The Robbie Gibb Broadcasting Corporation (RGBC), formerly known as the BBC, wheeled out octogenarian multi-millionaire David Dimbleby for a Today programme appearance in which he defended it from Emily Maitlis’s broadside in her MacTaggart Lecture.
The former Newsnight host asserted that the Beeb had an “active agent of the Conservative Party” – Gibb, the former Downing Street director of communications – in its upper echelons, dictating editorial policy.
Dimbleby is the corporation’s go-to man when awkward accusations are made against it. He appeared most recently to dispute that Martin Bashir had “bullied” the late Princess Diana into giving him his controversial interview – but they only use him in extremis. Dimbleby’s on-air attempt to ridicule Jacob Rees-Mogg for attending Eton blew up in his face when the Tory MP drily replied he had attended it with the broadcaster’s son, Henry.
If anything, Maitlis played down the Tory bias at the BBC. Records examined by Mandrake show that Gibb – the brother of Conservative MP Nick Gibb – is one of nine BBC board members appointed during Boris Johnson’s time as prime minister. With only 12 members in all, they form the clear majority. There is also Tim Davie, Charlotte Moore, and Leigh Tavaziva. Their combined earnings are just over £1.3m.
Meanwhile, Maitlis is no longer at the BBC – despite her ground-breaking interview with Prince Andrew. She’s now presenting a podcast with fellow former BBC presenter Jon Sopel. The pair now work for LBC.