Labour peer and television production mogul, is to leave Carlton Communications 18 months after he took over its television operations, it was announced yesterday.

Lord Alli, 35, whose production company Planet 24 is behind television hits such as The Big Breakfast, joined Carlton after it purchased his company for £15m last year.

Admitting that Lord Alli's departure had been "widely expected" for some time, Carlton said yesterday that the peer, one of the Labour Party's most generous supporters, had quit to concentrate on his political interests in the run-up to the next general election.

"He is very politically involved. I think someone like that never spends forever in a large corporate organisation," said a spokesman. "He said some time ago that as the election came closer he wanted to spend more time on the political side of things."

But friends of Lord Alli said the move coincides with a change of management at Carlton and a restructuring of the company's business.

"He is far too independently minded to become a corporate interest," said one. "It was fine while Michael [Green] was there, but there were fewer and fewer reasons for him to stay."

Carlton denied that Lord Alli's departure was connected in any way with the change of management in which the company's chairman Michael Green was replaced earlier in the summer by Gerry Murphy.

Yesterday, the company revealed a restructuring of its television business, dividing media business into "content", including its library and new media operations, and "channels", including the new digital operations.

Away from Carlton, Lord Alli is understood to be keen to develop the format of Survivor, the gameshow that he and his partner Charlie Parsons developed, which went on to break ratings records in the US.

When Carlton acquired Planet 24, it did not receive the worldwide rights to Survivor, which Parsons and Alli set up under a separate company, Castaway Productions. Survivor is said to have made them both personal fortunes.

It is also possible that the mogul's interests will not stop at television. Last week it was reported that Lord Alli had been in talks with regard to a possible purchase of The Daily Star newspaper. He is said to be considering a joint bid with a financial institution and a wealthy entrepreneur.

Famously private, despite his high-profile roles, last year Lord Alli achieved prominence for claims he made to some of his colleagues that the handful of black and Asian members of the Lords were victims of racism from some members of the staff there.

He made it known that he felt this would never have happened had he been white and said he was struck by a "general level of hostility" from the House of Lords attendants.

Comments