Murdoch’s son-in-law advising the new BBC chief

13 November 2012

8:46 PM

13 November 2012

8:46 PM

You have to hand it to Rupert Murdoch. The BBC is in turmoil and now being led by Tim Davie, its former audio and music chief whose journalistic experience does not even run to making cups of tea at the Scunthorpe Gazette. Mr Davie needs help, especially as he fancies his chances of keeping the top job. So who is he turning to? Mr Steerpike is reliably informed that he’s being advised by his old mate Matthew Freud. That’s right: Rupert Murdoch’s son-in-law.

Our dynamic duo has not had the best start. Yesterday, Mr Davie filmed a car-crash interview with Sky News in which he revealed that his broadcasting skills did not even extend to being able to look into a camera or even finishing an interview before walking off.


And his management skills? He sidelined BBC’s Head of News, Helen Boaden, and her deputy, Stephen Mitchell, following the furore about the Newsnight/Lord McAlpine story (which neither were involved in having recused themselves after the Jimmy Savile fiasco). Both are consulting their lawyers, having seen the jackpot that the BBC pays out when it screws up and panics.

Boden’s salary: £354,000. Entwistle’s payoff: £450,000. But the look on Rupert Murdoch’s face when he hears that his son-in-law is pulling the strings of the new, clueless BBC chief? Priceless.

UPDATE: The BBC confirms the friendship, but says the relationship is not professional. “Tim Davie has known Matthew Freud for many years. However, neither Tim Davie nor the BBC has engaged Matthew Freud to do any work or provide any advice whatsoever”. The key word is “engaged”. Mr Steerpike understands that Freud is not being paid for his advice, so he would not be formally “engaged”. The BBC, when asked to clarify, said only that it was “comfortable” with its line.

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Show comments
  • rndtechnologies786

    Good view.

  • Slidingwave

    The defence of Murdoch, Fox news, and the huge cost of Sky against the amazing quality and value for money offered by the BBC is a bit frightening. I don’t remember seeing too many resignations over phone hacking and the false accusations made against Chris Jefferies for the murder of Paula Yates.

  • Beleck3

    so Murdoch gets to influence the BBC. such a win. shows what happens when you go after Murdoch, payback for the sideshow earlier this year. the politicians in England are almost as bad as those in America. Alice in Wonderland there too.

  • Mike Spilligan

    Those who say that the BBC’s 40p a day is cheap aren’t making a fair comparison. That would be if we were forced to pay 12 months subscription in advance to The Guardian before we were allowed to buy the newspaper of our choice.

    • Slidingwave

      The Guardian for 7 days a week would add up to £438.00 pa . Radio 4 alone is worth the license fee of only 40p per day. A bit more thinking may be required..

  • milliboot

    Lets be honest, somebody needs to advise him. What did he think he was doing walking out of the car crash interview on Sky ? and why wasnt he given basic media training before he started doing interviews ?

  • Beast

    Why does journalistic experience seem to be necessary qualification to run the BBC, or is it just journaalistic ego that only this profession can save the world. Is it worth reminding the Spectator the Newsnight mess was the creation of the beebs top team of journalsits and their chain of command was ..oh yes “other senior journos – editors etc” . I’d rather see someone from the private sector who has made a success of their business running the BBC than another clueless journo.

  • Mike Waller

    This piece is so sloppy it could have been written by a Murdoch journalist. The problem was that Boaden and Mitchell were in limbo because of the Savile business. As a result, when the other story was up for consideration nobody seems to have been clear who to consult about what. Hence the great big journalistic cock-up. To avoid a repetition, as the Savile business has not yet been resolved, the acting DG has had Boaden and Mitchell stand aside so that the lines of command are again crystal clear. Sounds like sound management to me.

    I am a 68 year old pensioner with no journalistic experience and no magic connections to the BBC or anywhere else and was still able to work all this out for myself. You, dear Steerpike, seem to be some kind of journalist, One the basis the above evidence, having a non-journalist at the top of the BBC may well be a damned good idea!

  • Lord Brittan
  • Lord Brittan
  • AlfieJ

    Yes, George Entwhistle resigned didn’t he, no sign of James Murdoch doing the same when the hacking scandal started.

  • Earlshill

    Did Freud “help” his father-in-law’s companies deal with the phone hacking imbroglio? Not much success there, was there? Maybe he’ll do better this time…..

    • The Elderking

      I hope not….

  • LB

    Lets have Mudoch Junior as the next DG.

    I doubt we would have the head of comedy advising on how to break the law by being biased under that regime.

  • vix

    They shoot horses, don’t they? Please put the anachronistic, incompetent, money-wasting BBC out of its misery. Who will put it on their manifesto?

    • PartridgeT

      “Money wasting BBC”? I’d remind you that the BBC costs us 40p a day for which we get 9 TV channels, 10 radio stations, the iPlayer and an unrivalled website. This is less than buying the Daily Mail every day and significantly less than paying for the exorbitant Sky, and it is accountable to us and must fulfil its remit as a public service broadcaster which, by and large, it does.

      • McRobbie

        The BBC costs us £3.5 Billion a year, just because we are all FORCED to pay 40p a day in licence taxes does not mean it is providing value for money… for comparison if we were all FORCED to pay for the daily mail I bet it would cost considerably less than even 1p a day to keep us informed. I am sure you would strongly object to being FORCED to pay for what you clearly will consider is biased coverage of the news!!! so why should other people be treated differently when they object to the BBC biase that is evident to all…. which we are FORCED to pay for!

        • seriounsly?

          Not sure you read the thing right about the forcing? Nobody forces you.

      • Spencer Noble

        You arent forced to pay for Sky, or buy The Daily Mail.

        • seriounsly?

          You aren’t forced to watch the BBC … or pay for it.

          • The Elderking

            You are – mere ownership of a TV forces you to pay the licence fee – even if you consume NO BBC output.

            • seriounsly?

              Erm, right. And phones? and projectors? and tablets? Because we can get the TV everywhere now? Have a look at TVCatchup and …

              You’re saying every time I buy a smartphone, the government checks if I have a TV licence? Didn’t think so.

      • The Elderking

        Accountable to us…. Don’t make me laugh. Besides – If I chose to buy the Daily Mail, Guardian, Sky or whatever, I do so out of CHOICE!!!

        With the BBC I am forced to pay whether I watch it or not. Why should I be forced to pay for a left-wing, anti-British, multicultural cess pit of traitors to my people & culture?

        As a free man I deserve to be able to make my own choices in what media I consume.

        • Martin Baillie

          If the BBC does have a left-wing bias – which is debatable as both Labour and Tories complain of alleged bias – then this would surely be a good thing to balance the right-wing bias of our privately owned and right-wing favouring print news media.

          • Tim Reed

            The BBC is bound by it’s charter to be politically impartial as an entity in itself, not to balance out the British media in general.

          • Tim Reed

            The BBC is bound by it’s charter to be politically impartial as an
            entity within itself, not to balance out the British media in general.

            • Martin Baillie

              True, but as I said, both the political left-wing and the political right-wing regularly accuse the BBC of bias. A fair indicator its not biased. However, as I also said, if it was guilty of a left wing bias that would be as a result of its public service ethos, as opposed to the corporate, profit based ethos of most major media.

              • Tim Reed

                So it would be in the public good for the BBC to broadcast content that was deliberately biased to the left/Labour party? You have a strange concept of ‘public service’. Also – the reason that those corporate media groups have less of an obligation to be impartial is precisely because their income is based on profit from their customers, rather than enforced funding from tax payers.

        • PartridgeT

          What part of multiculturalism do you have a problem with, exactly?

          And precisely what is anti-British about the BBC, prey do tell because this sounds like the ramblings of a buffoon?

      • vix

        I understand the ‘value for money’ argument. It just is not providing value and still able to mug me if I own a TV set. It is not something I wish to buy.
        I would prefer to be required to pay the fee to al-Jazeera for its brilliant UK and worldwide coverage – to which many of the decent and BBC journalists have already run.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Bring back John Birt: and give him a chainsaw.

  • Polleetickle of twttr

    First impressions of Tim Davie are not ones that instill me with confidence.

  • Hilton Holloway

    This just gets better and better….poor old T’watson.

    • FrenchNews

      Add in the TwentyEightGate scandal and the climate change partisans and zealots it laughingly described as ‘best scientific experts’ brought in to trample on its impartiality charter, and the future surely looks a little murky over in BBC land?