Maverick: BBC’s Mark Thompson

Careful with that Axe, Eugene
June 1, 2008

Careful with that Axe, Eugene
Beeb DG Mark Thompson likely had telemarketers and insurance salesmen starting his car for him last year. After all, you can’t be too careful when you piss off that many public service employees.

In the fall, Thompson proposed a six-year scheme dubbed ‘Delivering Creative Future’ that promised to deliver a ‘smaller, but fitter, BBC.’ Smaller, as it turned out, by about 2,500 jobs.

The plan also committed the Beeb to 10% less production, news asset integration and the shedding of some BBC property, among other things. The move was made largely in reaction to a smaller-than-expected license fee, though some pundits said cuts were long overdue. Said pundits were then taken out and publicly beaten with ball peen hammers.

Perhaps hardest hit were the factual and news departments, with announced cuts seeing Vision offloading more than 600 jobs, and regional and national news about 900. The whole turn of events seemed somehow out of synch given that it came in the same year Auntie took a bow for such mammoth factual hits as Planet Earth.

But, in the spirit of fiscal responsibility, stay tuned for future landmark BBC series such as Planet Peeblesshire and What’s in David Attenborough’s Freezer?

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.