obituaries: Sir John Drummond and Anne Gregg

September 10, 2006

Interesting obits in the Telegraph the other morning in which the BBC doesn’t exactly cover itself in glory.

‘He (Drummond) also found that the BBC governors had little interest in music. One of them asked him why the BBC needed its music library: “I thought musicians played from memory.”…..
With the advent of John Birt as director-general, Drummond felt that he was living in an increasingly alien world. Asked by Drummond what he thought of the BBC’s orchestras, Birt replied: “They are a variable resource centre whose viability depends on the business plan of the Controller of Radio 3.” Drummond devoted the 1994 and 1995 seasons to the centenary of the Proms and commissioned works from Elliott Carter, Berio, Birtwistle, Maxwell Davies and others. The Birtwistle piece, performed on the Last Night in 1995, was Panic, for saxophone and orchestra, an abrasive and uncompromising work lasting nearly 20 minutes; the BBC switchboard was swamped with several thousand protesting calls from listeners and viewers. John Drummond was appointed CBE in 1990 and knighted in 1995. The BBC’s corporate press release for the Honours List made no mention of his knighthood. When asked why, the corporation said that, as the citation was “for services to music”, the award had nothing to do with the BBC.’

‘Anne Gregg was, according to the Daily Mail sacked as presenter of the Holiday programe.
“There were suggestions that, at 51, she was a victim of “ageism” (she was succeeded by Anneka Rice), and viewers who appreciated Anne Gregg’s warmth and straightforward delivery were not impressed: the BBC received more than 1,000 complaints, placing her case an honourable seventh in the Corporation’s annual list of grumbles (it was sandwiched between bad language and an evening of programmes about homosexuality on BBC2). Oldies up in arms, eh.
Anne Gregg maintained that she was “not sour” about the circumstances of her departure, although she added: “The surprising thing is I am being asked to move when I have registered the highest audience appreciation figures for any presenter ever on the series.”‘
I’m trying to remember which announcer it was who was supposed to have said ‘This is the British Broadcorping Castration’…

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One Response to “obituaries: Sir John Drummond and Anne Gregg”

  1. Adrian Boyce Says:

    It is with deep and profound sadness That I learn of Anne Gregg’s death.

    I always enjoyed her presentation style and admired her professionalism on the Holiday Program.

    I have known of Anne Gregg all my life but never had the pleasure of meeting her, although, I have met her mother, brother and late father.

    She was a relative on my father’s side and was only a few years older than me.

    I always had the feeling that I would never meet with her.

    I suppose that our paths never crossed was just one of those things in life that one doesn’t bother with until it’s too late.

    Perhaps, we should all make an effort to communicate with those whom we think about at times but never get around to actually doing it, especially as we get older.


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