Sorry to sound the Top Gear klaxon again today, but the BBC has just made an announcement that nobody expected, revealing that the Chris Evans-fronted version of the show opened it up to a wider global audience than Jeremy Clarkson s.It's probably all down to the move away from racist jokes.I am very happy with programme sales, said BBC Worldwide chief executive Tim Davie.Chris Evans Top Gear has sold into over 130 territories which is very strong and marginal growth versus the previous season.It is absolutely the case I think that Top Gear remains in very good health.It is a work in progress and we will have to see how it goes.
Sorry to sound the Top Gear klaxon again today, but the BBC has just made an announcement that nobody expected, revealing that the Chris Evans-fronted version of the show opened it up to a wider global audience than Jeremy Clarkson s.It's probably all down to the move away from racist jokes.I am very happy with programme sales, said BBC Worldwide chief executive Tim Davie.Chris Evans Top Gear has sold into over 130 territories which is very strong and marginal growth versus the previous season.It is absolutely the case I think that Top Gear remains in very good health.It is a work in progress and we will have to see how it goes.
Here s something you probably didn t expect to read today: The BBC is claiming the new series of Top Gear is proving a bigger hit than the Jeremy Clarkson-hosted series... at least globally.The BBC says that despite its awful ratings performance domestically, the Chris Evans-fronted series has performed better globally than it s predecessors.The chief executive of the for-profit BBC Worldwide division says it has been sold into over 130 countries around the world, beating previous the series.I am very happy with programme sales, said Tim Davie via Guardian .Chris Evans s Top Gear has sold into over 130 territories which is very strong and marginal growth versus the previous season Clarkson s last .See also: Top Gear is coming to Netflix
The BBC receives £3.7 billion $4.9 billion in public money through the UK television licence and is under constant pressure to be transparent about the way this cash is spent.It is why, on Tuesday, the broadcaster released its annual avalanche of financial information in the form of its annual report.The figures are poured over by journalists and, very often, executive pay is thrust into the spotlight.This year's annual report showed that the pay of the BBC's top management board rose 2.2% to £3.73 million $4.9 million in the 12 months to March 2016.This was largely the result of a £224,000 $297,000 bonus for Tim Davie, the chief executive of the BBC's commercial arm BBC Worldwide.The BBC's total wage bill was also up.The corporation's 19,000 staff took home £990 million $1.3 billion in 2015/16, a 1.3% increase on £977 million $1.3 billion the previous year.Eleven of the BBC's top team earn more than double than the £143,462 $190,000 Theresa May will take home every year when she becomes the British Prime Minister on Wednesday.This ranking was compiled using figures from the BBC's 2015/16 annual report and quarterly pay information published by the BBC.
Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice president for EMEA, has announced she will be stepping down as co-chair of the Creative Industries Council (CIC) after more than five years in the role.Mendelsohn named has her successor as BBC Studios' chief executive, Tim Davie, at the CIC’s Createch event this morning (12 June).Mendelson was named co-chair of the council in November 2012.She chaired her first meeting with the group in January 2013.Her last co-chairs were culture secretary Matt Hancock and business secretary Greg Clark.The VP revealed her diagnosis of blood cancer in February this year.
Morale is at an “all-time low” among Black BBC staff who were banned from publicly supporting Black Lives Matter but watched on as their employer defended its use of the N-word.The latest revelation regarding Black staff at the corporation follows a string of worrying accounts of “institutional racism”, bullying and a “glass ceiling” published by HuffPost UK on Friday after dozens of interviews.As a result of our investigation, Bectu, the largest union at the BBC with thousands of members, said it would be taking up the matter with incoming BBC director general Tim Davie.Responding to claims of “institutional racism”, the broadcaster has said: “The BBC is absolutely clear that we are an inclusive and welcoming organisation and we are saddened if anyone is experiencing any form of discrimination at work.“That is why, as an organisation, we have put so much effort into ensuring that we have robust processes in place for staff to raise complaints which will be dealt with the utmost seriousness.”Part One Exclusive: BBC Staff Accuse Corporation Of Being 'Institutionally Racist' We spoke to workers in the wake of the corporation’s eventual apology for the July 29 N-word use, which racked up 19,000 complaints in days.Social affairs correspondent Fiona Lamdin used the slur while quoting a racist attacker in Bristol.The BBC eventually bowed to public pressure and apologised after first claiming the use of the word was “editorially justified”. By this time popular 1Xtra presenter DJ Sideman publicly resigned in protest and a string of other journalists and broadcasters had publicly condemned its employers’ use of the word and refusal to apologise.Just three days after the incident, the BBC aired a repeat of a 2019 documentary in which historian Lucy Worsley also used the slur uncensored as she quoted the assassin of Abraham Lincoln.Worsley later apologised on Twitter and the BBC, after receiving more than 100 complaints, said in a statement: “We understand and we are sorry for any distress caused to any of our audience by language included in the programme.“We recognise it is an offensive term and one that is rarely included in our output.”In the wake of both incidents, the broadcaster promised that it will be “strengthening guidance on offensive language“.Black Lives Matter backlashThe murder of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of US police officers in June, and the subsequent wave of Black Lives Matter protests, have amplified concerns about racism and lack of diversity within workplaces in both Britain and America.The BBC tailored extensive programming to discussions around Floyd and racism via special editions of 1Xtra Talks, re-runs of popular Black shows on television and £100m worth of funding to reflect more diverse audiences.Like George Floyd, Black BBC staff feel like management’s knee is on our necks.A BBC source.But in an email to staff, the broadcaster told its employees not to publicly back Black Lives Matter on social media or at protests in case “it undermines public trust”. The organisation also warned TV presenters and guests not to wear the Black Lives Matter badge.In a private Zoom call, leaked to HuffPost UK in June, staffers expressed concern about being banned from attending Black Lives Matter protests.One employee said: “Last year I went to Manchester Pride and there was a huge BBC cohort on a float and, to me, that’s a campaign. LGBTQ Pride is a campaign and I could go to Pride with my lanyard and my BBC shirt and be proud of who I am. But if I go to a Black Lives Matter protest, I could be sacked.“I really don’t get the disconnect – either we do campaigns or we don’t. And in my opinion a Black Lives Matter campaign is just as important as an LGBTQ campaign.”Someone else said: “Recently there have been quite a few sessions involving senior management and the use of the hashtag Black Lives Matter. Some of the criticism coming from senior management was that it’s connected with a specific movement and compared it with Extinction Rebellion. Honestly I find that comparison very myopic and narrow minded; ER is a disruptive fringe movement which appeals to a very specific crowd while Black Lives Matter has now gone way, way beyond a specific route – it’s become a universal theme.”Staff also told HuffPost UK the BBC’s diversity funding and early show of sympathy with the Black Lives Matter campaign were superficial and that the reality for Black staff within the organisation remained grim.The BBC maintains it is not impartial on racism but also insists it is “not a campaigning organisation”. A spokesperson said: “Opposition to racism is a fundamental democratic principle, reflected, for example, in the fact that incitement to racial hatred is a criminal offence in the UK. It is therefore fully consistent with the BBC’s editorial guidelines.“While the BBC is opposed to racism, it is not a campaigning organisation. Campaigns frequently advocate for legitimate social or policy change. However, the BBC must retain its independence in relation to them. This is why BBC presenters cannot wear campaign badges or insignia on air – and this is nothing new.”One source, A, who has worked there for more than a decade, told HuffPost UK: “Like George Floyd, Black BBC staff feel like management’s knee is on our necks and they’re stopping us from exposing the rot that’s going on inside these walls.“Staff are scared because we’re in a position wherein we’re not allowed to bring the organisation into disrepute. We aren’t allowed to talk about the news and the scandal that’s going on in our building. That’s scandalous.“If you look at the way the BBC deals with claims of racism and the way that the staffing is – there aren’t that many people of colour in key departments or at senior levels – then without a doubt the BBC is institutionally racist.”Naga Munchetty sagaSource A said staff morale was at rock bottom following the scandal last year of BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty being sanctioned for criticising racist comments made by US president Donald Trump.Complaints had been made about both Munchetty, who is of Asian descent, and her white co-host Dan Walker. But only Munchetty was penalised, prompting accusations of racial bias against the BBC.BBC director general Tony Hall eventually stepped in to overturn the ruling against Munchetty, who had been found to havebroken the broadcaster’s editorial guidelines.Prior to the U-turn, more than 50,000 people signed a petition calling for the organisation to reverse its judgement.“Morale is as low as it can get. Since George Floyd’s death, staff are now speaking up about their experiences of racism at the BBC more than they used to – but outrage has been felt since the Naga Munchetty saga last year and that’s when to a large extent Black and brown people started speaking like never before,” Source A said.“There was scepticism around measures such as BBC spending £100m on diverse programming.“The sad thing with the N-word is that Black and brown staff are saying nothing has been learned; the BBC had all of these listening sessions after George Floyd’s death where staff were invited to talk to management to tell them how they were feeling about racism. “It seems like everybody had a story to tell about racism at the BBC. The outpouring was unbelievable – there were tears. The stories you heard behind closed doors – staff were sharing these not just in WhatsApp groups, but in listening sessions with other staff, and telling management what they’ve been through.“So, we thought there was going to be a change moving forward. Management were saying for the first time: ‘We hadn’t realised things were so bad.’“Then the N-word has now shown us that those were just words.”The source said further angst was created whenstaff were informed in email from Kamal Ahmed, editorial director at BBC News, that all use of racially insulting language in news and current affairs would mean a mandatory referral to Fran Unsworth, the director of BBC News.A spokesperson told us: “The BBC is not impartial on racism and this is fully consistent with the BBC’s editorial guidelines. In recent weeks we have announced a four-point plan to improve our approach on the use of racially insulting language. We will continue to listen and learn.”Diversity crisisSource B is another Black BBC staffer. They told us: “When the big issues like Naga-gate and the N-word happen, the one thing you find yourself wondering is: ‘Why have I not heard from my line manager?’“Why is Kamal Ahmed always the one to apologise or make the speech when these things happen? He doesn’t make the decisions which led to those scandals. “I want the real power brokers to come and give us an account for why they made those decisions. And that’s a really big problem; they get the person of colour to be an apologist for all the decisions they make around Black audiences.“I can’t speak for Kamal but if I was in that position I’d feel like an idiot. I’d feel like I’m being used for that agenda of pacifying when it comes to issues affecting Black audiences.”On the other hand, June Sarpong, the corporation’s new head of diversity, has faced criticism for not commenting at length on the N-word issue. In a tweet on August 13, Sarpong wrote: “FYI: News does not fall under my remit.”August 6th. FYI: News does not fall under my remit.— June Sarpong OBE (@junesarpong) August 13, 2020Marcus Ryder, acting chair of the Lenny Henry Centre for Diversity and former BBC executive, said: “Every Black person thought there needs to be somebody at the BBC who has diversity in their title who should be speaking out and representing them when it comes to the N-word. People assumed that was June. Now we’re floundering around, we don’t know whose position that is.”Ryder said the BBC’s figures show it fails to promote and retain Black people – and the corporation should welcome outside scrutiny in order to make improvements.“The BBC at its best is brilliant at self analysis,” he said. “I remember really clearly when George Entwhistle, who had only been director general for 50 odd days, went and got interviewed on the Today Programme. They had an approach of holding power to account irrespective of if the power was the BBC.“The BBC to its credit was like: ‘If we want other powers – like the government and other public bodies – to be liable and held to account, we must do the same.’ Entwhistle subjects himself to be interrogated by the BBC’s journalists; hours later, he resigned because of that interrogation. That’s the BBC at its best; holding power to account without fear nor favour, the BBC realising it needs to be held to account.“What you have here with the N-word is the BBC saying: ‘We will not be held to account. We will not subject ourselves to our editorial reasoning. We will not be questioned.’ This is the BBC at its worst. I say this as a massive fan of the BBC.”Another source added: “The audience are going – not just the young but even the middle aged Black and brown audiences are going elsewhere for their news and entertainment.“Places like Netflix, YouTube – you’ll find programmes that reflect people that look like you.”They added: “I’m sad to say that in five to 10 years from now, the BBC will be on its back foot even more so and in steep decline.”A BBC spokesperson said: “We have a zero-tolerance approach to bullying and harassment – of all kinds – at the BBC and have recently strengthened our approach to ensure staff can come forward.“The BBC goes further than any other broadcaster by publishing diversity data annually, including for leadership positions. We have already achieved our 2020 target on 15% Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff across our workforce. We know there is more work to do on improving diversity at leadership levels across the BBC and we are fully committed to achieving this.“This summer we set a new mandatory 20% diverse off air talent target in all new network commissions from April 2021, and a prioritisation of £100m of our existing commissioning budget over three years towards diverse and inclusive content, with £12m for radio.”Related... Exclusive: BBC Staff Accuse Corporation Of Being 'Institutionally Racist' Leading Broadcasting Union Will Write To BBC Over Staff Claims Of 'Institutional Racism' BBC Says 'Rule Britannia!' To Remain In Last Night Of The Proms Black Professionals Call For 24-Hour BBC Boycott Over N-Word Use
Sara Cox has sought to put rumours she’s “drifted apart” from Zoe Ball to bed. The Radio 2 DJs were close pals back in the late 90s and early 00s, regularly spotted out partying on the notorious London club scene together. In recent years, the pair have been plagued by rumours about the state of their friendship, especially after Zoe was announced as the new host of the Radio 2 Breakfast Show – a gig some listeners had lobbied for Sara to land. However, Sara has now insisted they’re still in regular contact, telling The Mirror: “I always have to be careful what I say about Zoe because it always sounds like we’ve drifted apart, big drama, high hell and it’s just not.“We’ve always supported each other, we just live quite far away from each other.“We were friends and were out partying and then, you know, kids and life kind of happened. But it’s true that we text each other quite a lot now.”Sara, who now hosts Radio 2′s drivetime show, continued: “We both got to interview Dolly Parton last week, so obviously we were saying how lucky we are. We have the best jobs in the world.“And I’ll text if she’s said something funny on the show and she’ll text if she’s listening at tea time.”Sara added that she and Zoe also enjoy regular Zoom calls with the other Radio 2 DJs. Both presenters previously hosted the Radio 1 Breakfast Show – Zoe from 1998 until 2000 and Sara from 2000 until 2003.After Zoe was announced as Chris Evans’ successor on the Radio 2 Breakfast Show in 2018, she attempted to play down the supposed rivalry between her and Sara. “We spoke a lot during the whole process. We’re old buddies and we’ve always been really supportive of each other,” she told Radio Times. “Sometimes she gets jobs I’ve wanted. We always talk. It worked out.”READ MORE: BBC Boss Defends Gary Lineker And Zoe Ball's Million-Pound Salaries Zoe Ball And Norman Cook Reunite As They See Their Son Off To University Zoë Ball Reflects On The '90s And Her 'Ladette' Reputation Ahead Of New Breakfast Show Gig
The BBC has been forced to clarify that its staff can attend Pride events – but only if they “do not get involved in matters which could be deemed political or controversial”.It comes after the broadcaster launched new so-called impartiality guidelines for its workforce, saying they should not attend “public demonstrations or gatherings about controversial issues” even in a personal capacity. BBC employees told The Guardian they had been instructed that Pride marches would be included in this ban.But in a note from director-general Tim Davie sent to senior staff at the corporation on Friday morning, colleagues were told that there is no ban on attending Pride parades if it does not bring the BBC into disrepute. Staff who work in news and current affairs, factual journalism and senior leaders are free to attend events that are “clearly celebratory or commemorative” and “do not compromise perceptions of their impartiality”, Davie explained.The internal note read: “If news and current affairs staff are participating in such events they must be mindful of ensuring that they do not get involved in matters which could be deemed political or controversial.“There is no ban on these staff attending Pride events. Attending Pride parades is possible within the guidelines, but due care needs to be given to the guidance and staff need to ensure that they are not seen to be taking a stand on politicised or contested issues.”The latest information has been widely condemned as both confusing and disappointing.One BBC staff member told HuffPost UK: “I don’t have a problem with BBC staff being contractually obliged to be publicly party politically impartial, as civil servants are. What makes me uncomfortable about this stance on ‘impartiality’ that the updated guidelines take, however, is that it assumes a default, uncontroversial position which is the ideal – and which, by implication, is that of a cisgender heterosexual white person.“By instructing staff to ‘not express a view on any policy which is a matter of current political debate or on a matter of public policy, political or industrial controversy, or any other ‘controversial subject’ and then using the specific examples of ‘trans issues’ both online and at Pride marches, and of Black Lives Matter protests, as has been raised in meetings with managers, it is making what are markers of identity for so many BBC colleagues into political issues as well.“It feels like censorship to try and control how someone publicly expresses and discusses their markers of identity, especially when these characteristics have historically been – and still are – factors of oppression for so many people.”Staff were banned from attending Black Lives Matter protests over the summer, HuffPost UK revealed in August.Hugh Smithson-Wright, a restaurant PR consultant and LGBTQ+ rights activist, described the corporation’s Pride position as “awful”. “This is a heavily qualified clarification. What counts as a ‘politicised or contested issue’? The death penalty for homosexuality in Brunei? Surging state-sanctioned homophobia in Poland? Homicide rates for trans people of colour? All of these and many more are what Pride is about,” he told HuffPost UK.“Tim Davie seems to be saying: ‘You can attend a ‘Pride’ march if it’s one of those happy-clappy sanitised desexualised ones where being queer is only mentioned obliquely and doesn’t actually, y’know, protest anything.’ Awful.“It would be better if, rather than positioning events like Pride and BLM as being ‘politicised’, the BBC were to champion and actively encourage the attendance of its staff at them. It feels dangerously retrograde for the BBC, by implication, to position supporting equality as something that can be ‘contested’ – that just validates bigotry.”Peter Woodhouse, head of business sector at law firm Stone King, said there could also be potential legal claims for employers who try to restrict employees’ actions outside work. “This is a classic example of where society recognises competing rights. Here society would recognise a right to freedom of expression and association, but this could be pitched against the perceived benefit of the political impartiality of the BBC,” he told HuffPost UK.“The law and employers can struggle with this and much will depend on how firm the BBC will be in its enforcement. Ultimately, they might decide to dismiss someone and at the very least they will have to ensure that their policies are clear, up-to-date and applied consistently.“Their policies should specifically cover conduct outside work. Failures [to do this] in such areas could make a dismissal unfair.”Woodhouse added: “Further, I would anticipate claims for discrimination, for example, if the policy disproportionately impacts on someone from a particular race or ethnic origin. Such a measure must be justified and the reasoning behind it must be shown to be non-discriminatory. Here, the BBC’s reasoning is to prevent political bias and to ensure impartiality – however, consistency and proportionality in the application of the measure will be key to reduce the risk of potential discrimination claims.”As a result of the recent social media guidance from the BBC, the National Union of Journalists is calling for an urgent meeting with the director-neral.Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “Following the publication of the guidelines yesterday, the NUJ sought an urgent meeting with the BBC to address our members’ concerns about the changes which could constrain individuals’ ability to meaningfully participate and engage in issues that matter to them – whether that’s in their trade union, their communities or in events such as Pride.“The director general’s confirmation this morning that attendance at Pride would not be a breach is obviously welcome – that the clarification proved necessary shows that further clarity is needed.“It’s disappointing that there was no consultation with staff unions on these changes ahead of them being announced, and we’ll be raising all the concerns NUJ members and reps have shared with us when we meet the BBC.”Related... 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Nish Kumar has shared his thoughts on the BBC’s decision to axe the satirical comedy series The Mash Report.In March, it was confirmed that The Mash Report – hosted by Nish and featuring comedians like Rachel Parris and Ellie Taylor – would not be returning, with a BBC spokesperson stating that the decision had been made “in order to make room for new comedy shows”.They explained: “We are very proud of The Mash Report but in order to make room for new comedy shows we sometimes have to make difficult decisions and it won’t be returning.“We would like to thank all those involved in four brilliant series and hope to work with Nish Kumar, Rachel Parris and the team in the future.”At the time, several news outlets pointed out that the news came after reports in The Telegraph claiming the BBC’s newly-appointed director general Tim Davie was “planning to tackle perceived left-wing bias in the corporation’s comedy shows”.Davie later branded these claims “nonsense”, with Nish sharing his thoughts in a new interview with the Observer.Nish recalled that he found out about The Mash Report’s cancellation in an email from the controller of the BBC Two, telling him: “We don’t have the money, so we’re gonna move on.”The comedian told the Observer he took the decision in his stride, and when the subsequent reports emerged in the press about the reasons for The Mash Report’s cancellation, he received another email from the BBC urging him to “ignore the article, it’s all nonsense”.However, Nish has revealed he “pushed for a public clarification” from the BBC, saying: “There’s an important principle at stake. The story suggests a person’s political leanings can have a bearing on what they get to do on television, which is unacceptable.”He added that while he doesn’t believe Tim Davie was responsible for The Mash Report not coming back: “The concern for me is that it’s a useful myth for Tim Davie to have out there, because it placates the British right. It gives the sharks a bit of blood.“And when do sharks ever stop at a bit of blood? When do sharks ever say, ‘Thank you for the bit of blood. That was the perfect amount. Like tapas’?”He added: “If the BBC does not say something publicly to make it clear they were not reacting to the political content of the show, it will set a bad precedent. It may well stop people pitching new programme ideas. It is not about any reassurance they may have privately given me since.”A BBC spokesperson had no additional comment besides the original statement when contacted by HuffPost UK.The Observer also reported that production company Zeppotron is in talks with several broadcasters about potentially reviving The Mash Report on a commercial station.Although viewing figures for The Mash Report were usually around the one million mark, it did garner a loyal following during its four years on TV.It was also responsible for a number of viral clips, most notably a scene featuring Rachel Parris, which was titled How Not To Sexually Harass Someone.MORE TV NEWS:Alex Scott Shares Excitement After Football Focus News: 'May Just Let Out A Little Scream'Martin Bashir Quits The BBC On Medical Grounds Amid Investigation Into Diana InterviewBBC Issues Official Response After Complaints Over Prince Philip Funeral Coverage
The whistleblower who tried to expose Martin Bashir’s methods for landing his exclusive Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales has said he wants to “move on” after he received a personal apology from the director-general of the BBC.Graphic designer Matt Wiessler was sidelined by the corporation after raising concerns that fake bank statements he mocked up for Mr Bashir had been used by the journalist to persuade Diana to do the interview.Speaking after a meeting at the BBC where he received a personal apology from current director-general Tim Davie, he was asked why the apology was important to him.He told BBC News: “Because I still felt that to this day that the BBC were just saying things to sort of appease me but I have come away from it feeling no they really really they support me and they feel really genuinely want to, not help me, but clear up the past and start again on a sort of friendly relationship.”Asked about the prospect of being paid compensation, he said: “There might well be but I’m not involved in that and Tim and I have spoken about that quite openly, it’s sort of confidential but we very much both just want to move on.”A recent investigation by Lord Dyson into the interview criticised the methods Mr Bashir used to secure his bombshell 1995 Panorama interview.The report also suggested the BBC had failed to uphold “governance, accountability and scrutiny”.A BBC spokeswoman said of the meeting: “It was both constructive and positive, but as you’d expect, we are not going to get into the specifics of a private meeting.”READ MORE:Prince William and Prince Harry Blast BBC In Scathing Statements Over Martin Bashir’s ‘Deceitful’ Princess Diana InterviewMartin Bashir Used ‘Deceitful Behaviour’ To Secure Diana Panorama Interview, Report SaysWhy Was Martin Bashir's Bombshell 1995 Princess Diana Interview Under Investigation?