New Broadcasting House the latest media circus as BBC becomes the story


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The Independent Online

“The BBC is reeling from a crisis of its own making,” intoned Nick Higham, the BBC News correspondent. And with its officer class decimated, the Corporation devoted its energies to crawling over the minutiae of developments on a rolling BBC News loop.

The news day began with a polite inquiry to an open-necked Tim Davie arriving for work: “Are you the man to sort out the crisis at the BBC?” “What’s morale like in there?”, reporters who had previously been in the building asked their colleagues.

Events moved to the concourse outside the impressively-refurbished new BBC corporate HQ, New Broadcasting House, an unhelpful echo of New Scotland Yard.

From this impromptu media village, former BBC governors and ex-Newsnight editors lined up to pontificate on the Corporation’s plight to news presenter Joanna Gosling.

Mr Davie returned to give BBC News a full interview, swaying unnervingly from a glass eyrie above the newsroom, and promised to “get a grip”. The acting Director-General cut short a hostile Sky News interview, perhaps sensing his grip already weakening.

Norman Smith, the BBC’s chief political correspondent, reported the response from Lord Patten’s former Tory colleagues to the decision to sign off George Entwistle’s pay-off. “Not so much a backlash as a collective howl of outrage from the Tory back benches.”

“Ceri Thomas appointed acting deputy director of news on a temporary basis,” the latest breaking news informed a gripped nation.

Matt Prodger, the BBC home affairs correspondent, summed up the mood. “Just asked by BBC security guard to ‘Step aside’ after I got stuck in revolving doors. This has gone too far,” he tweeted.

At some point, the holiday cover for the deputy acting head of news (excluding Newsnight and investigations) decided to give Abu Qatada’s deportation appeal win a look-in on the News channel.