We've just taken a quick look at the National Audit Office's new report on the BBC. They've probed the costs incurred in covering major sports and music events, and they come up with some interesting stats.
How many BBC staff went to the bunfight in Beijing in 2008?
A staggering 491 - even though all the main pictures (including that fake opening ceremony) were supplied by Chinese TV.
Glastonbury - 277
The Proms - 145
But as always, the really interesting bit is what they choose to pay the... er, "talent". And as always, the tax-funded state broadcaster refuses to tell us:
"Following legal advice, the BBC Trust has asked that the National Audit Office not disclose the aggregate figure for talent costs for each event. It believes that in this case such aggregate disclosure, when combined with other information the Trust believes to be either in the public domain or potentially available, could constitute disclosure of talent fees for individuals, which would be in breach of the Data Protection Act."All the NAO will say is:
"The cost of talent (presenters and commentators) can be a significant element of coverage expenditure, particularly for the events covered by BBC Sport. The cost of talent was either two or three per cent of total coverage costs for music events and between six and 20 per cent for sporting events."They also tell us that the combined cost of staff and talent at Beijing was £3.6m (plus another £2m on travel and accommodation). And the total coverage cost was £15.6m. So the talent cost was in the range £0.9m to £3.1m.
That's for three weeks work.
And who were "the talent" exactly? Alan Partridge of course, but who else?
Yes I know I've said it before, but WTF do I have to pay for it?