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Tim Davie 'offers to meet' Marcus Ryder over BBC job 'block' claims

BBC boss Tim Davie offers to meet prominent black media executive over claims he was ‘blocked’ from senior Radio 1 role after speaking out on BLM

  • Marcus Ryder said to have been effectively ‘blocked’ from BBC role by Tim Davie
  • Mr Ryder, 50, is a former head of current affairs programmes at BBC Scotland
  • But sources told Daily Mail last week there were concerns about ‘campaigning’
  • He has questioned BBC rules blocking black journalists attending BLM events
  • Now the Guardian reports Mr Davie has ‘offered to meet’ Mr Ryder after claims 

BBC boss Tim Davie has reportedly offered to meet a prominent black media executive over claims he effectively ‘blocked’ him from a senior role working with Radio 1.

Marcus Ryder, a former head of current affairs programmes at BBC Scotland, is understood to have been a ‘preferred candidate’ to become executive editor for  Radio 1’s Newsbeat bulletins and the news service of the Asian Network.

The 50-year-old, who holds an MBE, was last week named one of Britain’s most influential black figures for his work as a media diversity champion.

But sources told the Daily Mail last week that Mr Davie raised concerns about appointing someone who is regarded as a ‘campaigner’ in the industry, meaning the move could not go ahead.

Mr Ryder has formerly questioned BBC rules blocking black journalists from attending Black Lives Matter events and asked why there are ‘so few senior people of colour’ at leading broadcasting corporations.

But along editorial lines, Mr Ryder said he had only publicly disagreed with the BBC twice since leaving the corporation. 

Marcus Ryder (pictured), a former head of current affairs programmes at BBC Scotland, is understood to have been a ‘preferred candidate’ to become executive editor for Newsbeat and Asian Network news

Sources told the Daily Mail last week that Tim Davie (pictured) raised concerns about appointing someone who is regarded as a ‘campaigner’ in the industry, meaning the move could not go ahead

Mr Ryder today told the Guardian he had only twice publicly disagreed with the BBC’s editorial lines since leaving the corporation (pictured: The BBC Head Office in London)

One was over the censuring of BBC presenter Naga Munchetty over her on-air comments about then US-President Donald Trump. 

The other was when the BBC broadcast a presenter saying the N-word in full during a report about a racially aggravated attack in Bristol.

He posted on Twitter on Friday, when news of his ‘blocking’ by Mr Davie was reported in the Daily Mail, saying: ‘Diversity and inclusion is not a campaigning issue’.

The BBC denies the director-general slapped a ‘veto’ on his appointment.  

And today the Guardian reports that Mr Davie, the BBC’s director general, has offered to meet with Mr Ryder following the reports.

People with knowledge of the BBC’s recruitment process reportedly told the paper that executives were concerned that the government would perceive Mr Ryder’s potential appointment as ‘controversial’.

A source previously claimed Mr Davie felt ‘burnt’ by the row over Left-leaning ex-HuffPost UK editor Jess Brammar, who was appointed to run the BBC’s news operation, and ‘wasn’t up for’ another controversy.

The source told the Mail: ‘Tim’s whole problem is that we don’t hire campaigners.

‘Of course the counterargument to that is that you can leave your politics at the door and come in but I think Tim had been rather burnt by the Jess Brammar thing. He wasn’t up for the whole row going around again.’

On Thursday Danielle Dwyer, an assistant editor for Radio 1 and 1Xtra Newsbeat, was appointed to the role instead

The insider added that Jamie Angus, controller of BBC News output and commissioning, had wanted to hire Mr Ryder and tensions were ‘ratcheted up’ amid claims he pursued the appointment.

Describing the situation as ‘not a very happy episode’, the source said: ‘Tim has made it clear that he is not in favour.’

On Thursday Danielle Dwyer, an assistant editor for Radio 1 and 1Xtra Newsbeat, was appointed to the role instead.

Mr Ryder, who has worked for the BBC and for Chinese state-owned broadcaster CGTN, currently holds a leading role at research body the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity.

He has co-edited a book called Black British Lives Matter, which will be published next month, and also co-wrote another book called Access All Areas: The Diversity Manifesto for TV and Beyond.

Earlier this year, Mr Ryder also waded into the row over Jess Brammar (pictured), writing that reports BBC board member Sir Robbie Gibb had tried to block her appointment were ‘serious’

He has formerly questioned BBC rules blocking black journalists from attending Black Lives Matter events and asked why there are ‘so few senior people of colour’ at leading broadcasting corporations.

 Earlier this year, he also waded into the row over Miss Brammar, writing that reports BBC board member Sir Robbie Gibb had tried to block her appointment were ‘serious’.

Mr Ryder, who is understood to have had three interviews relating to the role, told the Mail that he was approached by the BBC to apply for the position.

‘As far as I’m aware, I don’t know anybody who blocked me. But I obviously didn’t get the job,’ he said. ‘I would be very happy to address any issues anybody has with regards to my impartiality.’

Mr Ryder added that he had not advocated anything about diversity that went against the BBC policies.

‘As far as I’m aware, I don’t know anybody who blocked me. But I obviously didn’t get the job,’ he said. ‘I would be very happy to address any issues anybody has with regards to my impartiality.’

Mr Ryder added that he had not advocated anything about diversity that went against the BBC policies.

And he said that when he had been critical of BBC editorial decisions – such as during the row over Naga Munchetty’s comments about Donald Trump – the corporation had reversed their decision.

Mr Ryder added that he had not advocated anything about diversity that went against the BBC policies. And he said that when he had been critical of BBC editorial decisions – such as during the row over Naga Munchetty’s comments about Donald Trump – the corporation had reversed their decision

‘It’s the first I have heard of this. I really hope it’s not true,’ he said.

The BBC said that, after not appointing anyone through an external process, it then carried out an internal recruitment search which saw Miss Dwyer appointed.

Before the new appointment was confirmed, the BBC had said of the process: ‘We’d never comment on who has or hasn’t applied for a job.

‘After an external search, BBC News has decided that as this role is bringing together departments from across the country, we are looking for an internal candidate with an existing understanding of the BBC, so are not taking forward any external candidates for this particular post.

‘This is a BBC News decision. It is wrong to suggest any veto has been exercised on any candidate.’  

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