Broadcaster Martin Bell brands BBC ‘catastrophic’ as fallout continues from Jimmy Saville sex scandal
Broadcast legend Martin Bell yesterday called the situation at the BBC “catastrophic” and claimed it would take years to the institution to recover.
He has called for a trusted employee such as Jeremy Paxman or David Dimbleby to step into the role as director general or for Greg Dyke to make a return.
Mr Bell, 74, was speaking in Bristol where he was lending his support to George Ferguson, an independent candidate for the city’s mayoral election.
He said: “It is catastrophic what’s been going on at the BBC. I joined 50 years ago and this is its worst crisis I’ve seen.
“It undervalues the trust and has been a team effort from Jimmy Savile to the latest situation.
“You can’t underestimate how much this is affecting the morale of the staff at the BBC. It makes it very difficult to make you proud of who you work for.
“It is very easy to dismantle a reputation and hard to rebuild it. This is going to take years.”
Mr Bell joined the BBC in Norwich as a news assistant in 1962 and reported from 90 countries and 11 wars, including Sarajevo when he was wounded by mortar fire in 1992.
He added: “The situation with George Entwistle was scandalous. If I came back for one month, they could fire me and I wouldn’t ask for a penny.
“The obvious candidate to replace Entwistle would be Greg Dyke if he was allowed to come back. He was popular and had the touch.
“David Dimbleby or Jeremy Paxman would also be good candidates as people trust them.
“It shouldn’t be an unknown bureaucrat but someone who people trust.”