Captain Moonlight

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The Independent Online
RUMOURS from BBC Broadcasting House . . . cries of 'Bloody John Birt' drowned by the trundle of enormous suitcases. A year after the 'Stalinesque' new leader incensed his staff with the introduction of Producer Choice - an 'internal market' system where departments charge programmes for services - certain radio producers are looking at the programme accounts and noticing, not savings of course, but a bit of unexpected slack. Who wants to come in under budget at the end of the financial year, when a foreign trip can so enhance the programme output? As one producer put it 'There will be people sitting on a plane somewhere now and thinking, hmmm, maybe it wasn't such a bad idea after all.'

Productions may have been debilitated by forms, business units and management psychobabble but parcels have been posted instead of taxied; televisions found languishing in corners sent back where they came from and cash recouped, so on with the factor 10 and the flack jackets. 'There's still a lot of crap about Producer Choice,' says another BH producer, 'but it does seem to have made everyone more cost conscious. It's definitely a slightly embarrassing topic of discussion at the moment. People were when Producer Choice came in, the idea that it might be working is even more annoying.'

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