“If I was asked to go back, of course I would”

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 by

To mark the second anniversary of the publication of the Hutton Report, yesterday’s Independent rustled up a where-are-they-now? inventory of all the main players. Tellingly absent from Greg Dyke’s biography was, well, pretty much anything of note.

Sure, he’s become Chancellor of York University and, as the text shamelessly reminds readers, “writes for The Independent”, but you can’t help feeling that for the greatest Director-General of his generation and one of the TV industry’s master schedulers, this really isn’t good enough. What’s the man got to show for the past 24 months, other than essaying an underwhelming attempt at hosting Have I Got News For You? and penning a voluminous memoir mostly taken up with Blair bashing?

In the weeks following his sacking, Dyke was linked with pretty much every broadcasting job going, in particular taking over ITV. Nowadays his name’s not dropped at all. It’s a real shame, because the man clearly still has a flair and passion for telly, knows precisely what works and what doesn’t on the small screen, and has a damn sight more charisma and insight than virtually all the people currently running British television.

Maybe he has been deluged with offers from broadcasters seeking his counsel and participation, and he just can’t be arsed. Maybe he was so hurt by the manner of his departure that it’s too big a step to return to his old stamping ground. Even so, imagine how different a place ITV would be now if he had answered the call. Or Channel 4 for that matter, if he’d taken over as Chairman.

Whatever, his boisterous patter and avuncular personality are sorely missed both on and off camera. Even if he doesn’t fancy running British telly, he’d still do us a huge favour by appearing on it. And that’s in any capacity, frankly. After all, the sight of Dyke, sleeves rolled-up, on the Ten O’clock News the night the power failed in Television Centre to report that all was well, as if he’d fixed the faulty wiring in person, was priceless.


Comments are closed.