“Too Old And Lazy”: Official BBC Historian Slams Choice To Head British Regulator Ofcom

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Michael Grade may be one of the British television industry’s elder statesmen, but this does not necessarily make him the right person to lead the country’s TV regulator Ofcom, apparently.

Professor Jean Seaton, the BBC’s official historian, labelled the 79-year-old former producer turned TV executive “too old to be chair of Ofcom, too lazy to be chair of Ofcom, too many conflicts of interest” at a panel to discuss the BBC’s future, which took place at Hay Festival on Saturday.

More from Deadline

The professor accused the government, which appointed Grade to the post, of “an enormous bullying attack,” saying there was “clearly an agenda” and the government was not interested in hearing alternative views.

The process for appointing a new Ofcom boss was particularly fraught, with Daily Mail boss Paul Dacre previously revealing he had applied for the role, then told he wasn’t suitable, then invited to reapply.

Grade has decades of experience in the British TV sector, including a stint running the BBC’s primary TV channel BBC One, running Channel 4 and more recently heading the BBC’s Board of Governors, but is less knowledgeable in the field of social media and the need for online safety. He is a Conservative peer in the UK’s House of Lords but has said he will resign the party whip and serve as a cross-party peer.

Seaton added that Grade is now in a job requiring enormous application to legal affairs. She told the panel: “He was an inappropriate candidate.”

During the panel, she also pushed for more funding for the BBC, not a removal of the license fee which has been announced by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries. Seaton said the BBC was the only institution equipped to face the challenges of polarized media and declining trust in impartial news.

The Guardian received no response from the BBC or Ofcom when they requested further comment on Seaton’s remarks.

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.