The BBC's Annual Report and Accounts for 2010/11
Today sees the launch of our Annual Report, heralding the end of an exceptional year for the BBC - a year marked by outstanding creativity, and major change within the organisation.
Highlights for me include the BBC Three documentary series Our War which I sat and watched with my own teenage children. It was exhilarating, disturbing, heartbreaking. And utterly gripping. It characterised much of the best of what the BBC achieved last year.
Other high points include Brian Cox's Wonders of the Solar System, and A History of the World in 100 Objects which was a phenomenon on BBC Radio 4, but with expressions and extensions across BBC services. The BBC Proms had one of its most ambitious and exciting season for many years while drama on television enjoyed creative success across a broad front: from Stephen Moffat's Sherlock to the unforgettable Five Daughters. It was also an extraordinary year for international news with the Japanese tsunami, events in the Middle East, and the death of Osama Bin Laden.
Audience performance and approval has been strong, with further growth for many digital services, but of course not everything has gone right. In addition to the occasional creative misfires, the Miriam O'Reilly case was a reminder to the whole of the BBC of our duty to reflect, on air and in all our employment practices every part of the society we serve.
There were big events behind the scenes over 2010/11 as well, above all a licence fee settlement completed in record time last autumn. The settlement gives the BBC certainty over its funding for many years and will help us plan for the future, but the settlement means we need to find savings and make difficult choices. We've already taken significant steps to prioritise spend on content and services, reducing senior management pay and numbers and top talent fees, and making many other savings. This year we will take that agenda to the next stage as part of a comprehensive plan for the BBC between now and the end of our Royal Charter in 2016.
We are hard at work on this plan right now. Inevitably, there are many difficult questions and trade-offs to work through. We know, however, that both our governing body, the BBC Trust, and the British public will want to ensure that the commitment to quality and originality which marked the best of 2010/11 will guide all our decisions about the future. Now more than ever, we are determined to put quality first.
Mark Thompson is Director General of the BBC