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Dimbleby enters race for BBC top spot

Vet among candidates to replace Bland

LONDON — Veteran TV journalist David Dimbleby is in the running to become the next chairman of the BBC.

Dimbleby is understood to be among the shortlisted candidates to replace Christopher Bland, who is leaving the pubcaster at the end of September and has already taken up his new job as chairman of British Telecom.

Dimbleby is one of the most respected journalists in British TV and has been with the BBC for 40 years. He has anchored the pubcaster’s election coverage since 1979 and hosts BBC1’s political debate show “Question Time.”

Narrowing the list

The candidates for chairman will be interviewed by the U.K. government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which will recommend a name to Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Earlier this year, Dimbleby sold his family’s 100-year-old local newspaper group, of which he was the sole owner, for a reported £8 million ($11.4 million).

Meanwhile, former BBC director general John Birt has been appointed a strategic adviser to the prime minister.

Birt, who has a reputation for being a technocrat, is joining the government’s Forward Strategy Unit, whose mandate is to devise radical policies.

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