Roger Bolton's Beeb Watch

Sir Mark Thompson, former BBC Director General and soon to be CEO and chair of CNN, the US news channel, discusses democracy and free speech

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Episode notes

By the time he was 40, Sir Mark Thompson had held some of the top jobs at the BBC. He went on to become Chief Executive of Channel 4 before returning to the corporation as Director General in 2004. In 2012 he went on to The New York Times where he turned around its fortunes. Another challenge now beckons - CEO and chair of CNN, the US news channel where he starts shortly. Roger Bolton talks to his former colleague about impartiality, free speech, BBC bias, democracy, public service broadcasting, religion, Russell Brand and Mark's career.

"I like rule breakers, I like bad boys, and the female equivalent of bad boys. In other words, people who break the rules, break convention, and speak for me."

"The United States is a country which continues to have a functioning indeed, at many levels, vibrant democracy. And interesting enough, I think there's a lot of lessons to teach the United Kingdom about democracy."

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