Great and the Good Jostle for BBC Sinecure

18 July 2001

The part-time position of chairman of the British Broadcasting Corporation's board of governors is up for grabs and the nation is enjoying the engaging spectacle of its betters elbowing each other off the ladder.

The current frontrunner, despite her familial impediment [daughter of former Labour prime minister Jim Callaghan] is Baroness Margaret Jay of Paddington, former Labour leader of the House of Lords.

Among those also known to be jostling for position are Gavyn Davies, BBC vice-chairman and author of a controversial report on the future funding of the publicly-owned broadcasting colossus; former Channel 4 chief executive Michael Grade; and Scottish Screen chairman James Lee.

However, many insiders believe the BBC chair – one of the most influential seats in British public life – does not yet have Baroness Jay’s initials engraved on its tooled leather back.

Although she is said to be backed both by prime minister Blair and Tessa Jowell, secretary of state for culture, media and sport, the final decision rests with the BBC board of governors whose track record suggests they do not take kindly to suggestions from above as to what they should or should not do.

News source: CampaignLive (UK)