Tuesday, September 18, 2012

George Entwistle: speech to BBC staff

George Entwistle's speech to BBC staff from Broadcasting House, London on 18 September 2012.

Good morning everybody.

I am privileged to have been asked to lead the finest broadcasting organisation in the world – following a period of extraordinary success into a period of extraordinary change. 

I do this with a sense of honour, responsibility and great excitement.

My good fortune is to inherit from Mark Thompson an organisation in robust health – one that in this amazing year has reminded us on many occasions what it’s capable of achieving. 

Mark was a remarkable Director-General. He walked into a BBC on its knees, but he picked us up and has given us eight years of farsighted and totally committed leadership. 

He goes to the New York Times with my personal gratitude for the many occasions he’s helped and guided me; and with all our best wishes for the next chapter in an outstanding career.

Now, as you know, I was an “internal” candidate for DG – and that’s a matter of some pride to me. It means I know this place pretty well. I know what works brilliantly – what we need to build on. And I know what holds us back – the things we need to stop.

Almost twenty-three years ago to the day, I sat in the old reception of this wonderful building in my new suit, about to start as a Broadcast Journalism trainee. I had to pinch myself to believe I had the right even to walk through the door...

My first proper attachment was in this building too. I worked on The World Tonight, where I cut quarter inch tape with razor blades, drank whisky implausibly early in the afternoon and did journalism that genuinely mattered for the first time in my life.

Since then I’ve spent years as a producer – in News, Current Affairs and Television. I’ve tried to ask awkward questions on Panorama, with On the Record, and as the Editor of Newsnight. I was a pioneer of Out of London: leading the Culture Show from bases in both Glasgow and White City. 

I’ve been a commissioner, moving Panorama back to primetime. And as a Controller and Director, I’ve brought parts of the BBC together to make more sense of our Science, Arts and Music output across all our platforms.

(Source : BBC Media Centre)

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