Can Lord Hall of Birkenhead turn around the fortunes of the BBC, as he did with the Royal Opera House?
Lord Patten, the BBC Trust chairman had approached Tony Hall earlier in the year, before George Entwhistle took the post, thinking that he would be a great candidate for the job of the BBC’s Director General. At the time Hall had his hands full with the Cultural Olympiad and also felt the post would be better suited to someone younger.
Since then, the BBC’s reputation has experienced a serious blow; thanks in no small part to the Jimmy Savile sex scandal that has plagued the organisation for weeks now. Hall was considered an excellent choice for the post, thanks to the 30 years he spent working there, before leaving to work at the Royal Opera House; the prefect combination of an insider’s knowledge and an outsider’s detachment.
The BBC reports that when the call came once more, he found it tough to refuse. At a news conference, he told the press “I care passionately about the BBC, about what it can do, its programme makers and the impact we have in all sorts of different ways. It's one of those extraordinary organisations, which is an absolutely essential part of the UK, of Britain, of who we are, but also has this incredible impact around the world too.” In general, his appointment has been greeted with enthusiasm, though he will have to work hard to force an about-turn in public opinion, with many members of the public losing faith in the BBC since the Jimmy Savile scandal.