Matthew Norman's Media Diary

Don't let's be beastly to the BBC DG

AT THE risk of flirting with professional controversialism, I must begin today with a word of support for the BBC hierarchy, as led by chairman Michael Grade and director-general Mark Thompson. These fierce protectors of the public service ethos come under heavy fire over the salary packages enjoyed by themselves and senior colleagues, and the carping from within the Beeb is tasteless and disloyal.

"Let me be very, very clear," Mr Grade told the Culture select committee (and frankly a third very, if not a fourth, was indicated), referring to the need for tip-top management in these times of change at the Beeb: "We have to be able to attract and retain those leaders."

Well said. When the BBC is poised to sack another 2,000 people, it is absolutely right that those responsible follow the example of the Emperor Tiberius, a military leader famed for enduring the same privations as his troops. Mr Thompson restricts his package to a risible £619,000, while his deputy Mark Byford must be tempted to ring Ocean Finance on an annual income just below £500,000... sorry, I'm welling up. And to think some must get by on barely half that.

The ingratitude of foot soldiers who will vote shortly on a strike beggars belief. They've been offered a 2.6 per cent rise, which works out pro rata as almost identical to the 30 per cent hike in executive pay over the last two years, and may come close to compensating them for pension scheme changes. So when the chairman insists that nothing matters more in these unstable days than "leadership of the very highest quality", let's for once drop the snide sarcasm and simply say how true this is. Or rather, as Mr Grade himself might style it, how very, very true.

IN THE Daily Mail, a stout supporter of Mr Grade in his old role as pornographer-in-chief addresses the news that sperm can be artificially produced. As always when analysing the most finely balanced issues, Melanie Phillips ruthlessly seeks out cool detachment. "The rest of us might wonder whether he is sounding the death knell for fatherhood altogether," mused Mad Mel of the scientist involved, "and, more to the point, threatening the very basis of what it is to be human." Nimbly avoiding the traps of appearing simplistic and hysterical is a gift, Mad Mel, no doubt about that. But surely sometimes the equivocation has to stop?

ELSEWHERE IN the Mail, the woman of whom it is often said that, if anything, she cares too much reports on further problems on the roads. Last time it was a heart-rending account of how she was punished by a policeman for failing to stop at a pedestrian crossing - and once again Esther Rantzen finds her faith in the police dented, as indeed was the wing of her car after a scrap with another driver over a parking space.

I won't delight you with too many details from Esther's report, not least because I've lacked the strength to get beyond the fifth paragraph, but the gist seems to be that officers obliged the old girl to go through the usual procedures that follow an accident. Do these uniformed oafs have no idea who Esther is, or rather who Esther used to be before she took to advertising ambulance-chasing law firms of the kind that seek to make capital out of trivial traffic accidents of no interest to anyone not directly involved?

I'M IN a spot of road-related bother with the law myself, after being grassed up by a reader. At the risk of repeating the original offence, the contentious sentence, in a comment piece about parking tickets, went as follows: "When every pay and display machine within a 500-yard radius is broken, what we should do is take an axe to the bastards and throw them through the windscreens of any unattended tow-trucks in the vicinity."

A PC John Wright informs a colleague that he is investigating whether a charge of incitement might be brought. Although it seems unlikely, until he rings with the all-clear I refuse to tempt fate. PC Wright works in one of those tranquil, peaceable parts of the country, by the way, in which the dearth of drugs and violent crime frees officers for graver matters. He is stationed in Moss Side.

WITH ESTHER and myself unhappily yoked together as objects of police interest, it's time to look on the bright side of constabulary life... and how better than with The Sun's Police Bravery Awards?

The ceremony, presided over by that loveable scamp "Dr" John Reid, was a triumph, but there was one mystification - the failure to honour the south London officers who last autumn went to the aid of an actor, one Ross Wade, after he called 999 under attack from his wife (she was held in the cells until sobering up the next morning). God knows why these officers' ordeal was overlooked, but they'll always be heroes to us.

FINALLY, TO another very brave person, Mary Ann Sieghart, who despite the post-traumatic stress continues to dwell on a bee sting to the foot. "I know, I know, the subject... is a fairly trivial one to write about two weeks in a row," observed Mary Ann, writing about it in The Times for the third week in a row. "But do you know, I received so many e-mails about it that at least some of you must be interested."

Some of us? There's not a soul who's not captivated. Show yet more courage, girl, and plough on. As I said last week, there's a cracking book in this.

News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Marketing - London

£60000 - £85000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketin...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Digital Project Manager

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Digital Project Manager is needed to join an exciti...

Paid Search Analyst / PPC Analyst

£24 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Paid Search Analyst / PPC...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam