Mark Thompson, the director-general of the BBC, put himself up for some close public scrutiny yesterday when he agreed to answer questions from Telegraph.co.uk readers live on the site.
“I can’t, off the top of my head, think of a more potentially hostile environment for him,” writes Currybet’s Martin Belam in his excellent summary of the event. However, he notes that Thompson got a relatively easy ride in the Q&A.
Judging by the questions posed, the application of regional and clipped RP accents across the Corporation appears to be one of the main issues of contention for the readers of the online version of The Telegraph.
A few questions – offering enough for more than a cursory skim read – about criticism of the coverage of the Madeleine McCann story and Parliamentary scrutiny, did pop up. But these were subjects that the DG could tuck into with gusto.
A question about access to BBC TV in Australia got this interesting answer:
“I would like to be able to offer people around the world on demand access to more of the BBC’s domestic content – and maybe to complete home services. We’re working on that.”
The Telegraph’s Shane Richmond notes: “We let our Q&A guests choose the questions they answer and our more cynical readers will probably argue that the more difficult questions are overlooked.”
It’s something to bear in mind. On the whole the questions selected were of the reactionary kind and easy for a shrug off – I would have liked to see more sustained questions about the Corporation throwing money at platforms, channels and programming that painfully attempts to reach out to certain demographics with little or no obvious success – yes, BBC3 – what are you for?