Radical Surgery Predicted for Britain’s BBC

06 December 2004

A mix of internal leaks from within the BBC - and the creative inspirations of journalists when hard facts remain under the wraps - has led to divinations of doom for up to twenty per cent of staff currently working for the UK's state owned broadcasting mammoth.

Although BBC director general Mark Thompson is not scheduled to reveal details of his restructuring plans until Tuesday, reporters have been trawling the media deeps for any rumour or speculative theory on which they can lay hands.

And since the horse's mouth remains resolutely closed, frenzied journos have sought their facts from "media executives outside the BBC", as the Sunday Telegraph had the refreshing honesty to admit.

In the opinion of these sapient external experts…

  • Job cuts could total 6,000 - marginally over 20% of the BBC's present 28,000 staffing level.

  • Thompson will announce a massive relocation of BBC staff, with "between 1,000 and 1,500" personnel shunted northward to Britain's second city, Manchester. The enforced emigration will include an entire digital television channel, likely one of the corporation's two kids' channels.

  • Programming policy will veer toward current affairs and sitcoms, both of which tend to be eschewed by the BBC's commercial rivals: ratings-apathetic in the case of the former; and financially risky with the latter

  • The review will also publish detailed plans for the sell-off of BBC divisions. Or possibly to convert them into joint ventures with commercial companies. Among the sacrificial lambs, are likely to be BBC Broadcast (charged with advertising BBC shows and technical services) and BBC Resources (studios and production facilities).

  • Or anything else that comes to mind.

    Data sourced from Telegraph.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff