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Last Updated: Friday, 30 January, 2004, 11:45 GMT
Moist-eyed appreciation of Greg
Stewart Purvis
Professor of Television Journalism at City University in London and former ITN Editor-in-Chief.

Greg Dyke surrounded  by BBC Staff
The former Director-General was mobbed by BBC Staff

Who would have believed that the man who for a decade ran the competitor to BBC News would have been a moist-eyed visitor to the BBC Newsroom as a thousand BBC staff cheered the out-going BBC Director-General?

Not me.

When I ventured outside and bumped into a former colleague at ITN reporting this remarkable scene he jokingly asked me if I thought my staff would ever have done the same for me in an equivalent situation.

Of course not and I defy any boss to claim his staff would have quickly printed out banners and organised demonstrations to support them.

Greg Dyke was a special kind of boss but what the episode showed me again was that the BBC staff are a very special kind of staff.

Committed and caring, energetic and enterprising.

And I think that in the next few days that we'll discover that the British public recognise that, perhaps more than ever.

This whole sorry Kelly/Hutton saga just might provide a public focus on the BBC that has unforeseen upsides to compensate for the unexpected and sometimes unjustified depth of the downsides.

The first polls on public opinion look encouraging.

There's no doubt in my mind what the public wants
Stewart Purvis

Maybe there is to be something of a backlash against the apparent unfairness of Hutton's conclusions.

Perhaps the depth of the crisis made those slogans about "My BBC" really mean something to people.

The public custodians of this goodwill are the Board of Governors and the acting Director-General Mark Byford.

Only they know what was in their hearts and their minds when they issued the "unreserved" apology to the Government for unspecified errors.

Was it a necessary step to a fresh start with the Government or a signal of future timidity?

There's no doubt in my mind what the public wants.

All the research shows they expect a robust, questioning attitude by broadcasters to politicians.

Greg Dyke addressing BBC journalists
Stewart Purvis was glad he witnessed Greg Dyke's departure

Wherever I went on my pundit's day-out at the BBC -BBC1, News 24, Five Live, BBC World Television plus BBC World at Bush House- I was struck by the shock of the staff as the extraordinary developments rolled out.

I noticed the concern at whether the new guidelines for pre-scripting were practical.

But most of all I was impressed by the professionalism of the news production teams in these difficult circumstances.

Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised by all this but then it was the first time I had been in a BBC newsroom since I left the Corporation in 1972.

I'm glad I was there.

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