Michael Grade’s departure from Channel 4 caught everyone by
surprise - a near miracle in the gossipy world of television.
The announcement was regarded as so sensitive that Channel 4 chairman
Sir Michael Bishop put it out to a PR firm - Charles Barker, which works
for the airline British Midland, where Bishop is also chairman.
The agency was put on red alert a week earlier but was not briefed
formally until lunchtime on Monday - several hours before the
announcement was made.
As for the Channel 4 press office - apparently it was given the news
Grade’s impending departure half an hour earlier. ’No reflection on its
staff,’ says my Channel 4 mole, ’but there was no way you could keep a
story about Michael Grade quiet for very long.’
Other than locking him in his office and cutting off the telephone, that