Greg Dyke

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Greg Dyke (born 20 May 1947) was the Director-General of the BBC (salary £500,000) from January 2000 until 29 January 2004 when he resigned following the Hutton Inquiry.

BBC Coverage of Business under Dyke

Under Dyke's leadership the BBC consciously moved towards creating more business friendly journalism. He expanded the recently created Economics and Business Centre:

In the first years of the 2000s budgets, staffing levels and output hours increased by around 30%. In addition to the much stronger newsgathering presence the key enhancements were the addition of a business slot on Today at 0720, launching The Bottom Line on Radio 4, doubling the length of Wake up to Money, launching Weekend Business on Five, extending N24 slots through the evening and doubling the length of Working Lunch on a Friday. Against this has to be set the disappearance of Business Breakfast on BBC1 and the Financial World Tonight on Radio 4. Dyke’s influence was also felt in the Nations and Regions where BBC Wales launched a weekly business programme called Wales@Work. [1]

On 6 November 2000 Dyke gave a speech to the Confederation of British Industry's national conference in Birmingham declaring that the BBC’s coverage of business needed to be improved [2] Dyke said he was ‘frustrated’ when interviewers assume ‘profits are easy to achieve and are automatically against the consumer's interests’. [3] He added: ‘We need to understand what profits are for, that companies have a duty to make them and investment can't happen without them. The BBC under my leadership will take business more seriously. I am totally committed to taking business centre stage in the BBC.’ [4]

As part of this process Dyke announced a series of changes at the BBC, most notable of which was the creation of the new position of business editor. Up until that point the BBC had only employed an economics editor to cover business stories, which at that stage was Peter Jay, who had been an influential figure in the neoliberal restructuring of broadcasting. Dyke announced that the new business editor would be Jeff Randall, who was then editor of the Sunday Business, and that he would join the BBC in March 2001. [5] Randall was a controversial appointment because of his outspoken right-wing views. In 2006 Dyke told PR Week: ‘Here is a bloke who believes that George W Bush is too left wing. The BBC newsroom is basically a liberal institution. He was a revelation.’ [6] Randall was reportedly given the job because of a highly critical he authored for the Sunday Business in May 2000. [7] The article is reproduced in full below:

Running through the corporation, from top to bottom, like the word Blackpool through a stick of rock, is a liberal agenda, set by patronising, middle-class, guilt-ridden do-gooders who dominate its corridors.

The worst examples can be heard daily on Radio 4. If this were your only source of news and information, you would inevitably conclude that happily married Anglo-Saxon, heterosexual, law-abiding taxpayers are a dying breed on these islands.

No doubt, someone from the BBC will dub me a homophobic racist for saying so - a charge I reject - but Radio 4's programming displays an obsessive obsequiousness to the interests and concerns of social and ethnic minorities, the unemployed, and those who enjoy denigrating conventional values.

The BBC should, of course, cater for all sections of Britain. And that includes financially secure, hard-working citizens (ie, the vast majority) who are proud of their country, content with their lot, and do not regard the Union Jack as a symbol of evil. Politically correct Radio 4 gives far too much credence to the claims of professional gripers who want compensation, usually in the form of government hand- outs, simply for being less well-off than they would like.

By contrast, the flagship station's coverage of business matters is almost non-existent. The Financial World Tonight was shunted off to the graveyard slot of 11.15pm on Radio 5 long ago. Business is rarely covered in Radio 4 news bulletins, unless it is a story about a beastly multinational making workers redundant or fat-cat directors collecting outrageous salaries. It is as if this country's executive class, whose taxes underpin the BBC's funding, does not exist.

The BBC's new director general, Greg Dyke, made a personal fortune from business. It's about time he looked at the corporation's institutionalised bias against free-enterprise wealth-creators - and did something about it. [8]

Randall later told the Guardian: ‘Greg Dyke called me up and said: “You can be one of those geezers sitting on the sidelines carping, bitching and whinging, or you can come here and do something about it. Have you got the balls to do that?”’ [9] A few days after his appointment was announced, Randall told The Times: ‘I have certain attitudes forged by my working for fascinating entrepreneurs like Rupert Murdoch and the Barclay family. Those attitudes probably aren't typical of the BBC, but the Director-General said this week that he wanted the BBC to look at business in a different light. If this, my job and the new department, is to succeed, my attitude must prevail - because the old attitude has not succeeded.’ [10]

New Labour Connections

Dyke has been described as being 'a Blairite before Mr Blair'. [11] Although he left Labour prior to the 2005 General Election (in which he supported the Liberal Democrats) Dyke has been a long time active supporter of the Labour Party and in 1977 he attempted to win a seat on the Greater London Council for Labour at Putney. In later years he was a financial donor to the party.

He has given donations of more than £5,000 to the Labour Party in 1997 and £50,000 in 1998. He helped fund Tony Blair's campaign to become the Labour Party leader in 1994 and gave £5000 to Mo Mowlam's research fund in the same year.

Previously he was the Chairman and Chief Executive at Pearson Television, alongside Lord Stevenson, another Friend of Tony Blair. In 1998 he was paid £768,000. His personal wealth is estimated at £14 million.

He made most of his money in a director's share scheme at London Weekend Television (where he was Chief Executive) in the early 1990's. On joining the BBC he sold Granada shares worth £6 million and made £800,000 from his Pearson shares. He has a second home in Dorset with its own stables, swimming pool and football pitch.

He is one of a number of important Labour Party figures who worked at LWT, including Peter Mandelson, Lord Bragg, Trevor Phillips, Gerry Robinson and Charles Leadbetter (Demos). [12]

In the past, Dyke has referred to the BBC being 'little more than Murdoch's poodle'. [13] Before being installed at the BBC, Blair put Dyke in charge of the Government's NHS Charter Advisory Group. In his first speech at the BBC he told his staff that if they didn't like what he was going to do, "don't stay at the BBC and moan... go somewhere else!".

In the wake of the Hutton Inquiry, Dyke resigned apologizing for the mistakes in its criticism of the government. On his resignation, he received a payoff of £488,416 on top of £321,000 in salary and benefits, making a total of £809,416. [14]

After he was made to resign from the BBC, however, he has suggested 'he regrets giving the Labour party £55,000 in donations; that history "will not be on Blair's side"; and that the prime minister is not a man to be trusted.'

In serialisations in the Observer and Mail on Sunday of his forthcoming memoirs, Mr Dyke accuses Tony Blair of "duping" the country into the Iraq war, and says he was "either incompetent ... or lied when he told the House of Commons he didn't know what the 45-minute claim meant".

Mr Dyke reveals that the prime minister wrote to him and the former BBC chairman, Gavyn Davies, the day before war began, in an attempt to "bully" the BBC into a more supportive stance. And he accuses him of reneging on a deal, made to Mr Davies, that no heads should roll at the corporation. Within 36 hours of the Hutton inquiry, both Mr Dyke and Mr Davies had left following an officially sanctioned attack on them by Alastair Campbell...

...and Cherie Blair, who gave him the cold shoulder despite 20 years of friendship, and whom he reveals, asked him, when he was on the football team's board, for a discount on a Manchester United shirt for her son Euan. [15]

In the Company of Moguls

In 2004, after being made to resign from BBC, Dyke went to work on the right-Zionist Israeli American media mogul Haim Saban's German TV company ProSiebenSat.1. [16]

While Dyke's partner, Sue Howes, had declared at the Edinburgh television festival: "Greg would never work for Murdoch. Greg's got principles, thank God", Principles did not get in the way of Dyke signing a £500,000 book deal with Rupert Murdoch's publishing house HarperCollins. [17]




  1. Guardian's complete coverage of Greg Dyke


  2. Alan Jones, ‘DYKE CRITICISES TV COVERAGE OF BUSINESS AFFAIRS’, Press Association, 6 November 2000.
  3. ‘The Beeb tunes in to business’, Daily Mail, 7 November 2000.
  4. Michael Harrison, ‘Dyke appoints '£250,000-a-year' business editor’, Independent, 7 November 2000.
  5. Michael Harrison, ‘Dyke appoints '£250,000-a-year' business editor’, Independent, 7 November 2000.
  6. quoted in Adam Hill, ‘Jeff Randall: “I am paid to have trenchant views”’, PR Week, 16 June 2006.
  7. Jeff Randall, ‘A liberal agenda set by patronising do-gooders’, Independent, 7 November 2000.
  8. Jeff Randall, ‘A liberal agenda set by patronising do-gooders’, Sunday Business, 21 May 2000. Reprinted on page 5 of the Independent on 7 November 2000.
  9. Vincent Graff, ‘“You want me to slag Murdoch off”’, Guardian, 17 September 2007.
  10. Paul McCann, ‘A wolf joins the BBC fold’, The Times, 10 November 2000.
  11. Emily Bell, Janine Gibson and Georgina Henry, 'At the heart of it: a triangle that links Dyke to Blair to Murdoch', Guardian, 30 January 2004.
  12. Emily Bell, Janine Gibson and Georgina Henry, 'At the heart of it: a triangle that links Dyke to Blair to Murdoch', Guardian, 30 January 2004.
  13. Emily Bell, Janine Gibson and Georgina Henry, 'At the heart of it: a triangle that links Dyke to Blair to Murdoch', Guardian, 30 January 2004.
  14. Chris Tryhorn, 'BBC paid Dyke £800k last year', MediaGuardian, 13 July 2004.
  15. Sarah Hall and Matt Wells, '[No 10 unmoved by Dyke attack]', Guardian, 30 August 2004.
  16. Dominic Timms, 'Saban brings Dyke and Ball on board', MediaGuardian, 10 May 2004.
  17. Matt Wells, 'Dyke signs book deal with Murdoch', Guardian, 7 February 2004.