Will Gary Lineker save the BBC’s sacked musicians?News
The BBC is writhing once more in a crisis of its own making, having summarily suspended its most popular presenter, the footballer Gary Lineker over an unrelated tweet. Most of Lineker’s colleagues walked away in sympathy. BBC sports overage is now paralysed.
The BBC’s head of orchestras, meanwhile, has entered discussions with the Musicians Union over his peremptory plan to sack the BBC Singers and replace 47 salaried orchestral players with freelancers. Simon Webb told the Feedback programme on Friday that the plan is, in effect, non-negotiable.
Both crises emanate from decisions by the hapless-looking director-general Tim Davie. Last November, Davie said the BBC orchestras will need to seek economies and earn part of their funding outside the BBC. He is now attempting to find a face-saving solution with Lineker while his own job appears increasingly insecure. The politically appointed chairman’s position is also tenuous.
If Lineker brings down Davie, will the cull of musicians still go ahead?
Short term, probably not. The upper echelons of the BBC will be preoccupied with finding new leadership and Webb’s own job will hang by a thread. The only way he can save it is by coming up with alternative funding for the BBC orchestras, as Davie demanded. Webb, in his short career, has shown little success at commercial ventures or fundraising. A self-generated solution is unlikely. The orchestras will be kicked into touch, for a while.
Count that as 1-0 to Lineker as we go in for half-time.
Elsewhere, Murdoch’s Sky is breaking open the bubbly.