Tuesday, December 24, 2013


(Apologies to W. S. Gilbert & A. Sullivan.)

(To prove, “We’re all in it together”, the BBC paid-off a failed Director-General,
£470,000; a Deputy D.G., £949,000; and a Chief Operating Officer, £680,000.)

I was the very model of a dim Director-General,
My input on all Newsnight’s output was quite imperceptible;
The evidence of malefaction truly wasn’t mythical,
The improprieties were fundamentally historical.
Lord Patten’s firm instruction was, I take a long sabbatical,
And half a million quid made that, most eminently practical;
Considering I lately had my introductory interviews,
Ironically I’m now compelled to promulgate my sad adieus!
I was quite hesitant with some, occurrences most scandalous,
In case a High Court case emerged, asserting matters libellous;
But vis-à-vis those many circumstances thought peripheral,
I was the very model of a dim Director-General.

It’s also quite ironical I couldn’t see the paradox,
Of shelving scrutiny in an exposé programme on ‘the Box’;
Lord Reith, undoubtedly, would find such incidents ridiculous, (1)
And in Received Pronunciation, utter views meticulous.
But doubtless scandal suited some Commercial TV Companies,
Like SKY TV and all the other Murdoch media nominees;
But on the day of reckoning, I had no choice but to withdraw,
Because Lord Patten and the Board would have shown me the Beeb’s front door.

Regarding the MP’s Committee, my intent was to inform,
But after my performance, The House was to some extent, lukewarm;
They latterly confirmed, with a communiqué, most tragical,
I was the very model of a dim Director-General. 

I should have exercised a lot more overarching discipline,
Appointed Mr Davie as administrative whipper-in; (2)
An enterprising young executive with a firm caveat,            
To be less of a diplomat and act more like an autocrat.
A person quite exemplary, with all the urgent energy,
To integrate all news departments in convergent synergy;
Unlike myself who’s scrutiny, was certainly sporadical,
And thereby failing to foresee such matters as polemical.

So I depart with my own memorandum valedictory,
Believing my views can’t be summarised as contradictory;
In short, I won’t go short, with my gold handshake astronomical,
I’m now a model of a wealthy ex-Director-General!

(1) Lord Reith, the BBC’s first Director-General, noted for his
strict regime.
(2) Tim Davie, Acting Director-General after the ‘resignation’.

© Richard Layton 

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