Tim Davie

BBC Director-General Tim Davie on Freely and future-proofing the BBC

BBC director-general Tim Davie sits in a chair and gestures with his hand

Another week, another BBC media storm. As allegations of rape and other forms of sexual abuse emerged against Russell Brand, a former Radio 2 and Radio 6 Music presenter who resigned in 2008 following a prank phone call to actor Andrew Sachs, the BBC’s Director-­General, Tim Davie, once again found himself having to defend the corporation’s culture.

UK Keynote: Tim Davie, Director-General of the BBC | RTS Cambridge Convention 2023

In conversation with Kate Bulkley, Tim Davie, the BBC Director-General, expands on the corporation’s digital future and its Value for All strategy as well as its approach to AI.


  • Kate Bulkley, Business Journalist


  • Tim Davie CBE, Director-General, BBC

The session was part of the RTS Cambridge Convention 2023, with Principal Sponsor Channel 4. The convention took place on 20 - 21 September at King's College, Cambridge.

Leading the UK into digital, speech by BBC Director-General Tim Davie

Tim Davie, Director-General of the BBC (Credit: RTS/Paul Hampartsoumian)

Good morning. Today, 100 years and 23 days after the first BBC broadcast, I want to talk about choices. Choices for us all. 

Choices that have profound consequences for our society; its economic success, its cultural life, its democratic health. Our UK and its essence. Of what we hand to the next generation. Of growth. 

Choices that concern not just the role of the BBC, but something bigger. About whether we want to leave a legacy of a thriving, world leading UK media market or accept, on our watch, a slow decline.  

BBC Director-General Tim Davie on funding, impartiality and social exclusion

Session chair Amol Rajan: Is the licence fee the least bad option for funding the BBC?

Tim Davie: Yes…. If you believe in universal broadcasting… the licence fee, for all its problems, [has] enabled a few things: the BBC has been able to keep [to] its mission, it’s kept us independent [and] impartial; and it provides a certainty of funding in the medium term….

A new era for BBC News

Deborah Turness (Credit: ITN)

You could almost feel jaws dropping when it was announced last month that the pioneering Deborah ­Turness had been appointed the new head of BBC News. Turness, 54, had only recently got her feet under the table as ITN’s third CEO in as many years. Why would she give up this plum position – ideally suited to her skills at the company where she originally made her name – to take on the multiple challenges of running BBC News?