New Director-General: Bureaucrats threatened under the new regime

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The Independent Online
THE RUMOUR mill at the BBC is already grinding at full speed over who will do well under Greg Dyke, and what the corporation will be like under the new man.

Mr Dyke feels strongly that decisions at the BBC have to be taken at the programme-making level. This should mean returning more power to the programme-makers. Sir John Birt always promised he would do this, but instead he put in place a large bureaucracy.

A direct consequence of Mr Dyke's likely reforms will be to strip out the large corporate centre and policy department. These middle managers were brought in by Sir John on the advice of the management consultants McKinsey and they eat up pounds 60m a year of licence-payers' money.

Morale will be boosted if programme-makers get more power after years of cost-cutting and casualisation.

However, much of what Sir John has done has been necessary, and Mr Dyke will not turn Broadcasting House back into a senior common room where programme-makers do not need to care about what audiences want.

The kinds of programmes made by the BBC are unlikely to change radically. Mr Dyke has told the governors he will continue the BBC's traditional balancing act. The corporation needs to uphold its public service remit while trying to reach as much of the audience as possible with some populist output.

One of those likely to do well under Mr Dyke is the director of television, Alan Yentob. The two men have met in recent weeks to discuss how they might run the corporation together as a "dream team".

"Greg is a great boss and a strategist while Alan has the creative skills and inside knowledge of how the BBC works," said a BBC executive. Mr Yentob was a finalist in the race to be DG but, say insiders, was considered to be too disorganised to take on the top job.

Much also hangs on how well Mr Dyke will work with his former closest rival for the DG job - the television news boss Tony Hall. Mr Dyke, like Mr Hall, is a news man and will take a close interest in how the news empire is run.

Other BBC bosses, though, will be less sure of their future. Insiders say a breed of "Young Turks", who have done well under Sir John, will have to prove themselves again.

They point to Matthew Bannister, head of BBC Production, who has risen to one of the top jobs in television despite his broadcasting experience being almost exclusively in radio.

Mark Byford, the new head of the World Service, has also shot up through the ranks, spurred on by unfettered enthusiasm for Birtist reforms.

Former colleagues of Mr Dyke say he is likely to respect people like himself who have grassroots journalistic and programme experience. That approach could benefit the third "Young Turk", Mark Thompson, who has risen fast to become boss of the BBC regions.