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 You are in: Special Report: 1999: 06/99: BBC after Birt  
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BBC after Birt Friday, 25 June, 1999, 17:00 GMT 18:00 UK
Roland Rat: My part in Greg Dyke's triumph
One name has been mentioned again and again in the background of Greg Dyke's career: Roland Rat. The rat who joined the sinking ship, TV-am. BBC News Online decided to get the verdict from the rat's mouth, so rang him to talk about his part in Greg Dyke's rise to power.

BBC - a new era
Q: This must be a proud day for you. Greg Dyke is, after all, the man the papers call your dad.

Roland Rat: Well, it's fabulous news. Daddy's running the biggest bureaucratic dump in the world. I'm very proud of him, considering he comes from Hayes.

Do you think your role was influential in his appointment?

Greg Dyke: The man he calls daddy
RR: Undoubtedly, my success got him the number one job at the BBC. The governors thought I was marvellous, so they gave him the job. It's obviously a roundabout way of asking me back to the Beeb.

Did he make you, or is really the case that you made him?

RR: Don't be ridiculous! I saved TV-am. Without me, the station was a load of old rubbish. I saved his bacon, didn't I?

You've known him for a long time. How well do you think he will do the job?

RR: I've suggested a 3-point plan to him, and with that he cannot fail. One, scrap the licence fee. Two, sack all the toffee-nosed bureaucrats. Three, let me present Question Time and Newsnight, and also - slowly - introduce me into EastEnders.

Are you concerned about his links with the Labour Party?

RR: It was only 50 grand he slipped them, be fair!

Your name has been a byword for dumbing down. How does that feel?

RR: I am very proud to have achieved that status. Greg taught me all I know.

The late TV-am's studios in Camden
How have you been spending your time recently?

RR: Well I'm a jet-setting superstar as you know. I have a sewer in King's Cross, London, that I call home but I also have my LA pad which is a large sewer under the Hollywood sign. L.A. Rat on Channel 5 was the last TV I did. We are now scripting a series of me in Australia called Roland Down Under to shoot later this year, and also finalising contracts on a major animation series.

So are you waiting for the call? A new primetime show on the BBC, or perhaps even deputy DG?

There have been hints that I could be in line for Head of BBC Two, because he wants it taken down-market. . .a bit of dumbing down. Might get a few more people watching it.

Links to more BBC after Birt stories are at the foot of the page.


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