Tony Garnett • The BBC Files

Tony Garnett on the BBC Files

I spent money I could ill afford trying to retrieve documents relevant to me in the BBC archives, especially in the 70s. The staff were relentlessly courteous but infuriatingly retentive. As usual with the BBC one doesn’t know what one doesn’t know, and they’re not telling.

But in among the irrelevant detritus are some nuggets. I write in my memoir about the role of MI5 deciding who should and should not be employed in “your” BBC. In these documents are some hints of the internal battles, going right up to the Director General, around my employment, with the Drama Heads fighting a rearguard action against those who wanted me out. This for 6 hours of dramatic fiction a year, against the thousands of hours of “acceptable” programmes!!

What follows is a glimpse behind the facade, into the private conversations of senior management.

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