Media: UPS and DOWNS: A new column looking at the fortunes and misfortunes of media people

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The Independent Online
Rupert Murdoch, who narrowly avoided being bound and gagged for that television commercial for the Sun, in which the editor, Kelvin MacKenzie, gains the boss's involuntary approval for his 5p price cut. 'Rupert was willing to do it,' says someone who knows, 'but he had to leave the country the day before it was filmed.' An advertising executive stood in, but could not convey the authentic menace.

Robin Foster, director of National Economic Research Associates, who is to join the BBC in the new role of chief adviser for business and commercial policy. Maybe his first assignment will be to advise on whether the BBC really needs to spend so much money on advice.

Peter Rosier, the BBC's popular head of corporate affairs and press relations, who steps down this month. So why is he an Up? Because he will still be retained by the BBC as a consultant. See above.

Kim Evans, acting head of music and arts with the BBC, stops acting and gets the job. A former producer on The South Bank Show, she joined the BBC's Omnibus team in 1989.

Mike Poole receives well-deserved promotion from executive producer of The Late Show to editor, while the current editor, Janice Hadlow, becomes editor of Late Show Productions, responsible for specials and developing themed programmes.

The Myth of the Standing Ovation: Mark Tully got one when he gave his speech lambasting John Birt, according to the London Evening Standard and the Observer. Not so, says our man on the spot with the portable clapometer. A few people tried to start one, but failed. And Birt clocked up almost as much applause.

Michael Aspel, whose weekly London Weekend Television programme has been publicly rapped on the knuckles by the Independent Television Commission for excessively plugging Planet Hollywood, a West End eatery; and Cilla Black, whose Surprise, Surprise, also on LWT, has received a similar reprimand for giving undue prominence to Delta Airlines, EverReady, Mothercare and Barbie dolls. LWT assured the ITC that no money had changed hands. Surprise, surprise.

George Carey, the independent producer who makes Biteback, the programme in which BBC viewers grouse about what's on screen. He is finding it increasingly hard to get BBC chiefs to appear to defend their output. He has even made a formal complaint to Mark Thompson, head of features. Once bitten . . .

Birtspeak, the half-digested management school jargon that characterised John Birt's first few months as director-general; now dead and buried, to judge from his robust Birmingham speech last week. No trace of overhead initiatives, best practice review, productivity targeting, mutually agreed strategies and discrete business units. Instead, spring-heeled prose and even the hint of a joke.

ITN, which has lost the contract for in-flight news to Singapore Airlines. It has been beaten by BBC World Service Television.

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