Media: Ups and Downs: Mixed fortunes on the media roller-coaster.
Wednesday 28 July 1993
Katherine Lannon, popular press officer of the Broadcasting Standards Council, leaving to join the BBC as a broadcasting analyst in the planning and strategy department. She is the latest recruit to the growing army of expensive experts being hired to tell the BBC why fewer and fewer people are watching its programmes. Maybe if they spent the money on the programmes instead of the experts . . .
Eldorado, dead but refusing to lie down. Following the soap opera's summary execution by Alan Yentob, controller of BBC 1, the magazine Broadcast reports that a video of its memorable moments sold 20,000 copies in its first 10 days, moving instantly to fourth place in the UK Video Chart.
Pat Robertson, the American television evangelist, whose International Family Entertainment last year bought TVS, the company that lost its franchise for the ITV South and South-east region to Meridian. On 1 September the Family Channel is to be launched here, as part of the new BSkyB multi-channel subscription package, with eight hours of family viewing a day. 'Absolutely no religious programming whatsoever,' insists a spokesman, panic-stricken at the thought of what piety might do to the ratings.
John Birt, director-general of the BBC, fast reaching the point where his very name raises a titter among the intelligentsia. Here is the National Theatre's press release about Ken Campbell's latest one- man show, Jamais Vu: 'It features a visit to a regional secure unit to meet a man who thinks he's John Birt.'
Janet Street-Porter, ever the bridesmaid, tipped for every BBC controllership going (BBC 1, BBC 2, music and arts and most recently Radio 1) and not appointed to any of them. For all we know she is happy where she is, but, at 46, she cannot remain head of youth programmes indefinitely.
Lord Stevens, chairman of United Newspapers, under attack from journalists at the Yorkshire Post for declaring that union derecognition was the policy of his group. The journalists have published a newsletter called the Yorkshire Free Post, with the headline: 'Why his Lordship's head must roll', calling on shareholders to remove him from the board.
Ruby Wax, whose sketch in an April edition of The Full Wax, featuring Joanna Lumley as a mental patient, was the subject of a complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Council. The BBC, in her defence, argued: 'It is a well-established feature of Ruby Wax's comic approach that matters calling for tactful handling in any serious presentation are tackled with self- serving insensitivity masquerading as concern.' Wonderfully pompous, but to no avail: complaint upheld.
David Mellor, former Secretary of State for National Heritage, named 'Clumsiest Communicator of the Year' by the public relations firm SFB, for the way he handled his resignation. He was judged even clumsier than the Royal Family, who were the runners-up, and British Airways, which came third, with the BBC in fourth place.
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