Captain Moonlight: Birt flying high

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RUMOURS from BBC Broadcasting House . . . cries of 'Bloody John Birt' are being drowned by the trundle of enormous suitcases. A year after the 'Stalinesque' new leader incensed his staff with the introduction of 'Producer Choice' and Mount Etnas of paperwork, 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 are people sitting on a plane now thinking 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 it's on with the factor 10 and out with the flak jackets.

'People were pissed off when Producer Choice came in,' says another BBC producer. 'The idea that it might be working is even more off- pissing. Bloody John Birt . . .'