Crisis-prone BBC needs management clear-out writes Jeff Randall

, former BBC Business Editor in today’s Daily Telegraph. Here are some highlights, first, Randall on the culture of the BBC:

In a commercial organisation, these undesirables would be driven out by market forces. The yardstick of success and failure provided by profit and loss is a visible reminder of whether you are winning or losing. When results are poor, or mistakes are made, heads roll. A line is drawn and the business moves on.

This rarely happens at the BBC. Instead of the boil being lanced, the poison stays in the system. And so a drama is turned into a crisis, made worse by an unusual capacity for self-flagellation.

A reporter, feeling sorry for himself, once told me, “the trouble with the BBC is that it’s run by fear”. As you have no doubt guessed, he had never worked anywhere else.

The BBC’s real problem is a lack of fear. It’s almost impossible to sack anyone. Indeed, any manager brave enough to give an errant colleague a rollicking runs the risk of being reprimanded for “bullying”.

Next, Randall on the tellytax and value for our dragooned money:

Every January, come rain or shine, a large truck with £3 billion of licence-fee money turns up at Television Centre. Too much of it is spent on administration, too little on output. A senior BBC executive, someone with real affection for the place, admitted to me: “Yes, the management’s too soft. It’s just how we are.”

And finally, Randall on the lack of rolling heads following recent scandalous BBC revelations, in contrast with commercial broadcasters:

Meanwhile, at the BBC, where flagrant breaches of editorial standards occurred at six of its best-known shows, including Comic Relief and Children in Need, who has gone? Nobody.

So far, a handful of executives have been suspended on full pay, pending an internal investigation – a bit of summer gardening leave. Nice work if you can get it.

Randall also mentions the death of Sky News reporter James Furlong, 44, who was driven to suicide after it was revealed that a report of his from on board a Royal Navy submarine firing missiles during the Iraq invasion was actually a test firing demonstration, presented as the real thing. And who was it that revealed and revelled in the embarrassment of Sky News and James Furlong? Why yes, it was good old feather-bedded unaccountable BBC News.

Do read the rest.

Thank you to commenter It’s all too much for the link.

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6 Responses to Crisis-prone BBC needs management clear-out writes Jeff Randall

  1. Rob says:

    Environmentalist propaganda masquerading as a news article:


  2. Sam Duncan says:

    I think more and more people are realising just what a monster the BBC has become. Unfortunately, too many seem to be wedded to the idea that public service and commercial activity are mutually exclusive (not least because of the Beeb’s propaganda) for anything to be done about it yet.

    Randall’s piece illustrates very well how it’s the unique way the BBC is funded that has got it into this mess.

    My brother works for a large multinational, and complains of many of the same things as Randall. The difference is that if Acme (name changed to protect the innocent) continues in this fashion, it will cease to exist. It may take years – commercial operation isn’t a magic bullet that fixes all problems overnight; bigness hides timeservers and incompetents almost as well as a lack of commercial accountability – but if nothing is done, it will happen. The BBC on the other hand, isn’t allowed to fail. If it loses money, nobody asks why, and how it can be averted; they just sting the taxpayer for more. The main mechanism for dealing with a problem that faces all huge organisations simply isn’t there.


  3. Kid Gloves says:

    Rob’s link:

    “Writing on his website Doyle says he came up with the idea for the book after reading an article on global warming.”

    I wonder if that article was on the BBC website perchance? 😉


  4. Peter Martin says:

    This from today’s Guardian about trust in the BBC:,,2136655,00.html

    In light of what I have read elsewhere, I was wondering what’ heads have rolled’ means?


  5. Bryan says:

    I also didn’t see any heads rolling. I thought heads had been suspended with full pay.


  6. Peter Martin says:

    Ah, that probably explains why such media can’t seem to see that all the fuss was about.

    Still hasn’t stopped them having a fair old go at those who have been so utterly beastly to their mates, who really only ‘enhanced’ the truth so white was black in the name of ratings = career advancement = money.

    Is there anyone who can be trusted to simply give us the facts straight about this rather odd ‘club’, to which so few can gain access or be allowed to question, that is the UK media?