Home / Media / All change at the Beeb as Trust chairman Lyons steps down and BBC1 programme boss Jay Hunt ships out for Channel 4

All change at the Beeb as Trust chairman Lyons steps down and BBC1 programme boss Jay Hunt ships out for Channel 4

It’s trouble and strife at the BBC despite director general Mark Thompson’s ringing defence of the corporation at the recent Edinburgh International TV Festival.

BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons, head of the body that’s supposed to regulate the Beeb, is stepping down, probably cheesed off with dealing with outbreaks of outrage among BBC staff about overpaid top management and unwilling to deal with a coalition government that is bound to chip away at the BBC’s autonomy and funding.

One of the aforementioned overpaid managers Jay Hunt, controller of BBC1, is off to Channel 4, for even more money, to replace Julian Bellamy (and the already departed Kevin Lygo who’s gone to ITV Studios) as chief creative officer.

The new boss of Channel 4 is former St Luke’s adman David Abraham and he’s showing his former habits by making the programme boss ‘chief creative officer.’ Is Hunt up to the job?

Various observers have suggested that her elevation, if such it is, reveals nothing as clearly as the lack of talent in British telly. Her predecessor as BBC1 boss, Peter Fincham, now at ITV, was outstanding. Has Hunt done anything more than follow in his footsteps and recommission Dr Who?

At least at Channel 4 she won’t get so much hassle about her husband’s broadcast training company which works a lot for the BBC.

Lyons’ departure is a heaven-sent opportunity for culture secretary Jeremy Hunt to rethink the governance of the Beeb. He should do the sensible thing and give the job to Ofcom. Slight problem being that PM David Cameron, a former PR man at Carlton TV which was no friend of Ofcom, said he would abolish Ofcom before the election.

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The Beeb is already facing two strikes by disaffected staff. These latest developments are probably the last thing it needs.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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