It’s do or die time for the English National Opera. Earlier this month Arts Council England, a Government body, said it would stop funding the ENO unless it agreed to move from London to Manchester. Now ENO chairman Harry Brunjes says the company will close rather than move up north.
“There is no relocation,” he told MPs on Wednesday. “This is closing ENO down. This is losing 600 jobs from London.” The forced move is part of the levelling up agenda, but there are mixed signals. Speaking at the Margaret Thatcher Conference earlier this week, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove hinted that he wanted ENO branches in both London and Manchester: “If we were Germany or Italy, the idea of having an outstanding opera company in every major provincial city would be a no-brainer.” Hmm.
‘I’m not paid enough’, jokes Lineker
Before his World Cup presenting shift begins on the weekend, Match of the Day’s Gary Lineker jokes “I’m not paid enough!” after being quizzed on his £1m-plus salary from the BBC. Speaking to The Oldie this week, the former England captain was optimistic about the team’s chances in Qatar. “We have a fantastic group of young talent. So we will have a chance.”
Don’t sacrifice diversity, Myrie tells the Beeb
We caught up with BBC journalist and Mastermind maestro Clive Myrie, right, at the Baillie Gifford Award for best non-fiction book last night. He was one of the judges this year.
Following our report of possible cuts to Black and Asian radio programming on the BBC, Myrie says: “The licence fee is something we all pay. Black, white, gay, whatever, and as a result we have to represent all communities.” Easier said than done, he noted. “The BBC, like many other organisations, is having to tailor its output according to how much money it has. These are difficult times. I would hate to think that whatever cuts are coming down the pipeline might affect a level of representation and diversity. That is something the BBC cannot afford to do!”
Last night in town
Londoner’s Diary 18th November
Actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Gabrielle Union launched their new animated flick Strange World last night in Leicester Square. And, after carousing at the GQ Awards on Wednesday, Andrew Garfield was out again for a Fila/Haider Ackerman fashion show. TV and tennis star Andrew Castle supported daughter Georgina at Elf the Musical, which she stars in. They were joined by Sofia Nekhaichuk and Yuliia Ivanova, two Ukrainian refugees who live with Castle.