Media: The Word on the Street

The Independent (London, England), September 29, 1998 | Go to article overview
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Media: The Word on the Street


THE RACE to be next director general of the BBC is hotting up. It emerges that the chairman, Sir Christopher Bland, would like to appoint someone by next June to ensure a smooth takeover when Sir John Birt steps down in 2000.

Step forward young Matthew Bannister, last week elevated to head of BBC production, the top job in television. Sir Christopher has made it known that he sees Mr Bannister's appointment as part of the management structure that will take the BBC into the new millennium.

Channel 4's Michael Jackson may be the stronger candidate, but Mr Bannister is bagging the inside lane.

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ADVERTISING EXECUTIVES, it turns out, are just too funny for ordinary people. At least, their humour is often above the heads of their female audiences.

New research by ad agency J Walter Thompson shows that women love the simple humour of Gary Lineker refusing to share his Walkers crisps with schoolboys, but they are perplexed by a Salon Selectives shampoo ad which parodies traditional shampoo commercials.

"The women took it literally," says an insider, "they didn't realise that the absurd big hair was a joke."

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UNION EFFORTS to blame last week's mass redundancies at The Observer on former editor, the brainbox Will Hutton, are not being accepted gratefully by his replacement, Roger Alton. Pinning the responsibility on one individual is most unfair, he says - and Mr Hutton, above, has been a very positive force for the paper. The bottom line is that Mr Hutton stays as editor- in-chief but must feel somewhat uncomfortable on the newsroom floor knowing that the staff resent his presence.

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IT'S ONLY a week or so until the BBC launches its "News Review", a strategy document that has been an age in the making. It's dominant message, we understand, is that viewers should brace themselves for a dose of "seriousness" as, in the digital age, it is the Beeb's gravity which distinguishes it from its rivals.

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