|THE CONTENDERLOS ANGELESHOLLYWOOD|
The door slams shut today on applications for one of the biggest jobs in global broadcasting: running the BBC. Resumes have been dusted off and the BBC’s headhunters have been courting interest as the corporation seeks to replace Tony Hall as director general after he announced his departure in January.
It’s not been the most electrifying of races to date, with a number of industry insiders observing that the recruitment process has been quiet. There have been no shock candidates, no big pitches for the job. But that could all change in an instant as the BBC chairman Sir David Clementi edges closer to a decision.
Hall’s successor faces a gargantuan task. The to-do list includes, but is not limited to: Grappling with a government that seems determined to undermine the BBC’s funding, slashing costs, securing the success of commercial arm BBC Studios, cleaning up a rumbling equal pay dispute, closing the diversity gap, and bringing a new generation of young audiences to the BBC’s output. All of this, while there are unprecedented threats from U.S. media giants like Netflix, Amazon and Apple.
Below is a run-down of how things are shaping up in the battle to become the BBC’s next director general. It is by no means an exhaustive list of candidates as there may be other names yet to emerge. We will keep this post updated as things develop, so check back for updates.
POTENTIALLY IN PLAY
Tim Davie: Sources have told Deadline that the BBC Studios CEO is sweet on the idea of succeeding Tony Hall having done the job on an interim basis in 2012. He has so far declined to comment on the process. Bizarrely, he would probably have to take a salary cut to step up: His total pay was £642,000 $826,000 last year, while Hall took home £450,000.
Charlotte Moore: The BBC’s director of content remains a much-fancied internal candidate, but according to BBC insiders, she is keeping her cards close to her chest about whether she is gunning for the top job. Many have pointed to her content credentials, but others have questioned whether she has the political and strategic nous to handle a hostile government.
Jay Hunt: Apple’s creative director of worldwide video has a healthy level of support from certain BBC insiders, with her ability to make tough decisions seen as an advantage. Sources have suggested that she will only commit to the recruitment process if asked. Hunt declined to comment when approached by Deadline.
Alex Mahon: Channel 4’s CEO has joined a long line of predecessors in being linked with a move to the BBC. A source said she is “fully committed” to Channel 4, but did not gone as far as ruling her out of the running.
Jane Turton: All3Media’s chief executive has been contacted by headhunters for the BBC....
As if you needed one more reason to love Lulu Wang, the Independent Spirit Award-winning filmmaker behind last year’s hit tragi-comedy “The Farewell” can now add one more title to her growing list of accolades: Grassroots organizer. After hearing about the dangerous shortage of personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks, the Los Angeles-based director took to Twitter to crowd-source any extra supplies non-essential personnel may have laying around.
Over the weekend, Wang tweeted: “If you live in LA and have any unopened boxes of these masks please DM me. I will make you a cocktail in person when this is all over...!” The response from her 67,000 followers was far greater than she had expected. Much to her surprise, Wang and her friends have been able to collect over 1,000 masks and gloves so far, with three more donation drop-offs scheduled.
Speaking to Slate, Wang said she heard about the PPE shortage from a friend’s sister, an ER doctor who worked at a hospital that was telling doctors to find their own protective gear. They were given only a small stipend, and the limited supply of masks on sale are being marked up enormously.
“These doctors were not able to get enough masks, and a lot of them [were] using masks that were not a surgical grade, not using N95 masks, and sometimes having to just reuse the same mask over and over again. I think they were scared,” Wang told Slate. “All I really did was to help amplify that message by putting it on my social media and was really pleased by how many people came through.”
Wang was shocked at the response, but clearly tapped into communities that may not have realized just how much critical gear they had lying around. “People out there, whether they're people that work in construction or special effects, probably have them in storage without realizing it. As of this weekend, we got like a thousand masks and a thousand pairs of gloves.”
Even more disheartening is that a lot of ER doctors and nurses are independent contractors, meaning they don’t even get paid sick leave. According to Wang, the donations made these people putting themselves at risk feel cared about.
“I think that it was just this feeling of being on the front lines and putting their lives in danger, but nobody actually cares about them staying safe,” said Wang. “And then on top of that, not having masks or any kind of supplies to stay safe and to keep their patients safe just makes it that much more stressful. The thing that I heard the most was that psychologically, emotionally, it was meaningful that so many people do care about them. It made them feel like they weren't alone, and that people care about their safety.”
As for that personal cocktail she promised on Twitter, Wang...
Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Show: The Secret History of Hollywood
Where You Can Stream It: The podcasting app of your choice.
The Pitch: The Secret History of Hollywood is the most compelling, immersive, and emotional podcast I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. Each season consists of deep dives into a major Hollywood figure, tracing its subject’s rise to prominence and giving incredible insight into their home lives, painting a portrait so captivating and well-rounded that biographies or books on the subjects could only dream to achieve.
Why It’s Essential Quarantine Listening: I’ve been thinking about this podcast a lot since I first stumbled across it several years ago, but I think it’s especially appropriate to recommend it right now because some of its episodes are incredibly lengthy – many clock in around an hour and a half, but some of them stretch to four, six, or even nine hours long. Yes, really. Some of you may scoff, but isn’t being in quarantine the perfect time to give a long-form podcast a chance?
Adam Roche, the voice behind the show, had no background in sound editing or sound production when he got started, but he could have fooled me: the series reminds me of an old-time radio show, complete with sound effects and Roche doing voices as he plays the people in a given scene. I realize that may sound cheesy, and it absolutely would be in less-capable hands. But trust me: Roche’s mellifluous voice and incredibly researched accounts are perfect for this type of storytelling.
The show has brought me to tears multiple times over the years, and I think a huge part of the reason for that is because of the long episode lengths. Like a great TV series you never want to end, you get to spend hours and hours with the subjects of these episodes and build emotional connections to them, so when they they experience hardships, a project goes wrong, or they lose a loved one, the results can be unexpectedly powerful.
The show has earned the attention of Hollywood vets like Peter Ramsey Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Mark Gatiss Sherlock, Game of Thrones, the latter of whom lends his own terrific voice to introductions of the most recent season, which covers the prolific producer Val Lewton Cat People, The Body Snatcher, The Ghost Ship. I knew nothing about Lewton or his work before I listened to the eleven episode season, but by the end, I feel like not only do I know all about him, but I feel I’ve experienced his highs and lows right alongside him. It’s truly spellbinding stuff, and it comes with my absolute highest recommendation.
I’ve talked about the show a couple...