Former BBC One and Channel 4 boss Michael Grade has been confirmed as the new BBC chairman. The former BBC executive, 61, takes on a role vacated by Gavyn Davies, who resigned in the wake of criticism in the Hutton Report in January.
Mr Grade ... said ... "This is quite a day for me," he said. "I would like to thank those who appointed me for having the courage to break the mould."
Mr Grade said the editorial independence of the BBC was "paramount" in maintaining the support of the viewers and listeners. "It is my job, and the job of the whole board, to ensure that the BBC can continue to earn public and parliamentary support," he said. He said he would ensure "the provision of universally available, value for money, public service broadcasting is neither jeopardised nor marginalised". "Nothing must be allowed to deprive our children and our grandchildren of the rich experience we have come to expect and enjoy these past decades from the BBC."
BBC media correspondent Torin Douglas said the selection of Mr Grade would not be seen as the choice of a "safe pair of hands". Douglas said: "He's very much an independent person, independent of government - he believes in journalism, he believes in creative programme-making."
He told BBC News 24: "He believes in audiences watching and listening to programmes. But that does not mean he is merely a populist."
Mr Grade, a former director of BBC Television, will now have to appoint a new director general to replace Greg Dyke.
During his time as chief executive of Channel 4, Mr Grade was not afraid of controversy, being labelled "pornographer-in-chief" by the Daily Mail. (editorial note for non UK residents: Mail = a crappy conservative tabloid newspaper)
As well as being director of programmes at London Weekend Television and BBC Television, he went on to head the merged Pinewood and Shepperton film studios.
The BBC has announced that Mr Grade will be resigning from the boards of Camelot, SMG and the Television Corporation before 17 May, as well as from a number of other commercial and pro bono appointments.
His successes included driving up the audiences for such programmes as Panorama and Omnibus by clever scheduling, while Bob Geldof said nobody else would have had "the bottle" to hand over a network for 24 hours to Live Aid in 1985.
But he was not afraid to make tough decisions - like scrapping sci-fi favourite Doctor Who.
In 1988 he moved on to become chief executive of Channel 4. There, he sanctioned controversial programmes such as The Word, Eurotrash and Dyke TV.
Its controversial programming led Daily Mail columnist Paul Johnson to dub Grade the "pornographer-in-chief... a 52-year-old who grew not entirely to maturity in the 1960s".
Personally i'm quite happy with the selection, i remember channel 4 under his control had some very different and unusual shows (including i think the only proper anime series to be shown on UK terrestrial ^_^ ) and personally i welcome any alternative to what is on tv at the moment. I wonder who'll get the director general position.