It is media folklore that there is no love lost between former Channel 4 chief executive Michael Grade and BBC director general John Birt. And Grade, speaking at a Royal Television Society dinner in his honour last week, wasted little time in stoking up those bitter embers.
He told a tale about his time as controller of London Weekend World Television, where Birt worked under him as head of factual programmes.
Grade said: “At last I had him where I wanted him, under me. And I had in my drawer a piece of paper, that was my garlic, it kept him at bay. It was a ratings sheet that read Weekend World ratings 0. BBC2 test card 2.”
Needless to say Birt, a fellow member of the Royal Television Society, was unable to find the time out of his busy schedule to salute his old adversary.