UK

Emergency measures to steady the BBC ship

  • 12 November 2012
  • From the section UK

An acting director general. An acting head of news. There's a joke going round that there's more acting in BBC management at the moment than in EastEnders.

But there is a serious point. What we are seeing at the moment is not the thorough structural radical overhaul promised by the BBC Trust but emergency measures to try and steady the ship.

The acting Director General Tim Davie knows the corporation cannot afford even the slightest stumble right now.

The immediate task is to ensure public confidence doesn't fall any further as the BBC endeavours to rebuild trust in the longer term.

Today's row over George Entwistle's pay-off is not what he needs.

When I met Mr Davie this afternoon I asked whether he had told the BBC Trust that it really doesn't help his hopes of restoring trust and confidence in the corporation to give the outgoing DG £450,000.

"I've been very clear it's a matter for the trust, it's not my decision," he said.

Mr Davie's every word and every move will be closely scrutinised, particularly by the BBC's enemies who want to exploit any vulnerability.

His inexperience in front of TV cameras has already led to a slightly clumsy appearance on Sky News.

But the bigger challenges are to come: Inquiry reports into mistakes made over the Savile scandal; disciplinary action against news executives.

He will need to maintain morale while taking tough measures.

It is one thing to talk about getting a grip, to talk about restoring trust and rebuilding confidence. Quite another to make it happen.