back to article BBC places news chief and her deputy beyond use in Savile row

The BBC's director of news Helen Boaden and her deputy Steve Mitchell have "stepped aside" as the corporation investigates Newsnight's handling of a report on child sex abuse by BBC presenter Jimmy Savile. Boaden was paid £354,000 last year, and a fortnight ago took time out to fend off a freedom-of-information request at a …


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  1. EddieD

    It's a bit of a bugger.

    Whilst I'm fully in favour of kicking lots of arses over some recent failings, under no circumstances must this be used as leverage to neuter the BBC, as I think the current coalition would like.

    Compared to most public broadcasters, the BBC is in a league of its own, and anything at all that dims one of the few shining lights that the UK has would be a very, very grave mistake.

    This government is making mistakes, as is apparent by the sheer number of U turns that Cameron has made recently (e.g. fuel pricing...). People do make mistakes. It's allowing them to make amends - visible and genuine amends - that is important, and ensuring that the failing procedures are changed.

    But - as is all too common with government edicts fuelled by the baying press - we must not harass an organisation into making more and more errors, or throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    Change, yes - where necessary. In a mature and reasoned environment.

    The BBC is important to Britain to allow a couple of - in the great scheme of things - minor mistakes lead to its downfall.

    (I'll get off my soapbox now...)

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Re: It's a bit of a bugger.

      Minor mistakes. Are you fucking kidding me?

  2. g e

    "three of the top five sources"

    Which cannot now be trusted to be 'impartial', presumably.


  3. Paul 139

    Well tailored headline.

    Not for the first time, a recent headline has had me wondering what sort of wardrobe malfunction has afflicted the BBC.

    1. cortland

      Re: Well tailored headline.

      The "whole cloth" perhaps?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Free Money ?

    Is anybody shocked by the huge sums of money being handed out? The BBC is always crying about not having enough money and wanting to raise the licence tax, perhaps if they behaved more responsibly they would be able to exist, like other commercial enterprises, on the income from sales of their products.

    There really is no justification for the licence tax (and has not ever since their global sales began producing serious money), it is the weirdest "business model" imagineable. This tax should be scrapped immediately and someone who understands business methods should be brought in to instil some discipline - Alan Sugar perhaps?

    1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      He's more than a bit of a bugger

      Alan sugar?

      Are you ******* kidding?

      Do you know what the Amstrad madel was?

      Sell shit.

      What gets me is that in ony 54 days in the job, one supernominal was found to be worth £450,000 on top of his £877,000 pension. Why did they waste such a find?

    2. Graham Marsden

      "Licence Tax" was Re: Free Money ?

      A couple of figures to think about:

      BBC licence fee for the year: £145.50, no adverts. Annual subscription to the Daily Mail: £214.24.

      Which of these is really worth the money paid for it?

      1. SkippyBing

        Re: "Licence Tax" was Free Money ?

        What? I've got to pay for the Daily Mail as well now, even if I don't want to use it?

        Oh no, that's right, I get to decide if a subscription to the Daily Mail is worth it, whereas with the BBC I have no way to express my opinion of its worth and keep my TV without breaking the law.

        Don't get me wrong, I quite like the BBC, but if their news programming suffers any more blows like this then that Daily Mail subscription may look tempting*, at which point it's going to be increasingly hard for the licence fee to be justified.

        *I'm kidding, I'd never buy the Mail, I will be watching a lot more Al Jazeera though.

  5. frank ly

    "Why was the chief of BBC TV called "Head of Vision" ....?"

    It seems obvious to me, but I've always been very literal-minded. (I'm assuming that the chief of BBC Radio is called "Head of Sound".)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Why was the chief of BBC TV called "Head of Vision" ....?"

      Head of Radio is called Head of Audio & Music actually, but you correctly see the logic

  6. Colin Millar

    Absence of management checks?

    Perhaps - but not because of an absence of "management" but an absence of management.

    I don't know the internal organisation of the Beeb but from what I've seen reported it appears to be in the "matrix management" stage of failing organisations where the most common management occupations are passing the buck and burying heads in sand.

    It is also quite telling that despite Thompson and others being villified for almost a fortnight for being wilfully ignorant Entwistle chose to play exactly the same card again on Today.

    The BBC needs a new management model and soon or we will face the prospect of losing public service broadcasting in the UK with the Beeb simply becoming yet another commission agency.

  7. El Presidente

    David Dimblebob Is Right

    Have you ever seen a BBC compliance document ? I have. I've seen a few. Impenetrable, indecipherable politically correct gobbledegook "That's only the stuff that's written down" I was once told. "There's stuff we can and can't do that's not even written down, it is just understood"

    Compliance has closed down programmes, skewed sound editorial decisions and led to people losing their jobs, and the public losing programmes, for no reason other than something might not comply with one individuals interpretation of a document handed down to them from on high and might 'offend'

    BBC participation in the 24 hour rolling news agenda coupled with stupid compliance rules always meant that sooner or later the BBC would be hoist on is own petard. That's now happened. That it will disappear up its own fundament if it doesn't change is inevitable. The BBC is the best at what it does and still has the capacity to be the best for many years to come if they get rid of the layers of PC compliance officers and go back to begin the gold standard of broadcast journalism.

    Ignore all the nob heads calling froth BBC to be shut down. Sky and DMGT would love that.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Ooops... I just fucked up and dropped a live database, costing my company huge reputational damage. Off to resign now, and get a years salary and a huge pension contribution as a payoff!

  9. Pinkerton

    Be careful what you wish for...

    It is said that you don't know what you've got until you lose it. I fear the BBC is in this category.

    Perhaps they should make a pre-emptive strike and broadcast nothing but Fox News for a week. That might be the bitchslap we need to remind us to be grateful for what we've got.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Be careful what you wish for...

      It would be possible to keep the channels and have them managed by a different body. Thus doing away with the bloated incompetent BBC administration old boys club.

      You could replace it with a lithe, quick on its feet modern management body, a bit like what happened with the railways and Network Rail.

      No, wait...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Be careful what you wish for...

      The BBC only outputs sensationalist twaddle as "news" these days. It is no different from FOX, it merely sits at a different spot on the political spectrum.

    3. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      Re: Be careful what you wish for...

      You think that an agency the size of the BBC should be treated differently to an old people's home or an hospital ward where the staff have committed similar offences?

      Not using the TV and very little radio, I can tell you now that wat you lose is brainwash and what you get is focus in your own thinking. You get to live in a world without sound bites and without political promises. Be careful what you wish, for it pays dividends.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Institutional Arrogance.......

    or "Auntie Knows Best". That is the major failing of the BBC, or, rather, its senior management.

    They need a good, hard, kick up the arse, right out of the door for a number off them. They can then get back to the BBC's core raison d'etre to "educate, inform and entertain"

    1. dogged

      Re: Institutional Arrogance.......

      The "we're not telling you who made our Climate policy" kerfuffle aside, I disagree.

      Newsnight pulled a report based on not enough evidence. Instant shitstorm. Newsnight then ran a report with a similar amount of evidence (ie, allegation only) which turned out to be incorrect (as, until a courtroom gets to hear it, the Savile report still may) and lo! Instant shitstorm.

      You'd almost think that maybe other media had some kind of reason to want the BBC to look bad....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Institutional Arrogance.......

        At least the first (pulled) report produced by Merion Jones about the school where his estranged aunt was head teacher contained allegations from several women, admittedly with little hard fact, collaboration, or investigation to back up the statements. Poor journalism but caught in time. The second one was downright hopeless journalism partly outsourced to journalist Angus Stickler already known for bogus claims, featuring minimal research and a 'witness' with a long track record of discredited statements in and out of court. Incompetence of the highest order and all self-inflicted by the BBC.

        Sure the BBC are under full attack from the gutter press and the tiresome 'no more TV license brigade' but can't blame the Daily Mail etc. for this crass stupidity.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Institutional Arrogance.......

        The "we're not telling you who made our Climate policy" kerfuffle aside, I disagree.

        There is also the F1 fiasco where they did a dirty underhand deal with Sky and the FIA, tried to tell us all it was in our best interests, then stifled and censored the ensuing shitstorm of complaints.

        Or the way they spent £1bn on their new headquarters, justifying it by claiming it would save costs.

  11. John G Imrie

    What ever the failing of the BBC ...

    while Paxo and Humphrey's can still slowly grill the DG over his apparent failings I'll support them.

    I'll also take Fox News seriously, the day Rupert Murdock and Rebecca Brooks are questioned live on what they knew about phone hacking at the NotW.

  12. GougedEye


    How is it that a serious question of how JS managed to get away with some serious abuse for decades has been completely overshadowed by the media and politicians scramble to collect some scalps at the Beeb. I'm fascinated to see what sort of behavior this is going to drive at the BBC in future. Probably a complete aversion by editors to to be seen anywhere near even the most vaguely controversial topics. Celeb gossip and football scores will be pretty much it as far as journalism goes.

    Murdoch & Co must be grinning from ear to ear as they put the boot in though.

  13. JaitcH

    Tory 'Get Even' time

    The BBC has an enviable world-wide reputation that should be damaged by some a*se-wipes from Downing Street.

    The BBC belongs to the citizens of the UK, and is NOT a political football.

    1. Subtilior

      Re: Tory 'Get Even' time

      It possesses a monopoly on the right to tax the ownership of televisions within the UK. While that remains the case, it is and must be a political football.

  14. This Side Up


    Bring back Greg Dyke.

  15. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    So instead of being taken to the cleaners, they were sent to the tailors (savile row)

    1. iamzippy

      Hey, I see what you did there...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The BBC is out of control. They destroyed F1 and with the savings bought 'The Voice' a clone of the x factor. How is that value for money? Kill off an award winning program, sell out to Sky then buy crap. Then black out the outrage that it caused by not reporting it on their news programs. Something needs to change at the BBC soon. I can't complain. I gave up paying them a penny after the above. Writing in the complain does nothing but supply them with toilet paper.

  17. cortland

    But where's my

    shortwave programmes?

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