I don't want to dig up that tedious old story about Brand and Ross. However, I thought Joan Bakewell's article on the incident had a fascinating description of today's BBC. I also thought it encapsulates New Labour's vision of how UK industry should be managed:
"Today the BBC has no makeup department or costume design, no prop making or set building; it has all been outsourced. The people who swarm through its doors today are planners and marketing people, press officers and managers. There are currently some 600-700 independent programme-making companies, employing about 4,000 people - and making up an increasing share of the broadcasting output.
Many of these independents are staffed by people who have never worked in the BBC or any of the ITV companies. They may have been to one of the numerous courses in journalism, but there are plenty who have not, and who possess no grasp of libel law or the industry's own constraints on what can be said and done. The 25-year-old who was ostensibly the producer of Russell Brand's Radio 2 programme was employed by one such company: Brand's own.
Not only is television's workforce disparate - it is also shifting. Just when you might have been in a job long enough to absorb something of an operating ethic, there are take-overs, sackings, mergers, management restructuring. They don't happen once. They happen all the time. Where in this organisational mayhem do recruits learn the basic probity that once came with the weekly payslip? Why and how should anyone build up any sense of loyalty when their lives are so precarious?"