BBC staff advert in The Daily Telegraph

 by Martin Belam, 31 January 2004

Today BBC staff placed a full page advert in The Daily Telegraph to assert their belief in the continued independence of the BBC, and to pay tribute to the work of Greg Dyke whilst he was Director-General. The full text of the advert was as follows:

The independence of the BBC

The following statement is from BBC employees, presenters, reporters and contributors. It was paid for by them personally, not the BBC itself

Greg Dyke stood for brave, independent and rigorous BBC journalism that was fearless in its search for the truth. We are resolute that the BBC should not step back from its determination to investigate the facts in pursuit of the truth.

Through his passion and integrity Greg inspired us to make programmes of the highest quality and creativity.

We are dismayed by Greg's departure, but we are determined to maintain his achievements and his vision for an independent organisation that serves the public above all else.
A scan of the header of the advert placed in The Daily Telegraph by BBC Staff

There is coverage of this story at The Guardian - BBC - The Times

One of the great testimonies to the value of Greg's tenure as Director-General is that it was the "Making It Happen" team that put this together. Although much derided outside the BBC, "Making It Happen" has made a real difference to the way the BBC works, and the fact that this got turned around so quickly shows it. They were only seeking 4,000 people to offer their signatures and their money, but in the end they received contributions from around 10,000 people (about a third of BBC employees) and couldn't name everybody. Tom posted to say he didn't get on the list, I'm pleased to say I did, alongside Abi, Alice, Andrew B, Anna, Ant, Chris, Dan, Fiona, Gareth, Jem, Jim, Matt, Paul, Simon, Tom & Ulyssa.

Andrew Webb was also on the list, and is promising to archive on his site some of the unscheduled BBCi homepages that accompanied the whole Hutton Report story breaking.


As Phil Gyford points out, the people who copy edited that advert must have been broadcast journo's who don't own a copy of "Eats, Shoots and Leaves"

"Thank you to the support of those who's names are not on here"

I think I'll offer the benefit of the doubt to the team - they had to turn the whole thing around pretty damn quick. However, there is now a witch-hunt within the BBC to find the person whose secret name is "Signature Unreadable"

In retrospect, I think I must have been a bit caught up in the emotion of Dyke being forced out. It was fine making mistakes in the lists of names - but letting a whopping great grammatical error through in the public statement was piss-poor.

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