BBC is so 'selfish'
Poor Luke Johnson still hasn't forgiven Mark Thompson for the way he walked out on him to join the BBC five years ago.
In an interview in Tatler, out this Thursday, the retiring C4 chairman makes a blistering attack on the corporation and its Jesuit-educated director-general. "They are religious maniacs when it comes to the licence fee. Obsessive. They see it as an article of faith. Attack that and it's as if you are insulting their mother," he says. "After Mark Thompson exploited Channel 4 by working there for a couple of years for his CV, he went off to run the BBC. I meet with him sometimes and ... well, it's difficult but Mark is a very ... [long pause] ... determined man who has single-minded objectives, and among the most important as far as he is concerned is preservation of the BBC's licence fee and the prevention of anyone else accessing any of the public money that is provided for public service broadcasting. It seems mad to me and wrong that only the BBC gets that money, that even a few per cent of that £3.5bn a year should not go to anyone else. They are a very selfish organisation in that sense."
The Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens is a regular and compelling guest on the BBC's Question Time, expressing his maverick right-wing opinions with a rare intensity. It's no surprise, therefore, that such a passionate polemicist should set female hearts pounding, with the most ardent of Peter's admirers wanting to check him out in the flesh. But ladies, the ambushes in the aisles of Marks & Spencer and the offers of trips to Paris have got to stop. This is a serious man, not a member of Take That.
All change at GMTV
There's little Christmas cheer at GMTV, where cuts will follow the outright takeover by ITV. Among staff anxiously awaiting the findings of a review by ITV daytime head Alison Sharman is affable presenter John Stapleton. At a recent meeting Sharman reminded Stapleton of some of the tasks she once performed as his PA on the BBC's Watchdog. "And many more," he ruefully observed. "Many more."