12 November 2012
If John Nott & Peter Mandelson can walk out of TV interviews, so can the BBC's acting Director General
If his last interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme was what finally did for George Entwistle's stint as Director General, you'd think that his successor (albeit only 'acting' DG) might have had a little coaching on media interviews before venturing forth to speak to wider audiences.
But if he did, he doesn't seem to have been given, or at least didn't take, any advice either on the wearing of ties or the negative impression likely to be given by walking out of an interview (especially with 24 hour news competitor Sky News).
So here, on Tim Davie's second day in office, we have a welcome addition to my small collection of interviewees walking out of TV interviews.
What's in a tie?
Andy Turner has, perfectly reasonably, entered a comment asking what's the advice about ties (below)?
While it may be the case that wearing a tie is becoming more optional in the world of business and management than in the past, my advice is that the safest option for someone in charge of such a huge public organisation as the BBC is to wear one - not least because a very high percentage of licence payers are quite old and expect 'top people' to be 'properly dressed'.
This was brought home to me at a lunch today in our village hall at which the age range of those sitting at our table was between 65 and 80. Asked their impression of the BBC's acting Director General, all of them had noticed and disapproved of the fact that he wasn't wearing a tie. Some thought it too casual of him to be seen carrying a cup of coffee to the interview. And, those who saw the interview from which he walked out (above) were thoroughly appalled by his conduct.
So, Mr Turner, my advice to the BBC would be to make sure that Mr Davie not only buys a tie, but is seen to be wearing it when he goes on television...
And from Twitter:
Since posting this, some of the comments on Twitter support my view, including these:
@edstaite: "Also, in crises don't turn up for work brandishing coffee as if all OK. Not exactly 'getting a grip'"
@nigelfletcher: "Needed to step out of a car. in suit and tie, carrying a BBC portfolio. First impressions count."