The BBC move to Walton Hall

In August 1976 Michael Drake asked why, in  view of the reluctance of many of the BBC staff to move to Milton Keynes, the OU could not work with ITV instead (Open House, 31 August 1976)? Despite this possibility being raised the BBC continued to be unhappy about moving the OU operations from Alexandra Palace to Milton Keynes. The argument was made that this was because this would adversely affect the relationship between the OU and the BBC. Deputy General Secretary ABS, P Leech, felt that the move

would lead to a dominance of BBC staff  by the OU, would lead to a greater involvement in the control over areas of legitimate BBC interest and that a move of this sort would lead to the BBC staff losing their identity with the Corporation (RGJ/JFW 24 April 1977 notes of a meeting of 24 March 1977)

There had been tensions betwen the BBC and the oU and this discussion occured shortly before a dispute between the BBC and the OU about The Balcony (probably Jean Genet’s play, Le Balcon which was set in a brothel). In 1977 the BBC banned this and was rebuked by the Chancellor at the Alexandra Palace degree ceremony (Open House, 24 May 1977,  OH 5 July 1977).

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