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Richard Sambrook leaving the BBC

November 30, 2009

It’s only now at the end of a busy day doing internetty stuff and then blogging about Finland’s Eurovision multiplatform thing, I realise my tweet at the beginning of the day about the BBC’s Director of Global News Richard Sambrook’s departure may have been interpreted by Bill Thompson in a slightly negative light. Certainly when I read his retweet I do wince a little. It reads like I’m rubbing my hands together with glee.

I’m not of course. And no, before you think it, I’m not backpedalling either.

As it happens, Mr Sambrook’s departure hit me (and a handful of others around me at work) a little hard.

“Richard Sambrook’s LEAVING?” said one colleague incredulously, “Is that a joke?”

It did seem a little odd. It seemed wrong to say out loud too. It was almost like informing a classroom full of kindergarten attendees that Santa wasn’t real and their parents were liars. You just wouldn’t say it. Even if it’s true.

Now I come to write this, I’m reminded of one thought I had earlier on today about the whole thing. Various comments I’d seen on Twitter and messages posted on Facebook made it seem as though Mr Sambrook had died. Obviously this isn’t the case – @sambrook was observed on the tube train home from Television Centre this evening – but it does illustrate something which has gone overlooked as far as I’m concerned: that’s to what extent us BBC bunch forget we live in a special “hive”. When one of the hive is set to leave, it’s little wonder those of us more sensitive types feel a little sad. I haven’t felt this way since a lady who used to work in the newsagent shop my mum used to run announced she was leaving because she was pregnant. I was gutted. I communicated my irritation too. I was nine years old at the time.

The reality is that I have spent no more an accumulated thirty minutes in the company of Richard Sambrook. I don’t claim to know him at all. And yet, there’s a connection.

I’m nothing special, in that I’m not the only one. There are plenty of others who feel the same way. I’m just shameless in being blatant about it.

He somehow seems to represent the kind of BBC I wanted to work for, the Corporation I find myself a part of and the place I hope will nurture the same kind of people. It needs to. An organisation as brilliant to work for as the BBC (yes, I realise I’m biassed) needs people like him otherwise it’s going to get a bit up itself, assuming you don’t think it’s up itself already. Senior people comfortable to connect with the ground-troops. That’s what’s important, vital in fact.

A man in touch with reality. Yeah, we’re pleased for you Mr Sambrook. We’re kind of pleased for your future employers and we wish you luck in your future projects, naturally. But like Tom Baker’s departure from Doctor Who, we just hoped it might have been longer.

And no. I’m not backpedalling. And I’m not licking wotnot either.

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One Comment
  1. Richard S permalink

    Bah, Humbug! 😉

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