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Last Updated: Friday, 30 January, 2004, 03:49 GMT
Papers dissect Dyke departure

Pictures of cheering BBC staff who walked out to support Greg Dyke on his resignation adorn several front pages on Friday.

They are accompanied by reports that the former director general did not go willingly.

"Drama outside, disarray inside. The governors force out Dyke" is how the Guardian puts it.

It says the governors "lost their nerve in the face of intense political pressure".

"Spineless" is how the Daily Mirror describes the governors' decision to "give in to government demands for another high profile scalp" in the wake of the Hutton report.

The Times says that in an exclusive interview, Mr Dyke said he had expected to be asked to stay on when he offered his resignation to governors.

However, he had added: "If you screw up, you have to go."

[The BBC] is rudderless and demoralised and at one of the lowest points in its 82-year history
Daily Mail

Writing in the Independent, Janet Street-Porter, a former colleague of Mr Dyke, said listening to the events of the day unfold made her go suddenly "right off my lunch".

She said that although he had not been to Oxford or Cambridge, he is a "highly accomplished journalist and a born leader".

Attesting to that were the extraordinary scenes outside BBC buildings, with staff "spontaneously" walking out, reports the Independent.

Guardian sketch writer Oliver Burkeman describes how "We Love U Greg" was etched in lipstick on the back of Dyke's car outside Television Centre.

BBC 'rudderless'

But there are fears the loss of the two most important figures will not be enough to prevent serious harm to the corporation's reputation.

The Daily Mail says Mr Dyke's departure has left the BBC "rudderless and demoralised and at one of the lowest points in its 82-year history."

In its editorial, the Financial Times identifies three steps to be taken to restore its good name.

Those are to appoint clearly independent director general and chairman of governors, fill the chairman's role first and reshape day to day management of the organisation.

However, it was not all bad news for the BBC.

Lost trust

Despite Lord Hutton's damning conclusions, three times as many people trust the BBC than the government, a poll for the Guardian suggests.

But almost half of those surveyed by pollsters ICM said they trusted neither.

And a poll for the Daily Telegraph, found the majority of voters believed the Hutton report into the death of government scientists Dr David Kelly was a "whitewash".

"The finding is a blow to the prime minister who had hoped that the report would enable him to rebuild trust, badly damaged by the controversy over the Iraq conflict," the paper says.

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