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David Dimbleby hints at applying to become BBC chairman

David Dimbleby hints at applying to become BBC chairman
© BBC
David Dimbleby suggests that he may throw his hat in the ring for the upcoming vacancy of BBC chairman.

Veteran broadcaster David Dimbleby has suggested that he is considering applying for the role of BBC chairman.

The corporation is in need of a new chair when Sir David Clementi steps down in early 2021, and that appointment - to be made by the government - is seen as crucial as the BBC enters a critical period that will determine its long-term future.

Newspaper reports over the last few weeks have suggested that Charles Moore - a former editor of The Telegraph and a vocal critic of the BBC - is the government's first choice, prompting a horrified Dimbleby to mull throwing his hat into the ring.

Moore has since denied that he is interested in the role, but the 81-year-old former Question Time host remains concerned about the overall direction of travel.

"Boris Johnson wants to bring the BBC to heel and we don't want a chairman who connives in that ambition," he told the BBC's Newscast podcast.

"I didn't want somebody with Charles Moore's views. As I've read them over and over again, in The Telegraph, in The Spectator, his views on gay marriage, his views on race relations [but] to become chairman of the BBC, I think you need somebody with a much more open mind.

"I think that his appointment as chairman would have been a malign intervention by the prime minister, and I'm glad it fell apart."

"I still might [apply], depending on who comes forward," he added. "You want somebody in charge of the BBC who is sympathetic not to the BBC as an institution but to the concept of the BBC as reflecting the whole richness of British life."

A government spokesperson said: "We will launch the application process for the new chair of the BBC shortly. It is an open recruitment process and all public appointments are subject to a robust and fair selection criteria."

Others thought to be in the frame include former culture secretary Nicky Morgan, former home secretary Amber Rudd and Theresa May's former communications head Robbie Gibb.

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