Lord Michael Grade has admitted that he has “kept his hat in the ring” for the position of Ofcom chair, after having had “second thoughts” about applying.
“I became suspicious of the process, until I realised Sue Gray was back in charge of the appointment after her ‘partygate’ exertions,” the former head of the BBC, 78, said, in an interview in the Telegraph.
“I was fully reassured and am now happy to keep my hat in the ring.”
The process to fill the senior position at the media regulator has been marred by a series of delays since it began two years ago.
After an initial round of interviews failed to produce a suitable candidate, renewed efforts to fill the position are now under way again.
The former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre withdrew his application despite reportedly being Boris Johnson’s preferred candidate, claiming the civil service had influenced the process to his disadvantage because of his right-of-centre “convictions”.
Grade also criticised the BBC’s tone in its coverage of certain political events as “too aggressive” and “gleeful and disrespectful”.
The Conservative peer, who was appointed by David Cameron in 2010 and has also held top jobs at Channel 4 and ITV, said the corporation was right to hold the government to account and that he was “not questioning [the BBC’s] news values” or objectivity, but stressed that he felt its “macho culture” was “unnecessary”.
He told the Daily Telegraph: “They’re right to hold the prime minister to account. I have no problem with that.
“But there seems to be a sense at the BBC that if you ask difficult questions politely, your colleagues are going to say: ‘You let him or her off the hook’.
“It’s a macho culture. It’s unnecessary, and I don’t like it.”