James Purnell

The Bake Off debate boils over

Jay Hunt speaks to reporters after the RTS London Conference Session (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

James Purnell: ‘From a PSB perspective, we now see a real chasm between the way we are going to be regulated. 

‘The Charter agreement is a set of incredibly detailed guidance to Ofcom – children’s programmes, history, religion, current affairs, 100-plus quotas. 

‘We wouldn’t wish that on Channel 4, but, looking at what has happened with Bake Off, there is a huge difference between the way we are regulated, and… now there is a question about whether that is right. 

‘Channel 4’s lighter touch should be looked at.’ 

Who will own the future of television?

RTS Cambridge Session 1

Who will own the future – the broadcasters, the content owners or the global tech behemoths, such as Google, Facebook and Apple? The question is not new, but it is becoming ever more pressing for people in television.

James Purnell, the BBC’s Director, Strategy and Digital, led this comprehensive opening debate, “Happy Valley or House of Cards? Television in 2020”.

RTS Cambridge Convention 2015 programme announced

The preliminary programme for this year's RTS Cambridge Convention has been announced. 

The convention, held on a biennial basis, brings together leading figures from the television and its related industry.

This year's event looks forward to television in 2020, focusing on the challenge for content, creativity and business models.

The programme features sessions covering foreign ownership of UK production, the rise of the smart phone in television viewing, and the influence of talent in programme-making.

Profile: John Whittingdale

John Whittingdale

John Whittingdale is a conundrum. A politician who can seem old beyond his 55 years, he has been in Parliament since 1992, nine years longer than David Cameron. And, although only a few years older than his boss, Whittingdale’s style and political heritage are soundly late-Thatcher era, with a voting record that is pro-fox hunting and anti-gay marriage.

Yet, the freshly minted Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport also confounds stereotypes of the shire fogey with a mild interest in Gilbert and Sullivan.

Tony Hall: On a Rescue Mission

Tony Hall

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.