News, Culture & Society

BBC boss Tim Davie ‘blocked a leading diversity champion from getting a top job at the corporation’ 

A leading diversity campaigner missed out on a top BBC job after director-general Tim Davie effectively ‘blocked’ his appointment, the Mail can reveal.

Marcus Ryder, a former head of current affairs programmes at BBC Scotland, is understood to have been a ‘preferred candidate’ to become executive editor for Newsbeat and Asian Network news.

The 50-year-old, who holds an MBE, was yesterday named one of Britain’s most influential black figures for his work as a media diversity champion. 

But sources say Mr Davie raised concerns about appointing someone who is regarded as a campaigner in the industry, meaning the move could not go ahead.

The BBC is denying the director-general slapped a ‘veto’ on his appointment.

Marcus Ryder, a former head of current affairs programmes at BBC Scotland, is understood to have been a ‘preferred candidate’ to become executive editor for Newsbeat and Asian Network news. The 50-year-old, who holds an MBE, was yesterday named one of Britain’s most influential black figures for his work as a media diversity champion. But sources say Mr Davie (pictured) raised concerns about appointing someone who is regarded as a campaigner in the industry, meaning the move could not go ahead

However a source claimed he felt ‘burnt’ by the row over Left-leaning ex-HuffPost UK editor Jess Brammar, who was appointed to run the BBC’s news operation, and ‘wasn’t up for’ another controversy.

The source told the Mail: ‘Tim’s whole problem is that we don’t hire campaigners.

‘Of course the counterargument to that is that you can leave your politics at the door and come in but I think Tim had been rather burnt by the Jess Brammar thing. He wasn’t up for the whole row going around again.’

Marcus Ryder, who has worked for the BBC and for Chinese state-owned broadcaster CGTN, currently holds a leading role at research body the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity

Marcus Ryder, who has worked for the BBC and for Chinese state-owned broadcaster CGTN, currently holds a leading role at research body the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity

On Thursday Danielle Dwyer, an assistant editor for Radio 1 and 1Xtra Newsbeat, was appointed to the role instead

On Thursday Danielle Dwyer, an assistant editor for Radio 1 and 1Xtra Newsbeat, was appointed to the role instead

The insider added that Jamie Angus, controller of BBC News output and commissioning, had wanted to hire Mr Ryder and tensions were ‘ratcheted up’ amid claims he pursued the appointment.

 Describing the situation as ‘not a very happy episode’, the source said: ‘Tim has made it clear that he is not in favour.’

On Thursday Danielle Dwyer, an assistant editor for Radio 1 and 1Xtra Newsbeat, was appointed to the role instead.

Mr Ryder, who has worked for the BBC and for Chinese state-owned broadcaster CGTN, currently holds a leading role at research body the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity.

He has co-edited a book called Black British Lives Matter, which will be published next month, and also co-wrote another book called Access All Areas: The Diversity Manifesto for TV and Beyond.

He has formerly questioned BBC rules blocking black journalists from attending Black Lives Matter events and asked why there are ‘so few senior people of colour’ at leading broadcasting corporations.

 Earlier this year, he also waded into the row over Miss Brammar, writing that reports BBC board member Sir Robbie Gibb had tried to block her appointment were ‘serious’.

Earlier this year, Mr Ryder also waded into the row over Jess Brammar (pictured), writing that reports BBC board member Sir Robbie Gibb had tried to block her appointment were ‘serious’

Earlier this year, Mr Ryder also waded into the row over Jess Brammar (pictured), writing that reports BBC board member Sir Robbie Gibb had tried to block her appointment were ‘serious’

Mr Ryder, who is understood to have had three interviews relating to the role, told the Mail that he was approached by the BBC to apply for the position.

‘As far as I’m aware, I don’t know anybody who blocked me. But I obviously didn’t get the job,’ he said. ‘I would be very happy to address any issues anybody has with regards to my impartiality.’

Mr Ryder added that he had not advocated anything about diversity that went against the BBC policies.

‘As far as I’m aware, I don’t know anybody who blocked me. But I obviously didn’t get the job,’ he said. ‘I would be very happy to address any issues anybody has with regards to my impartiality.’

Mr Ryder added that he had not advocated anything about diversity that went against the BBC policies.

And he said that when he had been critical of BBC editorial decisions – such as during the row over Naga Munchetty’s comments about Donald Trump – the corporation had reversed their decision.

Mr Ryder added that he had not advocated anything about diversity that went against the BBC policies. And he said that when he had been critical of BBC editorial decisions – such as during the row over Naga Munchetty’s comments about Donald Trump – the corporation had reversed their decision

Mr Ryder added that he had not advocated anything about diversity that went against the BBC policies. And he said that when he had been critical of BBC editorial decisions – such as during the row over Naga Munchetty’s comments about Donald Trump – the corporation had reversed their decision

‘It’s the first I have heard of this. I really hope it’s not true,’ he said.

The BBC said that, after not appointing anyone through an external process, it then carried out an internal recruitment search which saw Miss Dwyer appointed.

A spokesman added: ‘It is wrong to suggest any veto has been exercised on any candidate.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk