Veteran BBC presenter David Dimbleby hits out at Beeb's culture

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  • The Question Time presenter says it cannot produce good director generals with the 'stomach' for a fight
  • Dimbleby could be a candidate to be next director general and says BBC is suffering its biggest ever internal crisis - 'of its own making'
  •  'It has gone bonkers' Mr Dimbleby said, adding Lord Patten should: 'reflect on why he chose George (Entwistle)'

By Martin Robinson

PUBLISHED: 05:19 EST, 12 November 2012 | UPDATED: 09:30 EST, 12 November 2012

Veteran broadcaster David Dimbleby has launched an extraordinary attack on the BBC's dense layers of management calling them 'bonkers' and saying they only speak 'gobbledygook'.

The Question Time host said the corporation has a culture of 'over-management' and is throttled by its own bureaucracy and cannot find any good director generals as a result.

Mr Dimbleby added he believed George Entwistle had been given a huge £450,000 pay-off to get rid of him and that BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten should 'reflect' on why he chose Entwistle in the first place.

Furious: Veteran David Dimbleby has launched a bitter attack on the BBC and said it is 'over-managed' by people who can't speak plain English

Furious: Veteran David Dimbleby has launched a bitter attack on the BBC and said it is 'over-managed' by people who can't speak plain English

The BBC's biggest-ever internal crisis is entirely 'of its own making', he said.

The presenter, who has been with the BBC for 50 years, has applied for the director general job in the past and his outburst has led to speculation he will take another run at it after Entwistle resigned after just 54 days in charge.

'In my opinion it is still over-managed and the management still speak gobbledegook,' he told Radio 4's Today programme.

'Any editor, any head of department spends their lives filling in forms and answering questions about things that are not really necessary using language that is so arcane, about platforms and genres and goodness knows what.'

He pointed out that George Entwistle's previous title before his abortive stint as DG had been head of 'vision' rather than head of television.

'It has gone bonkers at that level,' he added.

Attack: Mr Dimbleby said that George Entwistle lacked the 'stomach' needed for the job and Lord Patten should consider why he hired him in the first place

The presenter said the existing culture did not produce 'good director-generals'.

'You get people who have played the game very carefully, one against the other... they just don't have the stomach for what is needed,' he said.

Dimbleby said it would be 'absurd' for BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten to resign over the controversy. But he added: 'I think he should reflect on why he chose George.'

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Dimbleby suggested the nature of Mr Entwistle's departure demonstrated that he was not right for the job.

'The fact that he chose to resign rather than fight shows that he was not the right choice for Director-General. The DG has to fight like a tiger to defend the BBC and George did not do that,' he added.

'The trouble is that the BBC in recent years has throttled itself with its own bureaucracy - which saps the energy of its staff and demoralises them.

'It is over-managed and badly managed so that no-one knows how or where decisions are taken.

'The upshot is a crazy system where George as head of television, when told of the Savile suspicions, ends up saying that he does not want to show 'undue interest' in something that clearly radically affects his programming.'

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