11 NOVEMBER 2000, Page 32

A shock for Auntie

JEFF Randall is an experienced City edi- tor who has made a great success of Sun- day Business, so he must come as a terrible shock to the British Broadcasting Corpo- ration. He has been installed as the BBC's business editor, supposedly its first. Secure in its own private income, financed at the public expense by a species of poll tax, the BBC tends to give the impression that vul- gar commerce is beneath it. The implica- tion is that if God had thought riches worth having, He would not have given them to those who have got them. They are all very well as a subject for newspa- pers, which have City editors and City pages, but they are not always or consis- tently the BBC's idea of news. Apart from anything else, they don't photograph well. That stock picture of the Bank of England, looking like a cheese-mould, overprinted with + '14' to show that interest rates have gone up. . . . Greg Dyke, the new direc- tor-general, has brought Mr Randall in to change all this. I do hope his appointment will not disturb Peter Jay, who (as his entry in Who's Who attests) has been the BBC's economics and business editor since 1990. If Mr Dyke has not registered this, it may be because Mr Jay has just returned from a year out, when he was making a film about wealth and writing the book of the film. Mr Randall may spend more time in the office.