Daily Mail

New BBC boss must de­liver real re­form

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COULD it be that the BBC fi­nally has a di­rec­tor-gen­eral pre­pared to lis­ten to his core au­di­ence?

On his first day in the job, the noises com­ing out of Broad­cast­ing House about Tim Davie were cer­tainly en­cour­ag­ing.

In a Mail poll last week­end, the pub­lic gave a sear­ing ver­dict on the cor­po­ra­tion – on its in­sti­tu­tional po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness, Left-wing bias, bloated man­age­ment and grossly over­paid stars.

Most damn­ingly, half the coun­try be­lieves the BBC no longer rep­re­sents their views. For a na­tional broad­caster, that is a dis­as­trous disconnect.

So it was hugely grat­i­fy­ing that, according to sources, Mr Davie has spo­ken of the ur­gent ne­ces­sity for re­form.

He made clear that BBC man­agers would have to jus­tify their roles or be axed. And he is de­ter­mined to tackle im­par­tial­ity, warn­ing jour­nal­ists that if they want to voice their po­lit­i­cal prej­u­dices, they must do it some­where else.

So far, of course, th­ese are just words. Mr Davie wouldn’t be the first DG to come in with a host of good in­ten­tions, only to be cap­tured by the cor­po­rate BBC ‘Blob’ and for­get his re­form­ing zeal. But this re­ally is a wa­ter­shed mo­ment. Non-pay­ment of the li­cence fee is likely to be de­crim­i­nalised soon and there is a huge back­lash against the de­ci­sion to force over-75s to pay it.

In­deed, the ques­tion of whether the fee can be jus­ti­fied at all in this multi-me­dia age can’t be dodged for much longer.

There is still a great reser­voir of af­fec­tion for the BBC around the coun­try. But with its po­lit­i­cal par­ti­san­ship and metropoli­tan ob­ses­sions that reser­voir is fast evap­o­rat­ing.

It must re­con­nect with its au­di­ence – and quickly. Or demands to scrap the li­cence fee al­to­gether will be­come ir­re­sistible.

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