Reverse Gear – Public Relations #5
Before reading! Please note that this is a staged and fictitious story (albeit based on some truths) for the purpose of an Advanced Toastmasters Public Relations Speech.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen of the press. My first task as interim director-general of the BBC is not a pleasant one. What I am about to divulge, is the real reason for Lord Hall’s resignation from his much loved role.
It has been reported that Lord Hall resigned due to continued death threats over the dismissal of Jeremy Clarkeson from the payroll of the BBC. This is not true. He did not resign for that reason. I am grateful therefore for this opportunity to clear up any misconceptions; explain what has happened and tell you what I am going to do about it.
The offence investigated as per the company policies and procedures was that of Mr Clarkeson having hit another employee. The incident was reported by Mr Clarkeson, Lord Hall suspended Mr Clarkeson pending an internal investigation which took place by Ken MacQuarrie – the Chair of BBC Scotland.
Lord Hall took the decision not to renew Mr Clarkeson’s contract.
However, what the police uncovered in their investigation was that the fracas was a staged ruse that got out of hand.
Mr Clarkeson, Mr May, Mr Hammond and Mr Tymon had been joking about creating a pseudo drama, something akin to the drama that take place in popular programmes like the X-Factor. Mr Tymon was party to the plan. His split lip was not. When Mr Tymon went to hospital Mr Clarkeson reported the incident to the management and was subsequently suspended pending that investigation.
Sadly this embarrassing revelation did not come out in the internal investigation which put Lord Hall in a difficult position following his announcement not to renew Mr Clarkeson’s contract especially as all involved had kept quiet as to their involvement in the scam thinking Mr Clarkeson was immune to the potential consequences.
Lord Hall started to introduce ways in which both the BBC and Mr Clarkeson could emerge from this debacle saving face. That is until he realised that there were too many implications to juggle alongside this lie. I refer specifically to the Top Gear Road Show, Mr May and Mr Hammond’s contracts, and then the final straw was the tweeted death threats to our much loved presenter of the Great British Bake Off, Sue Perkins.
Lord Hall realised that this stupid ruse that went wrong; was made much worse by his own attempts to cover it up. Therefore, he has chosen to step aside to allow the BBC to recover the situation and restore the Top Gear brand.
This morning, I have been in talks with all those involved in presenting and producing Top Gear and I’m pleased to confirm new contracts have been drawn up for all those involved in the programme including Mr Clarkeson.
My job, over the next 6 months is to reestablish the Top Gear brand. The show is one of the corporation’s most popular with more than five million viewers tuning in every week. It is also one of the BBC’s most profitable commodities, generating about £50m a year for the corporation’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide.
Aside from rescuing the commercial element, my role is to ensure our personnel investigation practices and grievance procedures are robust.
I know there will be as many of the public aghast by Mr Clarkeson’s reinstatement as there will be those who are delighted. I have chosen to take this action based on what is right and fair.
This announcement draws a line under this incident, so that the BBC and producers of Top Gear can get on with delivering what they are, truly brilliant at – Great Entertaining Programmes.
This news update is I suspect unexpected and most unusual. I’m sure you have questions … We have around four minutes.