Moore or less in the fray to head the BBC

(Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)
(Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)

By Amit Roy

THE newly ennobled Charles Moore is being tipped, along with a number of other people, among them Andrew Neil, as the next chairman of the BBC.

Oddly enough, I worked for both Andrew and Charles – the former when he edited the Sun­day Times, the latter when he was editor of the Sunday Telegraph and then the Daily Telegraph, where he is now a columnist.

Andrew has ruled himself out, although I expect the new direc­tor-general, Tim Davie, to give him back some kind of high-pro­file politics show.

Charles comes across as a right-wing critic of the BBC and especially of the licence fee which he once refused to pay. I have known Charles since he joined the Daily Telegraph as a young leader writer, going on to become editor of the Spectator.

Despite appearances to the contrary, he is a man of liberal instincts, very civilised and with a sense of humour. I always looked forward to Tuesday morning news conferences at the Sunday Telegraph when we would pitch ideas for the paper that week. He would treat my increasingly ec­centric story ideas with exceptional indulgence. On one occasion he insisted I should attend Ra­mola Bachchan’s parties at her home in Hampstead to report on the burgeoning British Indian social scene. So I would not wor­ry too much if Lord Moore were to become BBC chairman.

Perhaps the next chairman should do something about cut­ting BBC salaries. Gary Linekar’s is coming down by £400,000 but he will still be paid £1.35 million. Zoe Ball will get £1,364,999; Gra­ham Norton £729,999; Fiona Bruce £464,999; and Vanessa Feltz £409,999. Most viewers will wonder whether such high sala­ries can ever be justified in a public service broadcaster fund­ed out of the licence fee.

Though these are still very generous salaries, it is hard in the circumstances to quibble with the £329,999 paid to George Ala­giah; £269,999 to Mishal Husain; £209,999 to Amol Rajan; £199,999 to Naga Munchetty; £184,999 to Reeta Chakrabarti; and £159,999 to Faisal Islam.

I believe there would be no loss of quality if the BBC set £100,000 as the upper limit for salaries – for both men and women.