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Friday, 7 September, 2001, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
Scientist 'joins' race for BBC chair
Sir Christopher Bland
Sir Christopher Bland moved to British Telecom
The former chairman of the British Library has emerged as a candidate for the chair of the BBC, according to reports.

The Times newspaper reports that scientist Dr John Ashworth, a non-executive director of Granada Television, has made the shortlist of five people for the top position at the corporation.

Interviews for the job are due to take place by the end of this month to replace Sir Christopher Bland, who became chairman of British Telecom.

It is thought that Mr Ashworth will line up alongside broadcaster David Dimbleby, former Channel 4 chief executive Michael Grade, BBC vice-chairman Gavyn Davies and former Leader of the House of Lords, Baroness Jay.

Lady Jay
Baroness Jay believes she "fits" the criteria for the job

No mention is made in The Times' shortlist of Lord Taylor of Warwick, who recently put his name forward for the job with a scathing attack on the BBC, calling it "dull" and "overrun with clone-like young ladies".

Mr Ashworth was chairman of the British Library from 1996 with John Eatwell taking over on 1 September 2001.

Chief scientist

The 62-year-old biochemist was educated at Oxford and Leicester universities before joining the teaching profession as a reader at Leicester University and a professor biology at Essex University.

He was seconded to the Cabinet Office in 1976, becoming its under-secretary and chief scientist to the Central Policy Review Staff in 1979.

He then became vice-chancellor of the University of Salford before joining the London School of Economics as director.

Michael Grade
Michael Grade was formally chief executive of Channel 4
He has been an non-executive director at Granada since 1987.

The BBC advertised the position for chairman publicly for the first time this year.

The idea was to broaden the shortlist of candidates from which the eventual successor is chosen, but the final choice will still be a matter for the government.

The government advises the Queen, who will make the formal appointment.

See also:

31 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
Lady Jay applies for BBC post
26 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
BBC chairman to step down
26 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Gavyn Davies: The socialist millionaire
14 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
Tory wants to chair 'dull' BBC
31 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
Baroness Jay's political progress
25 Jun 99 | BBC after Birt
Careful selection at the top
10 May 99 | UK Politics
Baroness Jay answers your questions
26 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
The BBC's watchdogs
25 Aug 00 | UK
The Board of governors
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