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Last Updated: Monday, 18 July, 2005, 10:11 GMT 11:11 UK
BBC heads top UK media power list
Michael Grade and Mark Thompson
Michael Grade and Mark Thompson helped secure the BBC licence fee
BBC director general Mark Thompson and chairman Michael Grade have topped a list of the most powerful people in UK media, beating BSkyB's Rupert Murdoch.

They jointly topped the Media Guardian 100 list after winning a bid to retain the BBC's licence fee, judges said.

Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies and Little Britain stars David Walliams and Matt Lucas also featured in the list.

The annual list ranks media professionals by cultural influence, economic weight and political power.

The judging panel said Thompson and Grade topped the list because plans to introduce external regulation to the BBC and to share its licence fee with other broadcasters were also rejected by the government in March.

MEDIA GUARDIAN 100
=1. Mark Thompson and Michael Grade, BBC director general and BBC chairman
3. Rupert Murdoch,
News Corporation chairman and chief executive
4. Charles Allen,
ITV chief executive
5. Tessa Jowell,
culture secretary
6. Steve Jobs, Apple Computers and Pixar Animation co-founder and chief executive
7. Kevin Lygo,
Channel 4 director of TV
8. Sir Martin Sorrell,
WPP group chief executive
9. Sergey Brin and Larry Page,
Google co-founders and directors
10. Paul Dacre, Associated Newspapers editor-in-chief
Source: Media Guardian
"This time last year commercial TV was on a roll and the BBC was at war with itself," a panel member said. "But it is now stronger than for a long time."

However, Mark Thompson faced criticism for plans to shed 20% of the BBC's workforce over the next three years to cut costs, which led to a 24-hour staff walkout in May.

Rupert Murdoch fell from the top spot into third place after his BSkyB empire and Sun newspaper faced "their most serious competition for years".

The BBC accounts for 16 executives on the list, including new BBC One controller Peter Fincham at number 12.

Rising 65 places, Mr Fincham is this year's joint highest riser along with Paul Abbott, the writer's of Channel 4's Bafta award-winning Shameless.

Presenters fell

Russell T Davies, the man responsible for the successful return of Doctor Who to BBC One after 16 years, is the highest new entry at number 14.

Little Britain creators Matt Lucas and David Walliams are joint new entries at 21, while presenters Jonathan Ross and Jeremy Paxman fell out of the list.

The nine-strong judging panel of industry figures included Lord Alli and Guardian columnist Mark Lawson.

Russell T Davies
Davies helped make Doctor Who a ratings success after 16 years
Meanwhile Michael Grade told Radio Times magazine that, without the licence fee, "you will not have the BBC you have now, where, with a secure income, every decision is made in the public interest".

"Not every decision is right, but they are not made with the interests of advertisers in mind, or the need to drive subscriptions because renewal rates are dropping," he said.

"It's not shared with shareholders, it's not done to please the government."

Grade also said he had mixed feelings about the return of Doctor Who, which he regarded as "the worst programme on my channel" when he was BBC controller in 1984.

"So when I returned as chairman, I took it personally that they intended to re-do Doctor Who. But I got over it," he said.

"Anyway I have a six-year-old boy, Samuel, and every Saturday there was a countdown. 'Daddy, is it time for Doctor Who yet?' And we never missed it!'"



SEE ALSO:
BBC defends executives' bonuses
12 Jul 05 |  Entertainment
BBC and unions set for new talks
02 Jun 05 |  Entertainment
Mixed reception for Thompson's vision
27 May 05 |  Entertainment
Shameless rise to Bafta success
19 Apr 05 |  Entertainment


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