Entwistle vows to keep BBC’s creativity culture in face of cuts

George Entwistle began his term as the BBC’s Director General September 17, which included interviews on various BBC programmes, including Radio 4’s Today programme.

George Entwistle began his term as the BBC’s Director General September 17, which included interviews on various BBC programmes, including Radio 4’s Today programme. Entwistle has put his vision forward for the future of the world’s most-loved broadcaster. “I want to try to lead the BBC in a way that re-invokes the pride I believe we all felt on our first day,” Entwistle said, “the sense that this is the place where we can all do our best work for an organisation I’m still proud to describe as intrinsically valuable, fundamentally worthwhile.”

However, Entwistle had a concern on the priority of the culture of creativity, which he emphasised in his beginning remarks. “Starting today, I intend to change the way we’re led to put the emphasis where it belongs,” Entwistle said. “On creative people doing creative things; on our audiences and the exceptional quality of work they deserve.”

Entwistle added that he wanted to change the view of the conversation of making things better. “In my time at the BBC, I also worry that I’ve seen the quality of our own critical conversations decline,” Entwistle said. “I’ve seen a culture emerge where only the experts are encouraged to say what they think. This isn’t healthy. We’re all consumers of modern media and we’re all qualified to have an opinion. We all know when a character in a drama isn’t convincingly drawn; we’re all entitled to point it out when a reporter misuses the word ‘refute’.”

Entwistle added he would be working with editors and producers across the BBC to find out how content can be made better, and how the organisation can move forward. “I think it’s vital we re-establish, in private, the practice of robust self-criticism, that we become more demanding of ourselves in order to make our output better still,” Entwistle said.

Entwistle’s emphasis on creativity represents the re-establishment of a core idea at the BBC—creativity is important to audiences. Yet, in the face of Delivering Quality First, additions to the licence fee and a royal charter in a few years time, can the BBC continue to achieve the creativity it is well known for? Moreover, how will the cuts reflect on the culture of creativity internationally, as the BBC’s top audiences outside the UK are Africa, and the country where this article originates from, the United States?

The BBC is renowned for its creativity. It inspires, informs, educates and entertains millions of people across the continents. There’s a reason why people smile when they interact with someone who works at the BBC. The consumer gets a great sense of pride in being a part of the culture of creativity because of the respect given to the BBC’s work across its journalistic and entertainment portfolios.

As Entwistle said in his speech, it is the BBC’s staff which is at the core of this principle. “What we have created here at the BBC is a brilliant culture through which money intended for creative production is converted into high quality output,” Entwistle said. “In a lot of places we do the production ourselves, through BBC staff and the amazing tradition of public service to which they are the heirs.”

The BBC can, and the BBC will be, a creative place for many years to come—and George Entwistle will lead that creativity.