I did think about waxing lyrical about its plans to sell BBC Television Centre. As an ex-BBC staffer, I’m not alone in having more than a smidgen of affection for the old place. It’s a sad consequence of ill-conceived over-expansion combined with about seven years of government distrust of the corporation. I hope it stays in broadcasters’ hands – it’s a cracking old building, tatty in parts, but one which truly deserves the word “iconic”.
But then I saw the front page of the BBC News website (again, ex-staffer alert), and realised the BBC still has problems that are just as fundamental as its screwed-up balance sheet. When there’s scores of miserable enemies who want to do away with the BBC, the last thing you need is to play into their hands with stupid headlines like “could you live on £26,000 a year?”. At the moment, I’d love to live on £26,000 a year, thanks.
A lot of media people on more than £26,000 a year sneer at the BBC moving huge numbers of staff to Salford. Particularly west London’s Evening Standard, although it would probably carp if it moved to Catford.
But seeing headlines like “could you live on £26,000 a year?” makes you realise just why great chunks of the BBC’s headcount are being moved out of London, to a place where lifestyles are a bit more realistic.