Potter tells BBC chiefs to go: David Lister reports from the Edinburgh Television Festival on calls for resignations
A founder member of The Independent David Lister joined the paper in 1986 as Assistant Home Editor. He became the paper's arts correspondent in 1988 and is now Arts Editor and writes a column each Saturday. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Monday 30 August 1993
The debate, some of which will be shown on Channel 4 tonight, was examining the issues raised by Potter's controversial lecture which opened the Edinburgh Television Festival on Friday. He had argued that the Birt/Hussey regime had led to demoralisation, hatred and bitterness.
But just as the debate was starting, Potter tested the cool of Sheena MacDonald, the television presenter, who was in the chair, turning to her as she introduced the session, saying: 'For God's sake get on with it. I have to say I don't feel very well this morning.'
The author of The Singing Detective and Pennies from Heaven, who has a skin disease, went on: 'My skin is getting flaky and my face might become like a Hammer horror film. It's up-chuck time.' Then as Ms MacDonald asked for a pause as the cameras got into position, he snapped: 'This is bloody incompetent.'
Asked about his denunciation of the BBC, he said: 'I did the whole damn thing on Friday . . . I don't want to go through it all again.'
Potter said the BBC management had caved in before the Government. 'People at the BBC are unhappy, confused and frightened. Hussey has to go. Birt has to go. I want someone at the BBC to stand up to the Government and say 'Make us. We'll take you on. You're a temporary political movement,' instead of standing up, hands in the air.'
In an increasingly heated debate Will Wyatt, managing director of BBC network television, said it was fantasy to think you could raise two fingers to the rest of the world, that the Government had legislated that 25 per cent of BBC programmes now had to be made by independent producers, that savings had to be made and that Potter was giving out 'a lot of abuse and no coherent argument'.
Earlier, Bob Phillis, BBC deputy director-general, implored staff to make their criticisms in private. He said the continual public knocking of the BBC was damaging it as it fought to retain the value of the licence fee and to have its charter renewed.
Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax
- 1 Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
- 2 Shia LaBeouf claims he was raped during #IAMSORRY art installation performance
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler after death of Phil Hughes
Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh: Voyeur doctor jailed for eight years after using network of hidden cameras to film patients, colleagues and friends on the toilet
Kim Jong-un 'in dire need of allies' within his own government as younger sister appointed to senior role
Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Michael Buerk wishes he killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Plebgate: Andrew Mitchell’s reputation in tatters as judge rules he used the word ‘pleb’
£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...
£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...
£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...
£60k - 80k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...