Incoming BBC Boss Discusses Jimmy Savile Scandal, Crisis

ONE TIME USE - Tony Hall - H 2012
Luke Macgregor/Reuters

Tony Hall, who becomes director general on April 2, wants to take risks, but not "willy-nilly or recklessly."

LONDON – Incoming BBC director-general Tony Hall has said a reckless approach to creative risk-taking led the BBC into crisis amid the fallout of the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal last year in an interview with The Guardian newspaper.

Hall, who joins the BBC in the highest editorial position from April 2, said that while there was a need to take risks, there was no need to take them "willy-nilly or recklessly" and that everything has to be thought through.

Hall told The Guardian: "You give people the confidence to be bold and run with what they want to do. If things do go wrong then you have to have the confidence to say okay, we got that wrong, let's learn from it and move on."

A former director of BBC News, Hall arrives back at the public broadcaster in the top job after a 12-year spell as chief executive of the Royal Opera House.

He declined to spell out his plans for the broadcaster in the interview with the newspaper but did outline what he had learned from his time at the ROH.

"Here it is all about what artists want to do, directors want to do, and audiences. Management is about enabling those things to happen to the very highest level. It is about setting the conditions whereby artists flourish and can do what they do best."

And Hall identified a rift between BBC executives and journalists as one of the underlying reasons for the failure to get the Newsnight investigation into Savile to air in December 2011.

The fallout from the Savile sexual abuse scandal rocked the broadcaster to the core and contributed in a large part to the resignation of the previous director general George Entwistle.