Review of the year 2012: November

The BBC gets a new DG, Barack Obama returns to the White House - and Rowan Atkinson revives Edmund Blackadder


After a mere 54 days in the job, George Entwistle resigned as director-general of the BBC in November,   swiftly followed by the BBC’s director of news Helen Boaden and her deputy Steve Mitchell in the wake of  the Jimmy Savile and Newsnight child sex scandals. 


Twelve days after Entwistle’s exit, BBC veteran Tony Hall was appointed the corporation’s new DG

However, Ofcom had already swept in to investigate Newsnight and ITV’s This Morning, after both programmes caused an online furore that linked a senior Tory peer with child sex abuse.  But despite the controversy, it was quickly confirmed that Phillip Schofield, who had shown a list of supposed paedophiles to the Prime Minister on live television, would remain a presenter on This Morning

The makers of ITV’s Exposure documentary had more to say about Jimmy Savile in the lead-up to their second programme about the disgraced DJ, which aired in November, claiming that he “engineered” TV formats to gain access to children.  

And, as the Savile storm rumbled on, we paused briefly to consider the impact his woeful legacy could have on the BBC’s archive of Top of the Pops performances

Abroad, the biggest story of the month was Barack Obama being re-elected US President for a second term of office, a victory the he celebrated by “inviting” Abraham Lincoln back to the White House for one night only.

Another august institution being paid an unlikely-sounding visit was the Oxford Union, which invited K-pop sensation Psy, of Gangnam Style fame, to give a lecture. Later in the month, the Gangnam Style music video was officially certified as YouTube’s most-watched video.

As we geared up for the return of I’m a Celebrity, the question on everyone’s lips was whether or not serving MP Nadine Dorries should have agreed to take part in the programme while Parliament was sitting. Later in the month, she attempted to shake off critics by pledging to donate her parliamentary salary to children’s charities.

Danny Baker’s BBC Radio London show came to an end this month, as did the lives of Corrie veteran Bill Tarmey, AKA Jack Duckworth, who died aged 71, and Dallas star Larry ‘JR’ Hagman who passed on at 81.

Dad’s Army star Clive Dunn died at the age of 92 in mid-November and, a few days after his passing, news came to light of plans to update Dad’s Army for the 21st century with a female lead

There was a lot of action on the Star Wars front this month, as Harrison Ford was reported to be “upbeat” about playing Han Solo in Episode VII, Toy Story 3 scribe Michael Arndt was confirmed as the sci-fi sequel’s screenwriter, and actor Jason Flemyng accidently let slip that Matthew Vaughn may be the film’s director

November also saw a raft of exciting new TV commissions announced: the third series of gritty cop show Luther; Vicious, a new ITV sitcom starring Sir Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi, and Shaun Ryder on UFOs, which does exactly what it says on the tin.

Speaking of aliens, Brian Cox was up in arms this month when it emerged that any on-camera appearances by extraterrestrials might breach the BBC’s editorial guidelines. And, sticking with the space theme, BBC film-maker Colin Barr revealed to us that Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner’s freefall jump from the edge of space almost didn’t happen


After such a hectic month’s developments, it was nice to end November on a celebratory note as we welcomed the resurrection of Edmund Blackadder, who Rowan Atkinson dragged out of retirement for a Prince’s Trust charity show.