It is one year on from one of the biggest and most controversial shake-ups in BBC history – the £400m formation of BBC Studios. Now, the BBC is ruffling feathers again as it merges this recently created commercial production division with BBC Worldwide to create a single company with revenues of £1.4bn.
If Mark Linsey is intimidated by the thought of launching one of the most far-reaching and challenging reforms in the BBC’s 90-year history he is not letting on.
He must be used to dealing with fragile egos and temperamental types from the showbiz end of TV – for seven years, he ran BBC Entertainment. But, compared with getting BBC Studios up and running as a successful commercial entity, keeping high-profile, high-earning stars happy must be a breeze.
On the eve of the Apocalypse, the Antichrist goes missing.
Good Omens is a humorous depiction of the Apocalypse and a modern day world where everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon - both of whom have lived among Earth's mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle - are not actually looking forward to the coming war.
Mark Linsey’s career in television has progressed from producing An Audience with Freddie Starr to the heady heights of running BBC Television. As Acting Director of Television – following the abrupt departure of Danny Cohen – Linsey finds himself playing a critical part as Charter renewal gathers pace.
Ask how an executive with 30 years in entertainment shows might play such a crucial role, and this safe pair of hands reaches for the word “distinctive”.
Today, I want to talk about one thing: content, programmes – the reason we’re all here. In this country we have a really vibrant creative ecology of broadcasting. It’s a great national success story.
But the question I want to talk about this afternoon is whether one part of that ecology will continue. Will we carry on making content to the degree and quality that we do now?
I’m concerned that, in all the arguments and debate about the BBC’s Charter, in a decade’s time we might look back and say that we missed something crucial – a big trend.
This debate directed a timely spotlight on the different models of running television studios in the UK and the US – the pros and cons of growing by acquisition or organically, and the issue of how to ensure studios are successful, both financially and as creative hubs.
For an insight into the day job of the BBC Director-General two years into his role, I pop into Tony Hall's plate-glass eyrie at New Broadcasting House. I arrive in the aftermath of one of the regular encyclicals that DGs dispense.
He's sung the praises of the BBC's place in a "thriving, free and competitive market", an alternative to what a colleague terms the "Joni Mitchell" school of heartstring-tugging about the Beeb's innate brilliance.