...to Baroness James of Holland Park (aka P D James the crime novelist) who at the age of 89 demonstrated that there is no justification for ageism in the BBC -- or anywhere else -- by a vigorous and devastating interview of the BBC's Director General, Mark Thompson.

That the interview took place on BBC Radio's flagship public affairs programme Today only added to its piquancy. As a former BBC governor Baroness James may have made her criticisms more in sorrow than anger but there was no doubting her conviction that Mr Thompson's BBC had some serious questions to answer about over-staffing and over-spending. It was interesting to observe the Baroness's interrogative techniques which owed a great deal to the methods of her literary creation Adam Dalgliesh of New Scotland Yard. If Mark Thompson had been guilty Dalgliesh would have instinctively known it and got the truth out of him in no time at all. Most of P D James' 14 detective novels have been set in closed communities or organisations. Is it possible that her Today appearance was a prelude to a new novel set at Broadcasting House or TV Centre?

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