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Last Updated: Friday, 21 May, 2004, 21:06 GMT 22:06 UK
Thompson makes his BBC return
Pink sock
Mr Thompson's pink socks echoed Mr Grade's own colourful choice
Former Channel 4 boss Mark Thompson greeted reporters at a low key press conference as he took up the post of BBC director general.

Walking down the stairs with his former Channel 4 colleague Michael Grade, he entered the room confidently.

As the pair sat side by side, the charismatic colour of their socks signified the start of a perfect partnership.

Mr Grade broke the ice by apologising to reporters for delaying the start of their weekend.

He remained the dominant figure throughout the press conference taking to the stand first, before introducing Mr Thompson.

The former Channel 4 chief executive, on the other hand, chose to stay seated and seemed nervous and guarded at times as reporters put him on the spot about the damage caused to morale by the Hutton report and his sudden move to the BBC.

Journalistic standards

But Mr Thompson remained defiant by declaring that BBC News had "some of the highest journalistic standards in the world".

Michael Grade and Mark Thompson
Michael Grade introduced Mark Thompson to reporters

He refused to be drawn on his future plans at the BBC but he promised to take the corporation forward.

Staff greeted his new appointment with delight.

Bartol Brown, senior sound supervisor for BBC News, said: "I think his return to the BBC is excellent news.

"Channel 4 is one of my favourite channels and he has done an excellent job there.

"I hope he proves to be just as successful at the BBC."

The BBC's Nick Higham
"Many believe Thompson's heart lies at the BBC"



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