BBC charter review panel: Meet the eight people deciding the broadcaster's future

Lynsey Barber
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BBC charter review will include an in-depth review by the new panel (Source: Getty)

The government has selected a panel of independent advisors to lead a review of the BBC's royal charter, which will shape the future of the public broadcaster.

An eight-person team of media professionals and experts, with backgrounds in broadcasting, production, technology and media regulation, have been chosen by the culture secretary John Whittingdale to conduct an in-depth review of the BBC's remit.

“Each member of the independent advisory group brings individual skills, experience and expertise. Together they will contribute to the oversight of the government’s review of the BBC royal charter. I look forward to working with them on this important issue,” said Whittingdale.

The members, who are participating in a voluntary capacity, will meet up to six times a year and may be joined by further additional members appointed by Whittingdale down the line.

Here are the eight men and women who are about to have a major say in the BBC's future.

Dawn Airey

Airey is a former boss of Channel 5, who infamously laid out the stall of the fledgling channel as "films, f*****g and football" in the 1990s when she was head of programming, and has been in charge of programming at every major commercial British broadcaster, including ITV, Channel 4 and Sky.

Airey worked with former BBC chairman Michael Grade during stints at both Channel 4 and ITV

She's currently in charge of Yahoo's advertising business across European, Middle East and Africa, reporting directly to Yahoo boss Marissa Mayer.

The 54-year-old is one of the most successful women in British media and is also a non-exec director at Thomas Cook.

Airey told the Guardian in 2008, "the only job I have ever applied for was my first job at ITV. Actually, I applied for the BBC and the buggers rejected me". She's previously suggested the BBC should consider charging for some of its services.

Colette Bowe

Dame Colette Bowe is a former chairman of media regulator Ofcom, the organisation which could be charged with governing the BBC in future.

The 68-year-old trained economist who was made a dame in 2014 is currently chairman of the newly formed Banking Standards Board after stints at other city regulators in the 1990s, and has held a number of non-exec roles, including at Yorkshire Building Society, Thames Water, Morgan Stanley and Axa.

Bowe, who came up through the civil service, last year said she believed the BBC licence fee should be shared with other broadcasters.

Andrew Fisher

Fisher is the executive chairman of Shazam, an app which recognises music and TV which is valued at more than $1bn, The 46-year-olds background is as an internet executive, rather than traditional media, having been European managing director for InfoSpace before Shazam.

However, this background will come in handy when considering the BBC's digital services such as iPlayer - which could potentially become a paid for service - and it's website, which chancellor George Osborne last week criticised as "becoming imperial in its ambition".

Darren Henley

The former journalist is the managing director of Classic FM, part of commercial radio company Global. Made an OBE in 2013, Henley was named the chief of Arts Council England amid funding cuts, which he urged the government to rethink earlier this year. Henley has previously worked with the governement on a review of music provisions in schools.

Ashley Highfield

At Johnston Press, Highfield is in charge of hundreds of local and regional newspaper titles including the Scotsman and Yorkshire Post, wielding the axe with significant job cuts across the country since becoming chief executive in 2011.

The idea of the BBC making closer ties with local press, suggested by the culture commons select committee formerly headed by Whittingdale, left Highfield especially pleased.

The 49-year-old was formerly the editor-in-chief of BBC online and led the launch of BBC iPlayer as director of future media and technology. He was also involved in Project Kangaroo the joint effort between the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 to create an on-demand TV service that was ultimately unsuccessful.

Alex Mahon

The former chief of Murdoch-owned Shine Group replaced Elisabeth Murdoch at the top in 2012 but left following its merger with Endemol and Core under new owners 21st Century Fox and Apollo Global las year. Mahon has worked at a host of top production companies, including Talkback Thames, FreemantleMedia, and is currently a non-exec director at Ocado.

Lopa Patel

Patel is a digital media entrepreneur, founding websites New Asian Post and, direct marketing company DMS and the equality think tank Diversity UK. She picked up and MBE in 2009 for services to the creative industries.

Stewart Purvis

Purvis is a former broadcast journalist, first training at the BBC, then heading up Channel 4 news and then ITN as well as being an executive at the media regulator Ofcom.

He's now an academic teaching at City University, and the 67-year-old who was awarded a CBE in 2000, may be sympathetic to the BBC's conundrum of having to do more with less money, speaking at a Royal Television Society event last year.

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