Coffee House

Tony Hall appointed Director General of the BBC

22 November 2012

12:04 PM

22 November 2012

12:04 PM

It seems that Lord Patten has been reading the Spectator: Lord Hall, the BBC’s former director of news and the man who revolutionised the Royal Opera House, has been appointed Director General of the BBC, an appointment recommended by Tom Bower in last week’s Spectator Diary. The BBC Trust states that Lord Hall will take over in March.

Hall is a hugely respected figure. Here’s what Tom Bower wrote about him last week:

‘To avoid chaos, Patten cannot be fired without the government naming his successor. Step forward Tony Hall, the Royal Opera House’s chief executive. Hall was a respected editor of flagship broadcasting who resigned as the director of BBC News in 1999. Doubters should consider his success at Covent Garden and his rescue of the Cultural Olympiad from disaster. Hall knows how to rebuild a valuable institution mired by greed, stupidity and cowardice. Every crisis produces a solution. This one should not be wasted.’

You can read the rest of Bower’s analysis of the BBC’s trials, and therefore the struggles that Hall will face, here.

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Show comments
  • Hoot_Gibson

    I could not give a damn for this man or any other Liberal establishment appointee.
    What I really care about is to have the freedom of choice to receive BBC channels or not.

  • Daniel Maris

    This was an outrageous appointment. In what other walk of life are you allowed to ignore potential black and female candidates and appoint one of your old white male mates? It renders me speechless!

    I hope a few of them get together and sue the BBC because I very much doubt this appointment is legal.

  • Count Boso

    He could begin by finding out who is responsible for this item running on the BBC’s website

    This is headlined `How experts see UK role in EU’

    What follows are contributions from seven European politicians
    arguing that it would not be in the UK’s interests for us to withdraw.
    There is no countervailing opinion given.

    • mcclane

      It’s coming up with a 404 message

  • EC

    Frank P, formerly of this parish, would like to leave the following message:
    Message reads:

    “Frank P,November 22nd, 2012 – 18:23

    Does Fat Pang ever take his hands out of his pockets, these days? We all know what he is, but he doesn’t have to demonstrate it every time he appears on TV with a deft display of pocket billiards.

    Played safe with his pick, hasn’t he? Lord Birkenhead: luvvy and opera buff. Blerrrdy Hades! Really got the punters in mind, haven’t they?

    He commissioned that lefty extravaganza that opened the Olympics, too. Obviously Pang is getting all his ducks in a row – business as usual. The self congratulatory guff that spewed from the BBC’s front men today was a joy to behold. I’ll bet Jeremy Bowen climaxed – what with that and Hamas’s and the MB’s ‘successes’ in the ‘negotiations’. Orla Guerin will be back on her patch again soon no doubt. I wonder if either Pang or Birkenhead have ever read the ‘Biased BBC’ blog? Apparently the BBC’s ‘little glitch’ only started ‘a coupla months ago’. Ostrich (occasionally) – it seems they could teach you a thing or two burying heads in the sand.”

  • Judy

    Why would anyone think that Hall would change the BBC’s left wing bias? Hallo? He was once in charge of BBC News….

    The BBC on both World At One and the PM News programme has lined up people to gush over how totally wonderful and marvellous Tony Hall is at absolutely everything he touches. It was almost like hearing announcements of the second coming.

    Why do they feel it necessary to stage such grossly sycophantic slurping over the incoming boss? Could it be that they think they’ve found someone who’ll be a much more successful manager and communicator than Entwistle, but otherwise leave the whole BBC operation just as it was?

    It is really outrageous that one of the most senior and influential jobs in the country has been handed out without advertisement or interview by a discredited “Chairman of BBC Trust” on the basis of what he and his fellow establishment clique thinks of the man, with no objective test of what’s required for the post, and no opportunity for anyone else to demonstrate that they might be able to do the job better.

    So much for the BBC’s much vaunted principles. Horse laugh.

    • ButcombeMan

      It is not just outrageous, it is blatantly corrupt smug and self serving. An abuse of taxpayer’s money. No doubt this guy is “one of us”, well yes, of course.

      The BBC quite plainly needs a shake up and a top to bottom examination of what it does, why it does it, how it does it, where it does it, does it need to do it. All that, and, the need for all the multiple layers of evidently dysfunctional and grossly overpaid management.

      It does not sound as though this choice is going to be the person to do that.

  • T in Northumberland

    Another ‘independently left’ BBC DG. Personally, I am fed up and angry with the blatant lefty-bias of the Biased Broadcasting Corporation. Why should I pay my licence fee to a public service that leans heavily towards a Party that I don’t and never will vote for?

  • terence patrick hewett

    We really need to hang some of these swine.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Another smarmy arse licker.


    The fact that he has already been welcomed by so many in the BBC would suggest that they are comfortable that their precious “ethos” won’t be upset in the slightest, ergo, wrong appointment, but no surprises when it was Fatten doing the appointing.

    • salieri

      Your logic is faultless; but shouldn’t we wait and see before judging his calibre, his mindset or his intentions – let alone the anticipated bias? At the very least he might, unlike any predecessor in living memory, be someone who is capable of distinguishing between culture and popular culture. That would be no bad thing.

      • IRISHBOY

        He is an invisible presence at the Royal Opera House, and there is no denying that it is a brilliantly run institution with a very positive atmosphere and departments run by very bright people, so if he tackles head-on the problems at the BBC, so often talked of here, then everyone, inside and outside the BBC, will be surprised.
        The bias at the BBC I’m sure will come up again, but my observation of it is that it is more obvious in the questions they don’t ask.

  • Cirenvoice

    Did anyone bother to ask, in the unseemly rush, why this ‘Lord’ should be paid £450,000 a year? That’s 3750 licence fee payers’ money, the total licence fee revenue of a small town. Maybe the CMS committee ought to sit up and start asking questions. Pigs might fly.

  • Cirenvoice

    This seems to have been done with some haste, something of a stitch up. Hardly a transparent and open process. Sounds as though ‘Lord’ patten looked round the chamber for another ‘noble’ chum for preferment. Running an elitist operation like RoH is not at all the same as being responsible for an institution for which we are all obliged to pay. Sounds like his lordship is going to have an uphil struggle. we should have confirmation hearings.

    • Noa

      On the contrary, as we pay for them both, he’s well used to deploying public money for elitist benefit.

  • TomTom

    Transfer the BBC Sound Library and Archive to The British Library

  • Judy

    The next selection will be more open but cannot be entrusted to Patten, exposed as a flawed character.

    My understanding of Bower’s diary piece is that he was recommending Hall as Patten’s successor, not Entwistle’s. and Bower recommended Patten wasn’t involved in the new DG selection, as per quote above.

    Was the job publicly advertised? What were the criteria for appointment? Who acted as professional assessors? Who were the other candidates?

    Seems like a cosy fix to keep Patten & his fellow BBC Trust insiders in their cosy seats.

    • ButcombeMan


      You are the only commentator here who seems to understand this Fat Pang masterstroke, or even understood the thrust of Bower’s original article.. Patten was worried, as he ought to be, about his own gravy train & position. This appointment is surely mostly about him and self preservation, not the needs of the job.

      Patten should go because George’s failure was his failure.

      George, plainly out of his depth at this level, was Patten’s creature.

      After the Savile affair a modest risk assessment should have identified the next coming problem and snuffed it out.

      Patten should have helped George do that. Patten failed-disgracefully.

      This appointment sounds altogether, too cosy and too quick.,

  • toco10

    Hopefully apart from cutting out the dreadful left-wing bias in news and associated programming he will also stop hypocritical presenters avoiding millions in tax and National Insurance contributions the rest of us are obliged to pay.Perhaps Margaret Hodge should also investigate this blatant tax avoidance but I am not holding my breath.

    • GaryEssex

      But Enver Hodge is also allegedly associated with tax avoiding in reference to family firm Stemcor, in which she is a shareholder. See Guido. So she is hardly the correct person – despite being awarded a dubious gong yesterday by the Speccie.

    • ButcombeMan

      Very funny. I laughed out loud at your first line..

      This appointment is to preserve the status quo.

      Doubles all round.

  • In2minds

    Funny how the public played no part in this selection, after all the BBC is a public service broadcaster!

    • Baron

      and why should the public be involved?, the unwashed are needed only to fund the monstrosity, my blogging friend, for anything else they can go, take running jump.

    • HooksLaw

      Funny how the usual baying mob also said how wrong it was for the public to elect police commissioners.
      Funny how the defenders of the NHS were happy to perpetuate the appointees of the PCTs
      The BBC trust has appointees from the ‘public’ in the same way that PCTs had and police authorities had.
      This govt is creating a membership drawn from the public who will elect governors of the new NHS trusts. This did not stop widely engendered opposition to its reforms.

  • Stella Artois

    Seems rather though Tom Bower was suggesting (a) that Patten couldn’t choose the next DG and (b) Hall should become *Chairman* so he could choose someone else. So, yup, very prescient apart from being, er, not what happened at all 🙂

  • Noa

    If his appointment can wait four months its not going to make any difference on the corrupt lefty monolith. The current crap will have been swept under the carpet by then and normal service, biased and partial, long resumed under the aegis of Patten, possibly the greatest trougher of the modern era.

    • 2trueblue

      Anyone worth anything is not going to be available at a moments notice to fill the breach. I would be more worried if they could get someone to do it at a moments notice.

  • John

    Are you kidding? Neil may have been an outsider decades ago when he worked for Murdoch, but he’s definitely an old BBC hand now.

    • ButcombeMan

      Neil is also ruthless and does his homework. That is what was needed.

      The public would have had confidence in Neil.

      • Silverghost

        The only thing Brillo is ruthless about is making sure his interviewees don’t say two more words than him. He would crumble under the responsibility.

  • Vulture

    Her may be an efficient shiny-bummed seat polisher, but he’s still an old BBC hand and therefore suspect.

    They should have appointed Andrew Neil.

    The proof of the pudding will be if Hall turns the suspensions of Boaden and Mitchell ( toxic leftists both) into real sackings. I’m not holding my breath.

    • Baron

      Vulture, you point’s valid, but then it would have been hard to find anyone who speaks English, does journalism of any kind, and hasn’t been at one time or another through the agitprop of the giant ogre. Even if the new man sacks the two manipulators there are many others of the same hue.

      Only the breaking up of the BBC would do it, hiving off the soul engineering segment, letting it to find a place under the sun in the world inhabited by ordinary people..

      • telemachus

        See above response to Vulture
        You are guilty of right wing knee-jerkism
        Hall is a true scouser and will do right by his roots

        • Noa

          Better be prepared to check the tyres in the BBC executive car park then.

        • TomTom

          He’s a Pensioner……shouldn’t he be out of the workforce now ?

        • Hoot_Gibson

          You are so right he bought Gerry and the Pacemakers to the Royal Opera House to perform.

    • EJ

      It’s funny how they all look like exactly what they are: grey, dithering, slightly smug, overgrown schoolboy pen-pushers completely in the grip of leftist metropolitan group-think. This one just looks like Entwistle with hair. We have become a nation of weaklings governed by weaklings.

      • TomTom

        Feminised Culture epitomised by effeminate soft-spoken weak girlie men stuffed full of what Cecil rhodes called Unctuous Rectitude ands famed throughout the world as Effete Englishmen speaking Contingent Prose

        • EJ

          Couldn’t agree more TT. There HAS to be a backlash to all this.

          These feminised metropolitan lefties have been told since birth that being a white male makes you the root of all evil, a potential rapist, a
          colonial exploiter, a racist. They’ve been taught to believe that being a good modern man entails suppressing your masculinity and your strength and being “nice” and swallowing the leftist group-think.

          These people only exist because they rely on real men and women
          to keep them alive. They need women to rear and raise them, and they
          need men to fix their toilets, police their streets and defend their homes / borders from invaders.

          A civilization can only tolerate so much feminisation. As our society crumbles under the weight of its own stupidity, it won’t be men like this riding to our rescue.

          • Fergus Pickering

            What is this feminised stuff? What do you mean by it? Men need women to rear and raise them, eh? And women need men to fix heir toilets. Perhaps women might learn to fix toilets. But it is unlikely that men can learn to give birth. I think I’ll go with the women, ghastly as some of them may be. I think men who rant on like this are afraid they are not manly enough. But ranting doesn’t put hair on your chest, fellah. I think you are a closet homosexual, the sort that like muscled hairy men.who sweat all the time.

            • EJ


            • TomTom

              Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense

      • 2trueblue

        Lets hope he can get the songs right.

      • telemachus

        The press this morning decry him saying his stay at BBC news coincided with the period of the worst excesses of left wing bias at the BBC.
        He is an inspired appointment

    • ButcombeMan

      Another “Common Purpose” clone? It looks like it. On the same platform as Middleton.

      • foxoles

        God, how depressing that page is.

    • telemachus

      “Government sources have indicated that they expect Ms Boaden and Mr Mitchell to
      be forced out of the BBC as part of a new broom approach when the results of the
      Newsnight inquiry are known.”
      OK so you want the Government to call the tune at the BBC

      • Vulture

        I don’t care who sorts out the BBC Lefties, tele – the Tonton Macoute, the Iron Guard or the Spanish Inquisition – so long as someone does.

        • telemachus

          Your 3 solutions have much in common

          • Noa

            or organisations with which you can support without reserve:- the Cheka, the NKVD, Shining Path, the Khmer Rouge….

            • telemachus

              Only NKVD

              • Noa

                The NKVD, a refresher course, with a free Tokarov to every successful candidate.

              • TomTom

                You no doubt worship Vasili Blokhin Major-General NKVD and his relentless work for 2 months shooting Polish Officers in the back of the head at Katyn then……

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Oh, we’ve been all through Katyn with telemachus before, who still believes it was a German atrocity and refuses to read, let alone believe, recent Russian academic works on the subject using primary source documents. He asserts they are all forgeries and puts great store in the old ammunition argument with little or no understanding of the reality behind that. In fact, his is not a presence of argument or debate. He is in the business of appending parroted socialist soundbites to as many threads as he can, preferably at the top, and posting deliberate provocations, most of them inane.

                  He is one of those strange folk who romanticises the worst excesses of the old Soviet Union and probably wears a Lenin beard and one of those bolshevik caps. Britain has long been blighted by that sort. Bolshy by inclination and bolshy by manner.

                • telemachus

                  That was the SS
                  A vicious slur on the Russian people
                  The few Poles that Beria may have inadvertantly executed were thought by Stalin to have been sent to Siberia

      • TomTom

        Yes we need a Minister of State Broadcasting…….to make the BBC accountable to ELECTED representatives….there are plenty of private channels, but a State Broadcaster should “get with the programme”

    • ButcombeMan

      Quoting the BBC Trust :
      “The appointment was made following a direct approach from the BBC Trust
      to Lord Hall. The Trust did not approach any other candidates. Lord Hall
      did not apply for the job when it last became vacant as a result of
      Mark Thompson’s departure”

      As Knacker of the Yard would say, “looks like an inside job:..

      This is third world type corruption. Amazing that the Trust members do not appreciate how corrupt and corrosive this sort of thing is.

      • TomTom

        It is only corrupt to Outsiders…..Magic Circle cannot see what Outsiders see

    • redrum

      No, you’re wrong. We are ardent, but impoverished, opera fans. Tony Hall has done the MOST amazing job at the Royal Opera House, democratizing theatre going, bringing in a new dynamism and real sense of “life” to what was simply a venerable institution going nowhere fast. Even young people were turning up to the opera in numbers after a few years. Don’t write him off until we see whether he can do the same trick at the BBC

      • ButcombeMan

        But Hall’s fat salary at the ROH has been under attack recently. When one public trough looks dodgy, another must look atractive?

    • ButcombeMan

      It is suggested to me, that the suggestion of Andrew Neil absolutely scared the horses at the Beeb.

      Hence the rush maybe?

    • EC

      There’s an OBN waiting for you Vulture.