Tony Hall takes up role of BBC director general

TONY Hall will begin the job of repairing the BBC’s battered reputation when he takes up the role of director general today.

Lord Hall, who started out as a BBC trainee 40 years ago, will spend his first day in the office speaking to staff at the corporation, which has been beset with problems since the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal came to light.

The former BBC news executive knows he also has low staff morale to contend with, highlighted by last week’s strike in a row over jobs, workload and claims of bullying.

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When previous director general George Entwistle stepped down after a Conservative peer was mistakenly implicated in child abuse claims on BBC2’s Newsnight, Lord Hall was the only candidate contacted by the BBC Trust. Before being offered the £450,000-a-year post, Lord Hall had been chief executive of the Royal Opera House.

He has admitted there is “a lot of hard work ahead” and said he planned to create a team that would “define the BBC and public service broadcasting for the next decade”.

Broadcaster and media consultant Steve Hewlett said: “In a sense, he couldn’t have a better start – arriving when it’s all gone wrong, and it’s not your fault. If you’ve got an idea of what to do about it, it’s not a bad position to be in.

“There’s the sense things can only improve. He knows the organisation. He’s no fool.. If anyone can do this, he’s the top of the list. I’ve confidence it will go well.”