Anorak | The biased BBC protected biting Mark Thompson but chewed off Jeremy Clarkson

The biased BBC protected biting Mark Thompson but chewed off Jeremy Clarkson

by | 26th, March 2015

Jeremy Clakrson arrested


So. Jeremy Clarkson, the BBC’s Gripper Stebson*, has been driven from the BBC. He leaves behind a bombshell-sized hole in the Beeb’s talent pool, Top Gear producer with a split lip and dull-to-deadline James May and perky and predictable Richard Hammond to take the show forward.

Papers lead with news that sacked Jeremy Clarkson faces a “police quiz” ( Daily Star and Daily Mail ), “police probe” ( Sun ), “cop grilling” ( Daily Mirror ) and “police action” ( Daily Express ).

You cannot hit a BBC underling and get away with it. Well, not always you can’t. You see, in 2005, Richard Kay reported on an incident for the Daily Mail. The then BBC director general Mark Thompson had bitten newsroom colleague Anthony Massey.

Thompson’s 44-year-old victim suffered clear bite marks through his shirt, and immediately reported the incident. Their bosses were so determined to hush up the affair, however, that Massey was promptly sent to Rwanda on a perilous assignment. And Thompson, then a rising star, was allowed to continue his soaring career unhindered.

Thompson is the current CEO of the New York Times Company.

Thompson’s good fortune was to have bitten a colleague before the Sir Jimmy Savile saga turned the BBC into an apology factory the institution that still refers to itself as ‘Aunty’ (with a family member like that, you’d best have  Childline on speed dial.)

Kay went on:

The story has only become public thanks to a leaked e- mail exchange between Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman and Massey, in which Paxman observes that the director general ‘is quite clearly insane’.


Mark Thompson Jeremy Clarkson


The emails were reproduced for our entertainment:

Paxman : “I’ve got to interview Mark Thompson tomorrow. Is it true that he once bit you?”

Massey : “It is absolutely true… It was 1988, when he was the newly-appointed editor of the Nine O’Clock News, and I was a home news organiser. It was 9.15 in the morning. I went up to his desk to talk about some story. I was standing next to him on his right, and he was sitting reading his horoscope in the Daily Star (I always remember that detail). Before I could say a word he suddenly turned, snarled, and sank his teeth into my left upper arm (leaving marks through the shirt, but not drawing blood). It hurt. I pulled my arm out of his jaws, like a stick out of the jaws of a labrador. The key thing is, we didn’t have a row first, or even speak, and I had never had any dispute with him. He was recently arrived in the newsroom, and I hardly knew him. He just bit me in the arm for no reason without any warning or preamble. I don’t think it was personal. Something turned in his brain, and anyone who had been standing there at that moment would have been bitten, Linda from the teabar, the BBC chairman, Keith Graves, anyone. It just happened to be me. Thompson didn’t apologise or explain, so I went to complain to my then boss, Chris Cramer. All Cramer said was, “This whole place is full of f****** headbangers”, which was a fair point and indeed is still

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Posted: 26th, March 2015 | In: Key Posts, News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink