UK

BBC boss tells MPs there are imbalances of power in ‘strange’ TV industry

Tim Davie, director-general of the BBC appearing before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee (House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA)
Tim Davie, director-general of the BBC appearing before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee (House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA) Tim Davie, director-general of the BBC appearing before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee (House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA)

BBC director-general Tim Davie has said “imbalances of power are dangerous and we care about them” in front of MPs at a parliamentary committee.

Mr Davie was among three of the broadcaster’s chief executives appearing before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday to answer questions on a wide range of topics, including impartiality and accuracy, funding pressures and progress to address unequal pay.

The director-general was questioned on safeguarding at the BBC following Phillip Schofield’s departure from ITV’s This Morning after admitting to an “unwise but not illegal” affair with a younger male colleague.

Mr Davie said “we do have imbalances” in the “strange” TV industry, with top tier talent earning high salaries compared with producers – but confirmed the BBC has a “robust” process to combat safeguarding.

He told committee chair Caroline Dinenage: “I do think from the leadership there is an absolutely clear signal very direct, and this is born from experience.

“I have been personally been through a number of reviews looking at the history of the BBC and I think your concerns are well-placed, which is imbalances of power are dangerous and we care about them.

“The first thing is culturally at the top of the BBC I am very, very direct that that is something I do not want to see at the organisation.

“It’s also about the leadership being very clear that (that) is unacceptable and we do have imbalances and it is a strange industry but not wholly strange where you’ve got people earning … talent salaries versus producers, all of that, this is an environment in which there is power in place.”

Culture Media and Sport Committee
Culture Media and Sport Committee David Jordan, director of editorial policy at the BBC, Tim Davie, director-general of the BBC and Charlotte Moore, chief content officer at the BBC, appearing before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee (House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA)

Mr Davie said the BBC sets a “cultural framework” underpinned with process with the broadcaster spending “a lot of time on BBC values and policies when you sign up to a production”.

He also said he is “confident about the culture of the BBC” when asked during the select committee session about toxicity, amid a debate over the alleged toxicity at ITV’s This Morning following 61-year-old Schofield’s exit.

The regular scrutiny session also saw director of editorial policy and standards David Jordan and chief content officer Charlotte Moore attend,