Tony Hall

John Whittingdale: 'There is absolutely no prospect of the BBC being abolished'

John Whittingdale (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

John Whittingdale was introduced by Convention Chair Tony Hall as “a rare beast, a politician who watches television”, and he began his speech by reminding delegates that, for him, this convention was no baptism of fire.

His first appearance at Cambridge came 12 years ago as Shadow Secretary of State for Culture; he had set up his own panel to review the future funding of the BBC. Then, as now, the corporation’s Charter and licence fee were the key issues on the agenda.

Culture Secretary launches review into BBC Governance at RTS Cambridge 2015

Former Deputy of the Bank of England, Sir David Clementi, will conduct the review. 

Introducing Whittingdale to an audience of senior television figures, BBC Director-General Tony Hall remarked, “John Whittingdale is one of those rare politicians who actually watched TV”.

In turn Whittingdale said he was ‘surprised’ that the Charter Renewal Green Paper was seen as a demise of the BBC:

Apprenticeships: why on-the-job training makes sense

When Tony Hall was appointed BBC Director-General, he pledged to widen the corporation’s recruitment net by ensuring that 1% of its public-service workforce were apprentices by 2016.

He reached the target two years ahead of schedule. By the end of 2014, 177 apprentices were employed across the UK in departments ranging from local radio to business management.

BBC apprenticeships last between 12 months and three years. Participants on the production scheme undertake placements on programmes in addition to training with the BBC Academy.

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.

BBC offers 5,000 digital traineeships to unemployed young people

Unemployed young people can benefit from the BBC’s new Make It Digital traineeship.

From today, 5,000 opportunities will be available in 60 locations across the UK to enhance young people’s digital and employability skills. 

Unemployed people aged 16 to 24 year olds and who have fewer than two A Levels can register their interest through their local Jobcentre Plus. 

BBC unveils new heritage trail

Tony Hall, Tess Daly, Bruce Forsyth, Claudia Winkleman and Tim Davie unveil plaque at Television Centre (Credit: BBC)

The BBC has created a heritage trail celebrating its landmark buildings in London.

Director-General Tony Hall and BBC Worldwide CEO Tim Davie were joined yesterday by entertainment legend Bruce Forsyth and Strictly Come Dancing presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman to unveil a heritage plaque at BBC Worldwide's new Television Centre headquarters.

Five further plaques will be unveiled at other London locations over the coming months, all recognising key moments in British broadcasting history.

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.

Why diversity makes business sense for TV

Making Diversity Pay

The economic arguments for diversity came under the microscope at a lively joint RTS/BBC session held at New Broadcasting House last month. The panellists agreed that, following years of inaction, broadcasters are finally making an effort to boost black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) represen­tation in television.