From the creators of Twenty Twelve, Ian Fletcher, former the Head of the Olympic Deliverance Commission, has taken up the position of Head of Values at the BBC. His tasks include the licence fee renegotiation and charter renewal in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
It is the year of charter renewal and a critical time for the BBC. The renewal group under head of values Ian Fletcher is tasked with identifying what the BBC does best and finding more ways of doing less of it better. A new challenge comes in the shape of a Channel 4 documentary about a cross-dressing ex-Premier League footballer Ryan Chelford, which alleges that the BBC rejected Ryan as a potential pundit on Match of the Day because of his unconventional private life. The fact is he was auditioned and it turned out he was not very good. In the face of a huge groundswell of public support for Ryan Chelford and the need for the BBC to appear inclusive, Ian and his team have to find a presenting role for Ryan while not forcing the hand of the BBC's flagship sports show. Over in the Perfect Curve PR office, things have changed. They have been bought by media giant Fun Media, who are keen to come up with new ideas for their BBC account. Siobhan Sharpe is equally keen to take credit for the result of their latest brainstorming - the idea for a new online platform called BBC Me - a new home for user-generated content. After all, according to Siobhan, conventional television is dead. Meanwhile, newly promoted junior development producer Will Humphries' idea for a new interview format On Your Bike is in danger of being appropriated by commissioning editor daytime factuality David Wilkes and pitched to the head of TV output as The Great British Bike Off.
Cross-dressing ex Premier League footballer Ryan Chelford's appearance on a late-night, midweek edition of Match of the Day did not go well. Host Gary Lineker and pundit Alan Shearer were literally lost for words. But the BBC in general and in his role as head of values Ian Fletcher in particular are under pressure to find an on screen role for Ryan as quickly as possible. A summit meeting is arranged to include heads of football, inclusivity and a late curved ball in the shape of head of diversity to try and find a solution to a problem that is getting increasing attention on social media. To complicate matters, Fiona Craig, the senior civil servant with responsibility for charter renewal negotiations, is visiting the BBC to see what a normal day in the life of the corporation looks like. Meanwhile, the campaign to launch user-generated content platform BBC Me gathers pace with David Wilkes still keen to take ownership of the idea he originally borrowed from ex intern Will Humphries.
Having dismissed the idea of losing gardening programmes as a way of saving money, the Renewal Team propose that getting rid of the BBC Big Swing Band might be an option - but it turns into a PR disaster. Meanwhile, Siobhan decides to create a launch trail for BBC ME that will go viral, with Will delegated to stand in the main reception of New Broadcasting House to try to persuade various celebrities to contribute selfies for it
Following on from an item on BBC Breakfast about plans to close the BBC Big Swing Band, the damage limitation team under Ian Fletcher is under huge pressure to limit the damage. A twitter campaign led by Jools Holland, #JeSuisBigSwingb and #boycottBBC, is gathering support from music royalty such as Sir Bob Geldof, Sir Tom Jones and Bono. And as the much-loved Big Swing bandleader Ray Fredericks is both black and 75, there are a growing number of accusations of discrimination and ageism. BBC News outlets are keen to report the latest developments but exacerbate the problem when Syncopatico, the new News subtitling software, continues to systematically misspell the names of the key players involved - including Jools Holland. It is felt that an appearance from one of the BBC senior management team on the News at One would be a helpful way of clarifying the BBC's position - but when head of better Anna Rampton unexpectedly rules herself out, it falls to Ian Fletcher to face the music. Meanwhile, the campaign to launch new online platform BBC Me continues and ex-intern Will Humphries is still standing at his station in reception trying to persuade passing celebrities to record themselves saying 'me' into his phone.
The renewal group led by head of values Ian Fletcher has to respond to rumours that Strictly Come Dancing presenter Claudia Winkleman is about to leave the BBC for a rival broadcaster. Is there a way of preventing this happening? When they offer a hosting job on On Your Bike, a new interview format, it looks like they might have found a solution. Meanwhile ex-intern Will's attempts to get a celebrity face to help launch BBC Me, the new online platform, have come back to bite him and the BBC. The celebrity in question thought they were being asked to pose for a selfie and didn't realise they were being used to endorse a viral campaign and consequently the BBC finds itself on the receiving end of a million-pound lawsuit. Will's job looks to be in serious danger. With the charter renewal process requiring the BBC to show they can do more for less, head of news Neil Reid is asked to see whether his main news presenters would consider doubling up and presenting the weather forecast as well. And in a landscape where leaving parties are becoming increasingly frequent, Ben and Jerry discover that their jobs have been 're-imagined as non-existing going forward'.
Key broadcasting talent Claudia Winkleman is close to signing a deal which would keep her at the BBC. She is set to present On Your Bike but the deal is jeopardised with the revelation that an almost identical format has been developed and offered to Amanda Holden. How can the damage limitation group limit the damage? In the wake of a potentially very expensive lawsuit against the BBC, Izzy volunteers to take the flak and is summoned to the director general's office. Meanwhile, the official launch of BBC Me, the new online platform for user-generated content, is nearing the final furlong, but with the disappearance of several senior executive posts, including head of values and director of better, it is not clear who will be leading the charge to the finish line.
One year on and head of values Ian Fletcher has finally got his own office. He and the team have a new set of challenges to rise to, including the impending royal visit of HRH Prince Charles. The question is, which of the management team will get to shake the royal hand? Head of BBC brand Siobhan Sharpe and her team at Perfect Curve have been tasked with giving a makeover to the BBC coverage of Wimbledon following rumours of a bid from a rival broadcaster. Her response is a brand mash-up to end all brand mash-ups. Meanwhile, over on the creative frontline, entertainment-format producer David Wilkes is trying to come up with the next big factual-entertainment series after Britain's Tastiest Village failed to fly. He's got the title - Up Town, Down Town - he just hasn't got a show or a cast. Finally, intern Will Humphries's security pass won't let him into the building. Is it a technical problem or something more significant?
Anna Rampton, head of output, thinks she knows all about better and goes for the top job armed with the latest of entertainment-format producer David Wilkes's ideas - Family Face-Off, which Lucy Freeman reworks into something almost broadcastable. Meanwhile, generic head of comedy and/or drama Matt Taverner continues to tinker unhelpfully with Home Truth, Lucy's passion drama project. Top of the agenda for the damage limitation team this week are rumours that Newsnight anchor Evan Davis is to be a contestant in the forthcoming series of Strictly Come Dancing - news that doesn't go down well with head of news and current affairs Neil Reid, who is less than happy that the main presenter of the BBC's flagship (and arguably only) current affairs programme will be seen 'anywhere near sequins'. Things get more complicated when it transpires that BBC brand consultant Siobhan Sharpe is behind this latest move for Evan. It falls to Ian Fletcher as head of BBC values and arch-limiter of damage to find an elegant solution to the problem. Meanwhile, ex-intern Will Humphries, recently appointed PA to the head of values, makes life more difficult for Izzy, the object of his desire. He accidentally hijacks her computer software while showing off his newly acquired training on the BBC's foolproof software Syncapatico.
Former head of output Anna Rampton has been crowned director of better. No-one on the management team is quite clear what the job entails, but one thing is certain - whatever it is, the concept of better needs to be announced to the world at large. Tracey Pritchard, senior communications officer, suggests an event in the BBC Radio Theatre, but brand manager Siobhan Sharpe has altogether more awesome ideas - none of which involve the words radio or theatre. She encourages the team to think big and global, champagne and celebrities. Now it's just down to Anna Rampton to sell herself and the idea of 'betterness' globally. Elsewhere, format-entertainment executive David Wilkes continues his seemingly unstoppable rise through the organisation with some surprising job news, and the BBC mega-hi-tech software programme Syncopatishare (designed to make life easier for busy executives) is proving difficult to master. Especially for ex-intern Will. Finally, director of strategy Simon Harwood comes up with a brand new management structure for the BBC, which is essentially the old one rotated 90 degrees - one which threatens to put the director of better bang in the centre of things and head of values Ian Fletcher right at the margins. But Ian offers up an alternative and altogether more creative vision.
It's all change on the corporate merry-go-round. In his new role as senior executive, Primetime Factuality, consistently lucky David Wilkes needs to flesh out the programme idea behind One Big Family. Not having any ideas himself he turns for inspiration to Izzy Gould in her new role as development producer. On the verge of leaving the BBC, Lucy has been persuaded to take on a new job as head of Inclusivity. One of her first jobs is to head up discussion on the Way Ahead Task Force around inclusivity targets - targets which become increasingly important to hit with Charter renewal just around the corner and an imminent meeting of the Cross Parliamentary Inclusion Action Watch Dog Group at Westminster. Enter fearless Siobhan Sharpe whose idea of viralising Muslim BBC Weather presenter Sadiq Iqbal looks like keeping the watchdogs happy. But Sadiq seems more interested in his colleague, news anchor Azia Zamani, than in becoming a national icon. As ever it's down to head of values Ian Fletcher to try and steer the BBC ship through increasingly choppy waters.
With the London games of Twenty Twelve successfully delivered, Ian Fletcher starts a new chapter in his life as head of values at the BBC. Ian's first challenge on arriving at New Broadcasting House, on his brand new and much-improved folding bike, is to find somewhere to sit in a building aggressively over-designed around the principle of not having a desk. Ian finds himself holding the hottest of hot potatoes when Mebyan Kernow activist Nigel Trescott complains that Cornwall, and the Cornish, are shamefully under-represented on the BBC. Things get worse when BBC Spotlight South West presenter Sally Wingate goes public with her feeling that her failure to progress to a national presenting role might be part of the BBC's institutionally anti-Cornish bias. Ideas of how best to limit the damage lead to PR company Perfect Curve's Siobhan Sharpe suggesting Sally should do something on Snog, Marry, Avoid or some kind of Bake Off. Meanwhile, producer Lucy Freeman is having meetings with head of output Anna Rampton and entertainment format creative David Wilkes about a forthcoming new flagship show - Britain's Tastiest Village - which, according to David, is 'kind of Britain's Got Talent meets Countryfile with a bit of The One Show thrown in just in case'. Anna wants a progress report and there's good news and bad news. They've virtually got Alan Titchmarsh on board now, but the very bad news is that it looks like they've lost Clare Balding - 'words you never ever want to hear' - as the dates of How Big Is Your Dog, a new show she's doing for ITV, have changed at the last minute.
BBC Head of Values Ian Fletcher has only been in the job a few weeks and already finds himself at the centre of a media storm. Spotlight South West presenter Sally Wingate believes she has been discriminated against because of her age and so Ian is on a mission to take the sting out of what has become known as 'Wingategate'. As he journeys North to Salford for his first big interview in the job - live on air with Jenni Murray on Woman's Hour - he finds himself unhelpfully joined by brand consultant Siobhan Sharpe, who is in serious tweeting mode. Meanwhile, things are getting complicated for the Britain's Tastiest Village production team. Having wooed and won Carol Vorderman as Clare Balding's replacement to co-present with Alan Titchmarsh, they have discovered at the very last minute that Clare Balding is unexpectedly available and she is keen to do the show. The problem is that no-one has told Clare that they were moving on and she unhelpfully turns up for her first production meeting at the same time as Carol Vorderman is leaving.
A month into his job as head of values and Ian Fletcher is still trying to find somewhere to sit. But there are more important issues to get to grips with - not least the director general's desire to shape the debate as to what the BBC is really for. Anna Rampton already knows what it's for and, in a thinly veiled move to further her own career, advocates moving Songs of Praise to radio, thus freeing up a prime slot for her own series, Britain's Tastiest Village. The debate about the future of the BBC is not helped when Ian Fletcher's salary comes under intense scrutiny in the press - why should the BBC's head of values be paid more than the prime minister? Neil Reid, current controller of current affairs, is having to deal with the fallout from a blunder in BBC News coverage of the Syrian crisis when a photo of Trudi Styler was used instead of Asma Assad. Intern Will Humphries is given something important to do by the object of his desire, Izzy - a task he is keen to get right. And producer Lucy Freeman goes in to pitch Home Truth, a script she's been developing over several years with writer Dan Shepherd. But it's Siobhan Sharpe and her team at Perfect Curve that find themselves with the biggest challenge when they are asked to refresh the BBC logo and come to the conclusion that the problem with the current logo is that it has too many letters.
A national paper has not only published details of Ian Fletcher's salary but followed up with a story of how he took Sally Owen, his PA at the Olympic Deliverance Commission, on holiday to Italy. So the BBC can either stand by their man or get him to pre-empt potential criticism by persuading him to cut his own salary. Meanwhile, a female Newsnight presenter has been accused of wearing clothes that are inappropriately watchable. When her legs get their own Twitter account there is a feeling something should be done about it. Flagship series Britain's Tastiest Village has lost all three of the big name presenters who were attached to do the show - so the search continues. And brand consultant Siobhan Sharpe and her team unveil their barnstorming idea for a new BBC logo.