FEW resignations have been as extensively trailed as that of Charles Allen from the post of chief executive of the UK's Independent TV network (ITV). Rumours that he would be going have been circulating in media circles and the city for at least six months and yesterday they were confirmed as true. The chairman of ITV, Sir Peter Burt, said: “Charles has done an excellent job over the past two years in integrating the business after the merger between Granada and Carlton, in reducing costs and in reducing the burder of regulation on ITV and developing ITV's multichannel strategy.” Significantly, Sir Peter did not mention programme quality, and that is where the root of ITV's problem is to be found. Producers have lost the knack of developing programmes that are both popular and well-made, something that ITV could once claim to beat the BBC at, but no longer. If programmes are poor, people don't watch them and advertisers complain that they are not getting value for the money they spend on the commercials which keep the show on the road. The BBC needs competition from ITV to keep it on its toes and it is to be hoped that the board of ITV will think very carefully about its choice to succeed Mr Allen. The chief executive need not be a creative type himself but he needs to understand that strange breed and to be able to make them feel that they matter.


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