Editorial: A radical takes over at the BBC

 

Share

Many might have supposed that George Entwistle was a safe, even a rather boring, choice as the new Director-General of the BBC. He has, after all, worked for the nation's flagship broadcaster for 23 years and might therefore be expected to be comfortable with its ways. It is refreshing, then, to hear from Mr Entwistle's first print interview that he secured the top job thanks to rather radical plans for reform.

Arguably, the new DG was always going to need to be inventive, given that he or she was to preside over 20 per cent budget cuts while simultaneously charged by the chairman, Lord Patten, with improving the creative quality of the BBC's output by 20 per cent. Mr Entwistle's proposal is to simplify the corporate structure which he has found, over two decades in the organisation, to stifle both originality and journalism. He also wants to strip away layers of management and make the creative parts of the BBC work in greater partnership together.

There is reason to hope that Mr Entwistle is as realistic as he is inspired. After all, he knows he has to be seen to deliver ahead of negotiations with the Government to renew the BBC Charter and licence fee after 2017. And he knows, too, that the Corporation can no longer compete with broadcasters like Sky or BT in the eye-watering bidding wars over football rights. But the success of the BBC's Olympics coverage provides one template. And the new boss also knows that finding talent in unexpected places, and developing talent in areas where it has been neglected, will be crucial. His well-known support for getting more women on to the airwaves will help.

In an internal broadcast to the BBC's 22,000 staff yesterday, Mr Entwistle trod a careful line between dictating and listening, something of a novelty in an organisation where DGs have tended towards either one or the other. He is a popular choice among the staff, which will be good for morale; he also knows where the organisation's levers are located. The combination should help. But the task ahead remains formidable.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sessional ICT Teacher - GCSE

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: ICT teacher job in Humberside. ...

Year 6 Teacher - January start

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are looking fo...

History Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are looking fo...

Lower Key Stage 2 Teacher - Jan 15

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education and recruitin...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Prime Minister David Cameron speaks outside Downing Street after the result of the Scottish Referendum  

Scottish referendum results: And now for the West Lothian question – but resolving it won’t be easy

Rosie Millard
No supporters react to results in the Scottish independence referendum at The Marriott Hotel in Glasgow as ballet papers are counted through the night.  

Scottish referendum results: Thank you, thank you, thank you to the No voters – the Union is saved

Andy McSmith
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week