Entertainment & Arts

Tony Hall: Reaction to new BBC DG

Tony Hall
Image caption Tony Hall is credited with rescuing the Royal Opera House from the brink of collapse

Media commentators have been reacting to the news that Royal Opera House (ROH) chief executive Tony Hall has been appointed the BBC's new director general (DG), following George Entwistle's resignation last week.

Charlotte Hall - arts blogger, the Guardian

He has the chops and he has the temperament: Tony Hall ought to be a brilliant director general of the BBC.

At the Royal Opera House, Tony Hall has transformed a deeply troubled organisation into a well-oiled machine. It now hits the headlines for the brilliance of its ballet and opera rather than for teetering on the brink of collapse.

As troubles go, the BBC is surely in more disarray than was even the opera house a decade ago. But, as a former BBC head of news, Hall more than knows the ropes.

Ian Burrell - media editor, the Independent

Tony Hall, the new director general of the BBC, ticks so many boxes for the job that it seems extraordinary that he has not been given the opportunity before.

At 61, Hall is 11 years older than his unfortunate predecessor George Entwistle and 15 years senior of the ambitious acting director general Tim Davie, who would no doubt have liked the job on a permanent basis. But Hall has demonstrated through his hugely energetic - and mostly scandal free - tenure at the Royal Opera House that he still has the stamina for his new position.

It is testimony to his love for the BBC that he was prepared to give up a job at Covent Garden that offered him an office overlooking the famous piazza and a working day spent in the company of divas, leading theatrical directors and prima ballerinas.

Jake Wallis Simons - the Telegraph

Tony Hall, the former chief executive of the Royal Opera House, is an excellent choice for DG.

He began his career at the BBC, rising to director of news in 1993; this gives him the experience and integrity to sort out issues of scandalous journalistic mismanagement.

There is only one fly in the ointment, however. In 2011, he became the highest paid chief executive leading a charity in the Britain. Given the scandal over the generosity of George Entwistle's severance pay package, and the revelation today that the BBC is also footing his legal bill, this will stick in the throat of the public.

The Spectator

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.

Here's what Tom Bower wrote about him last week: "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."

David Dimbleby - BBC broadcaster and Question Time presenter

A brilliant choice. It feels like being in the Royal Navy when they were told, "Winston is back!"

Simon Robey - Royal Opera House board of trustees chairman

I can think of nobody better able to bring stability back to the BBC. They see, as we do, his qualities of leadership and his depth of relevant experience.

Tony has been a truly distinguished chief executive of the Royal Opera House. He has been a tremendous and inspiring force for good. The ROH he will leave in March is very different to the one he took over in 2001.

Stewart Purvis - former ITN chief executive

The fact that we believe he didn't apply first time around made him a very good candidate second time around, because he wasn't in any way damaged by the first time.

I would guess that perhaps the BBC Trust made it clear they would really like him to have the job - and being a BBC man at heart it was difficult to resist the temptation to come back and help at a difficult time.

Steve Hewlett - media commentator

He brings weight, experience, and stability to the role. He's tough, he's fair but he's a collaborator.

Sir Christopher Meyer - former chairman of the Press Complaints Commission

On Twitter: Such an effusion of praise for Tony Hall, why didn't he succeed Mark Thompson in the first place?

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