The BBC’s creative director has stepped down, following concerns about his handling of the Kids Company charity.
Few will regret the departure of a man who wielded too much power, often unwisely, and clung on long past his sell-by.
Alan Yentob is 68. We wish him a happy semi-retirement.
He will, it has emerged, continue to produce and present the arts-puff series, Imagine.
As chairman of Kids Company, Yentob warned of social mayhem if the celeb-fronted charity was allowed to collapse. He also sought to influence BBC news programmes in their coverage of the fiasco. Stern resistance by Newsnight exposed his machinations. Many expected him to be fired, but D-G Tony Hall showed signs of having an emotional dependency on Yentob and was unable to pull the trigger.
Yentob’s resignation has relieved him of that unpleasant duty but leaves Lord Hall further weakened. Hall called Yentob today ‘a towering figure in television, the arts, and a creative force for good for Britain.’
That’s not a view widely shared within the BBC, let alone beyond.
UPDATE: Last week, Tim Davie, head of BBC Worldwide, was cross-examined by a House of Commons select committee over the share of revenues that Yentob might be taking from international sales of the Imagine series.