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Saturday, 6 January, 2001, 19:44 GMT
Dyke: BBC is 'hideously white'
BBC director-general Greg Dyke has described the corporation as being "hideously white".
Mr Dyke did not say the corporation was racist but acknowledged that, like the Metropolitan Police, it had a problem with race relations.
He admitted the organisation's management structure was more than 98% white.
And he said it was unable to retain staff from ethnic minorities and questioned if they were made to feel welcome.
His comments were made during an interview broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland on Sunday.
Mr Dyke said: "I think the BBC is hideously white.
"The figures we have at the moment suggest that quite a lot of people from different ethnic backgrounds that we do attract to the BBC leave.
"Maybe they don't feel at home, maybe they don't feel welcome."
The director-general said a failure of the corporation's equal opportunities policies was most noticeable at the highest levels.
Committed to beating racism
"Our biggest problem is at management level. I had a management Christmas lunch and as I looked around I thought, 'We've got a real problem here'," he said.
"There were 80-odd people there and only one person who wasn't white."
Mr Dyke insisted the BBC was committed to eradicating racism but voiced concerns that similar determination was missing among some elements of the police.
He said he realised the Metropolitan Police also had problems in this area.
"I'm not at all sure that the Metropolitan Police at all sorts of levels actually does."
'What are we going to do?'
He added that by 2003, 10% of the BBC's UK workforce and 4% of management would be from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Mr Dyke said: "You can have all the equal opportunities policies you like, but if actually, the gateman doesn't let blacks through the gates, you've got a problem, haven't you?
"I don't believe the BBC is like that, but we are not saying 'What are we going to do about this'."
A spokeswoman for the Commission for Racial Equality said Mr Dyke had made similar statements before but welcomed his latest remarks.
She said: "I welcome his acknowledgement that there's a problem and that he's trying to do something about it.
"I think the key is getting the senior management to reflect the society we live in and that's a real challenge because once that situation is sorted then that will obviously have a beneficial knock-effect on the rest of the corporation."
A BBC spokesman said in a statement: "The BBC has a responsibility to reflect in its workforce and in its output the diverse nature of the community we serve, and indeed which funds it.
"We want a BBC where diversity is seen as an asset, not an issue or a problem; a BBC which is open to talent from all communities and all cultures; a BBC which reflects the world in which we live today, not the world of yesterday."