The Big Question: What should happen to the BBC?
Lord Birt, former Director-General and advisor to Tony BlairNothing like this ever happened in my day. The BBC is a disgrace, the people who work for it are a disgrace, and Greg Dyke is a disgrace. The whole lot of them are one big disgrace. There's only one answer to this sorry mess: me. I was the best thing that ever happened to the BBC, and I'm the best thing that could happen to it now. But I'm too good for it. The BBC aren't having me; I wouldn't go anywhere near them. So far as I'm concerned they can all rot in hell. It's a disgrace. Exterminate, exterminate! EXTERMINATE!
David Dimbleby, Presenter...and as the beloved BBC, in its time of crisis, nears what must be its most difficult time yet, we follow the procession carrying the remains of a once great broadcasting corporation through Whitehall. As we pass the Cenotaph, mourners place wreaths in memory of loved ones lost. Playschool. The Generation Game. Porridge. Andrew Gilligan. All lost, but not forgotten...
Boris Johnson MP, Media superstarThe BBC is a mighty fine organisation. The government is totally wrong on this, it's a whitewash, the whole thing's been pebbledashed. Hands off the BBC, that's what I say!
David Dimblebore, Presenter...and as the procession turns into White City, in the distance we can see Television Centre, a building full of memories for some of those lining the route today. Many of the mourners are carrying placards, with slogans supporting the former Director-General, Greg Dyke, a popular figure who will be greatly missed. Wing Commander Andrew Marr, a man who has been present on many of these occasions, joins me now. It truly is a very sad day, is it not, Andrew?
Andrew Marr, BBC Political EditorYes David, it is truly a very sad day indeed. Government sources are telling me today that there was opposition to this parade within Cabinet, that they thought it would have been disrespectful, and slightly gloating, but there is no evidence of that here today. It truly is a very sad occasion, and one that will have repercussions for a long time to come.
David Dumblebore, PresenterVery sad indeed, Andrew. On your screens now we can see the procession entering BBC Television Centre itself, in the final stages of its journey. The people on the gates – glorified security guards, if you like – raise the barriers for the procession to pass and salute as a mark of respect. Huw Edwards is down there. Huw, what is the atmosphere like on this truly sad day?
Huw Edwards, Another PresenterThank you very much, David. Well it truly is a very sad day, and down among the throng of people gathered outside Television Centre, the mood very much reflects that. It is a mood of sadness, of respect, of mourning, but most of all sadness, as the coffin containing the remains of the BBC is carried through towards its final resting place, the Blue Peter garden. Back to you, David.
Professor Bumblebore, PresenterAnd now the procession turns the corner into the beloved Blue Peter garden, the scene of much happiness for many decades, but today the scene of grief and sadness. The hole in the ground has already been dug ready to receive the coffin. I'm told it's alongside the graves of past Blue Peter stars – the dog, Lassie; the other dog, Shep; and of course the late Peter Purvis – a nice touch on a sad and momentous day.
In the distance, the Last Post sounds out, as the BBC's coffin is lowered into its final resting place. I have a poem here written by a schoolgirl, Douglas Ramsbottom, aged 9, and I'll just read you one line from it as it seems particularly apt at this moment. "Amen," she writes, "Amen." And that is very much the feeling today on this sad and momentous day. Good-bye.