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Ian Burrell: The long way back to the BBC for Lesley Douglas


It’s more than five years since the “Sachsgate” scandal at BBC Radio 2. Presenter Russell Brand and guest Jonathan Ross overstepped the mark in leaving lewd voicemail messages for actor Andrew Sachs, referring to his granddaughter.

Tim Davie, then head of audio and music at the BBC, tried to calm the storm as the corporation’s bosses forced out Radio 2’s controller Lesley Douglas.

What has happened since? Davie has thrived, standing in capably as director-general during the Savile fallout, and now leads the commercial operation BBC Worldwide. Douglas went into the music industry and then television. Radio 2 is stronger than ever.

Last week Davie set out plans for BBC Worldwide. They included a BBC deal with television company Lonesome Pine, which Douglas set up last year. “There are few people with such strong talent relationships who understand what makes great content better than Lesley,” he said.