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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 April, 2004, 09:21 GMT 10:21 UK
New BBC chairman: Your reaction

The former head of Channel 4, Michael Grade, is to be confirmed as the new chairman of the BBC on Friday.

Mr Grade will replace Gavyn Davies, who resigned in the wake of criticism in the Hutton Report.

During his time as chief executive of Channel 4, Mr Grade was not afraid of controversy, being labelled "pornographer-in-chief" by the Daily Mail.

As well as being director of programmes at London Weekend Television and BBC Television, he went on to head the merged Pinewood and Shepperton film studios.

Mr Grade's first role will be to appoint a replacement for Greg Dyke as the corporation's director general.

What is your reaction to the appointment? What do you think the role of the new chairman should be?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of the opinions we have received:

Brilliant! A strong, independently-minded broadcaster whose arrival will put new heart and backbone into the BBC and restore it as the world's premier source of creative, quality programming. I can just hear the sanctimonious taste police of the Daily Mail gnashing their teeth!
Paul Walker, Lewes, East Sussex

A good choice - he's unlikely to bow to undue pressure from any angle. However, I do hope that he does not decided to axe the new Doctor Who series before it gets off the ground.
Seona Cruickshank, Aberdeen, UK

I am so-o-o-o relieved that Michael Grade is the new BBC Chairman
Rachel Mawhood, London, UK
I am so-o-o-o relieved that Michael Grade is the new BBC Chairman; and yes, I too think that Greg Dyke should be offered his job back. For all our sakes, the BBC must be led by people strong and intelligent enough to withstand sustained intimidation by government of whatever colour.
Rachel Mawhood, London, UK

I'm no authority on the subject, but would certainly suggest that the BBC, making a recent return to form, I feel, in terms of programming, would be wise to avoid any influence associated with channel 4, and its active promotion of the 'risque,' (smut). Although Grade is said to have no influence over the programming the BBC offers, I fail to see how anyone at the top could refrain and take a somewhat passive stance.
Craig, Barnstaple, Devon

Apparently the staff at the BBC are very happy with this appointment. That's good enough for me. As is the fact that the Daily Mail didn't like him. Excellent credentials, I'd say. And if I hear the words 'privatisation of the BBC' again I'm going to be sick.
Johnny, Scotland

I noticed that few people who have criticised this decision have not backed up this with real reasons. Let's give the guy a chance and see what happens. He has a long background in broadcasting. Note: Lord Grade was not the head of the BBC he ran ITC/ATV in the 60's and 70's.
Phil, UK

Perhaps we have someone who'll openly do what they believe is right, rather than toeing the party line, or worse, claiming to do things for everyone else. Also it's great to see a Charlton supporter doing well.
Andy Leigh, London, England

Michael Grade has been "around the block" a few times in broadcasting, most notably during a stint at the BBC. He is therefore a very safe pair of hands in these troubled times for the BBC. Faced with another Hutton-type situation he can at least be relied on to use critical skills based on a lifetime's experience of broadcasting
Paul, UK

I have deep reservations about this appointment. Grade must promise not to touch Doctor Who.
Chris Denton, Reigate, UK

The best possible choice! It demonstrates, that the Labour government is, ironically after the bitter conflict of the last 12 months, still supports the principle of public broadcasting. Expect the licence fee to survive as well.
Jurgen, A German living in the UK

As long as he doesn't axe 'Doctor Who' again. I'll be happy.
Stuart Halliday, Livingston, UK

No reaction for me - different chairman, but I bet we still have to put up with multiple repeats of tired old soaps and gardening/home improvement. Why do we have to pay the BBC licence fee when ITV/C4 is better?
Kang, London, UK

Let's hope BBC Sport remains the force that it is and should be. Greg Dyke's commitment to sport was great and long may this continue
John Wright, Kent

Brilliant choice. a) he will stand up against this and future governments b) channel 4 under his stewardship was innovative and risk taking. Not everything worked and not everything was to mass taste, but you have to try these things. c) it will infuriate readers of the Daily Whinge everywhere!
Chris, London

Very disappointing
Jake, Twickenham

The guy who did irreparable damage to the BBC in a previous role is put back in charge! The chairman should have been elected by the owners of the BBC (the public) and an unknown face would have been more inspiring. Very disappointing.
Jake, Twickenham, UK

A first class choice in Michael Grade. I have read his book, and his heart is with the BBC.
Roger Lambert, London

Good to see him back at the Beeb!
Richard G, London, UK

There was nothing wrong with the old BBC chairman. Time for a new government?
AMS, UK

Whilst I was interested to hear on the 1 o'clock news that Michael Grade is the new boss of the BBC, surely the BBC didn't need to spend almost the whole half hour on this self-promoting item. There is a world outside of the BBC - even for your employees!
Andrew Sington, Southport

If Greg Dyke cannot be returned to his rightful home, then, in Michael Grade comes a worthy successor. Pinewood? The BBC makes the finest programmes and an internal executive link to the second finest facility in the industry must be good news. Go for it Michael, not everyone is knocking you.
Andy, Hampshire

The new chairman should not be exercising editorial control over the BBC - that rests with the DG. The staff at the BBC need clear, strong leadership. An invitation to Greg Dyke to take up his former post would be a good start.
Chris, Barnet, England

Welcome back, Mr Grade - but keep your hands off Doctor Who this time!
Bill, UK

A leader who has showbiz in his veins
John, Benson

This is an excellent choice for both the BBC and the public. Here is a leader who has showbiz in his veins.
John, Benson, Oxon

If he can get a bit of commercial wisdom into the BBC as it comes up to charter renewal - great news. An even better first move from him, to prove to all his total independence would be to bring Greg Dyke back - go on Michael I dare you!
Fraser Watson, Surrey, UK

Great if you belong to the liberal elite, but for the majority who live in the real world a disaster of an appointment. Another 'champagne socialist' who has not got a clue about morality, responsibility and the role of public broadcasting. He will be very popular in the BBC though and therefore accelerate calls for its privatisation.
John Karran, Liverpool, UK

A good choice, he has the right qualities to prepare the BBC for the forthcoming removal of licence revenue.
Mike, The Wirral, UK

Simply another employee of the Blair Broadcasting Corporation. Compared to other news channels the BBC gives more airtime to Labour as it is. Will the BBC now down-Grade even more?
T Newman, Bournemouth, UK

If he's going to be in the public eye, he needs to have his teeth whitened
Brenda, Nashville, USA

One message and warning to Mr Grade: remember that more than half of BBC viewers are over 50 - please, please, please clean up the BBC! We virtually only watch the news these days, expensive when we don't have or want digital.
Catherine Davies, Bristol, England

Good grief, in the scheme of things does it really matter that Grade cancelled Dr Who? I think not. And I'm not convinced that it's right to form definite opinions of the man based on his past career - his work at Channel 4 was in a completely different context to his future work at the BBC. And frankly I'd be more worried if the Daily Mail had praised him...
George, UK

R.I.P Doctor Who. This is the man who removed the programme for personal reasons and actually admitted to it on Room 101. How the BBC can be run by a man who allows personal preferences to influence judgement is beyond me.
Adam, Stoke, UK

I have to agree with the BBC's decision to appoint Mr Grade as the chairman. Over the last few years Channel 4 has shown that it can beat the BBC channels hands down. This can only be a positive move, both for the BBC and the viewing public.
Paul Davies, Bournemouth, UK

Mr Grade started with the comment: "It is my job... to ensure that the BBC can continue to earn public and parliamentary support". Let's hope that the BBC returns to EARNING such well deserved support; rather than flamboyantly criticising anyone who diverges from individual reporter's imaginings (as if the BBC reputation absolves them from a need to deliver clear analysis or proof).
Prof Jon Howes, Greenfield, UK

If he's going to be in the public eye, he needs to have his teeth whitened. Looks like he's had a bit too much tea.
Brenda, Nashville, USA

After the debacle of Hutton and the grievous losses that resulted, this is the very best news one could have hoped for. A BBC headed by a Chair committed to public service values but with proven commercial abilities.
Max Gibson, Plymouth

This is the guy who introduced sleaze to C4
Richard, Oxford

In Communist countries the state exercises control over television through direct censorship. In the case of the BBC this is done through key appointments (chairman, directors, news editors etc.) being decided by the state. In a democracy this cannot be right especially when the network in question is being funded by the public. The only way to change this anachronism is for the public to withhold their funding until the BBC is legally separated from the state. It's the power you have - use it.
Jake, Twickenham, UK

A disaster. This is the guy who introduced sleaze to C4, offered us the alternative Queen's speech, he has no conception either of public decency or public responsible broadcasting. Another 'Yes Man' for the job, lining his already well-filled pockets at public expense.
Richard, Oxford

The BBC has proved predictable by going for the left wing liberal candidate as promoted by their soulmates at the Guardian. Once again the licence-payer has been ignored and a return to BBC independence is a distant dream.
P Cleverly, Swindon, UK

If he can preserve the BBC then good, but after allowing reality shows and other tosh on Channel 4 which is supposed to be alternative, and giving us East Enders and taking away Doctor Who, his record on programming is not good.
John Keogh, Barnet, Herts

Could some people learn what the Board and its chair actually does before criticising Grade? He won't be commissioning and cancelling programmes, he will be regulating and ensuring the smooth running of the Corporation. The idea that he'll be re-cancelling Doctor Who or commissioning porn is not only insulting to the man, it's a fundamental misunderstanding of the role he's adopted.
Guy Clapperton, London, UK

Inspirational choice. Highly focused, independent, charming and motivational. It's a shame he can't bring Greg Dyke back!
Colin K Dobson, Midhurst UK

The man has flair, knowledge and a rapport with the creative as well as the administrative side
Richard Hollister, Epping, UK

Absolutely first rate appointment, the man has flair, knowledge and a rapport with the creative as well as the administrative side. I know he will give 100% as he did as controller.
Richard Hollister, Epping, UK

Congratulations, Mr. Grade. Now would you kindly consider turning on the shortwave transmitters to North America again?
Tom Gillett, Wilton, CT, USA

Labelled 'pornographer in chief' by the Mail? Well, let's face it, people who take notice of the Mail will be busy watching amusingly biased nationalist news channels such as Sky and Fox for this appointment to be relevant to them. This is a great move and for all our sakes the BBC needs to stay politically independent, I'd pay 5 times the license fee to ensure that it remains so.
Mark, Manchester

I hope that this does NOT mean that BBC will deteriorate further and that pornography will feature more prominently.
Dr Lesley Lloyd, Birmingham, UK

Channel four has a strong reputation for impartiality combined with good, strong, news coverage. At this time, Michael Grade is exactly what the BBC needs in order to improve its image.
Sebastian, Oxford, England

Is the BBC in danger of becoming a self-licking ice-cream?
Hugh Milroy, Cirencester, Gloucestershire

I asked co-workers and family members about this "news". Not one of them had any interest in Mr Grade becoming Chairman of the BBC. In fact, a few even laughed at the idea of this story being classified as news. Is the BBC in danger of becoming a self-licking ice-cream?
Hugh Milroy, Cirencester, Gloucestershire

His first job has got to be the re-appointment of Greg Dyke as Director General. He has all the qualifications and is available!
Robert Jones, Birmingham

A charismatic, intelligent, personable, charming, highly experienced and one of the true gentlemen working in media today. I am fortunate to have worked and socialised with Mr. Grade. He will make a brilliant Chair.
Sandra Bradley ONSIDE TV, Twickenham, Middlesex

What a surprise, a mention of Doctor Who in the SECOND comment picked.
Greg Taylor, Leeds

Perhaps now that Grade's in the BBC can stop brown-nosing the government post-Hutton. The U-turn since the Beeb's previously open stance towards the "war" has been a sickening display of media gagging, toadying and manipulation.
Ivan, UK

Perhaps he could stop the BBC advertising products between their programmes (Radio Times, DVDs, and Books etc). It isn't what we pay our licence fee for.
James Murphy, Dorset, UK

Oh well, I guess we will have to wait another 15 years for new Doctor Who once the new series is cancelled!?!
Adam, Southampton, UK

One of those 'talk the talk' appointments that will doubtless mean viewer choice is marginalised even if the BBC profile is not.
Ed Funnell, Oxford

Unbelievable! The BBC has finally lost its way in the concept of "quality broadcasting"! Now is the time to totally privatise the BBC - and thus make it accountable to the public!
Alan Hall, Evesham, Worcs.

So long as he has the strength not to fall victim like the last lot
Constance Trentham, Barnet, England

Well, so long as he has the strength not to fall victim like the last lot, with the board having to cut cards to see who goes next, we should be in very capable hands. I look forward to seeing what Mr Grade does.
Constance Trentham, Barnet, England

Prejudice, amoral and anything goes. This is a bad choice. The BBC needs to return to its original terms of reference.
Keith, Ely

What a mistake! It is a well-established fact that the quality of programmes broadcast by the BBC (TV and especially radio) has been going steadily downhill over the last few years. This is clearly another step in the same direction! (I may have to review paying my TV licence!)
Alan Hall, Evesham, Worcs.

What a lot of fuss about nothing ! There are far more important issues to debate than this.
Neville Collins, France (ex- UK)

Just another so called government yes man who will do nothing but get the same old rubbish regurgitated.
Stanley, Newcastle Tyne and Wear

An excellent choice. Michael Grade brings a wealth of commercial experience and will be a refreshing gust of wind through the corridors of the BBC. Perhaps we can leave Michael to get on with the job knowing his political neutrality.
George Hinton, Twickenham, Middx

Personally I have no real issue as long as he sticks to his job as Chairman and employs the right person as DG and does not resort to nepotism. Quite interested to see if he will continue as Chairman of lottery company Camelot - surely there will be a conflict of interest with the BBC having the contract for the broadcast of the main Lotto draws.
Corinne, St Albans, Hertfordshire

Thank goodness Peter Mandelson wasn't picked! I think Michael Grade will do a good job.
Anne Hills, Wokingham, UK

Oh dear, an advocate of lowest-common-denominator programming
Andrew, London, UK

Can't wait for the Beeb to slide down to the gutter. To be able to watch all those foul mouthed, third-rate programmes without any adverts - wonderful!
Tony King, UK

If he was the best candidate it does not say much for those rejected for the post. Channel 4 under his rule became a joke, I can only hope he will not do the same again.
Mike Hall, Chipping Norton, UK

Jobs for the boys. Keep it in the family etc. Boring but predictable.
John Davies, Bekshire, UK

Is he related to Lord Grade, ex head of the BBC? If so, does the BBC believe that good management qualities are hereditary? Or is this merely another of those million-to-one coincidences involving rich folk getting the best jobs?
Mike, Ipswich UK

When Greg Dyke resigned, there was huge frustration right through the ranks of the BBC, with thousands of employees protesting at the decision. I wonder if they will now be parading the streets in delight with this bit of news? Frankly, I doubt it. I think there will be some sore faces in the BBC right now.
Gary McCartney, Ealing, UK

Another broadcasting establishment figure! It is about time the BBC had someone from outside to inject some really fresh ideas.
Martin Woodrow, Beds

Hopefully the new chairman will be able to clip the wings of the left of centre old guard that have dominated for so long at the BBC. We might at long last see some balance and objectivity in current affairs broadcasting.
Al, UK

Oh dear, an advocate of lowest-common-denominator programming. Just what the BBC doesn't need when its charter is up for renewal. How will they ever return to making quality programmes that inform and educate as well as entertain, to satisfy the public service requirement?
Andrew, London, UK

I cannot see how this can possibly be good for the BBC
James Hadwen, Norwich, UK

My view of him plummeted after seeing him on Room 101. It seems most of what he did was based on personal prejudice rather than valued judgement. I hate to see where the BBC will go now.
Kevin Rayner, Watford

Ugly...
Dinga, UK

Under Grade Channel 4 went from exaggeratedly minority friendly to backwardly trendy. There was a period when only homosexuals were allowed to be on screen, then at a whim Channel 4 endorsed Ali G - the most blokey of blokes imaginable. The worry is that Grade - again - will try to enforce views and opinions which do not exist.
Tom Anderton, Basildon

Like many licence payers I don't really care who runs the BBC as long as a) they remain politically independent & don't toady to the current government and b) stick to its charter of public broadcasting and stop trying to compete on ratings with commercial TV. If they do the licence fee should be scrapped.
Tony Parry, London, UK

He put the old "Doctor Who" in Room 101! What chance does the new series have with him at the helm?
Colin Waterhouse-Ward, Birmingham

Oh dear, his track record in producing programming in the past does not inspire me with confidence, nor does any interview I've ever seen with him. I cannot see how this can possibly be good for the BBC in any way, shape or form...
James Hadwen, Norwich, UK

Grade is no-one's placeman
John Delaney, Tunbridge Wells, UK

Excellent news. Grade is no-one's placeman. I may not like everything he's ever done (it's been so diverse, how could that be possible?), but I admire the way he's gone about doing it. And now, Mr Grade: how about offering Greg Dyke his job back?
John Delaney, Tunbridge Wells, UK

As a Charlton fan, Grade clearly has good taste and can bring these virtues to the BBC where they are much needed at present.
Brad, London, England

Ultimately, I think this will prove to be an unwise choice - I doubt he will be able to resist the opportunity of meddling in the day-to-day running of the corporation. And I'm not saying that just because he cancelled Dr Who...
Colin Graham, London, UK

The right man. A born broadcaster, unafraid of controversy and has the vision to lead the BBC. I cannot wait for the Daily Mail headlines!!
Chris Rhodes, West Malling, England

Proves again that having one position enables you to get another, but it doesn't matter how good you are. Has Channel 4 been a success? The programming is trash and it's looking for a merger. Right time for the boss to jump.
Bob, Kingston UK

Good appointment - we do not need another 'toady'. It will be good for the BBC to have a strong leader, who is not afraid of controversy, and who will repair the damage done by Birt and successive Labour cronies.
Trevor Mills, Peterborough, Cambs

He would seem an ideal choice - a politically well connected and astute operator. But wouldn't he have made a great Director General?
Peter Underwood, Maidstone, UK

I can't think of a worse choice. Grade is self-opinionated to the point of arrogance. Presumably the exact qualities that Tony Blair was looking for.
Dai Baulch, Newport, Wales

We only care about how much it costs, and the programming it produces
Colin MacDonald, Glasgow, Scotland

You may be surprised to discover that very few people outside of the BBC really care about who runs it. We only care about how much it costs, and the programming it produces.
Colin MacDonald, Glasgow, Scotland

The Chairman should ensure the BBC sticks to its charter of public service broadcasting. The BBC's recent output has been dumbed down and this should be reversed.
Martin, England

A Chairman who might not cave in next time the Government put on the pressure? Now he needs to get Greg Dyke back...
John Prewer, P'boro, UK

He would make a great villain in the new series of "Doctor Who"!
Neil, UK

For the independence of the BBC, this is good news. Grade's challenge now is to develop a strong position for the BBC Charter review.
Nicky Davis, France

Very sad. This was the man who axed Dr who and Dallas in the mid 80s and inflicted Neighbours on us. But then since when do you need talent to get to such a position. An awful day for the general viewer.
Dan, Liverpool

But he was the one who cancelled Dr Who. Hopefully he'll leave it alone this time...
Steve Davies, Cardiff, UK

In addition to the news of Grade's appointment, bulletins are carrying the obligatory review of this news in the press. Just how much time should be devoted to media people talking about their peers?
David Clark, Galashiels, Selkirkshire

At last someone who is strong, politically independent and creative
John Terris, France

Great news! At last someone who is strong, politically independent and creative.
John Terris, France

Well, let's hope he doesn't do the new Doctor Who what he did to the old one... in fact, can we have that written into his contract?
Sam B, Manchester

Too early to say, however my gut feeling is that he should be the DG and not the Chairman. Seems too much of an operations guy and obviously a flamboyant character and therefore may find it difficult to leave the day to day to someone else.
Michael, London

Although Michael Grade is a very likeable chap, I would be worried if he changes BBC to be like Channel 4 where there is far too much risqué material. I would like BBC1 to return to a more family oriented variety channel. And the BBC overall to remain staunchly independent.
Betty Came, Godalming





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