Journo Dimbleby up for BBC chair

Ex-director general Birt to advise PM

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

It is understood that Dimbleby is one of five candidates shortlisted to replace outgoing BBC chairman Christopher Bland, who is leaving at the end of September and who is now the new chairman of British Telecom.

Dimbleby, 62, is one of the most respected journalists in British TV and he has been with the BBC for 40 years.

He has anchored the pubcaster’s election coverage since 1979 and hosts BBC1’s highbrow political debate show, “Question Time.”

The candidates for chairman will be interviewed by the U.K. government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport and culture secretary Tessa Jowell will then recommend a single name to prime minister Tony Blair.

The process has been slowed because the opposition Conservative Party is currently without a leader and whoever takes over will have to be consulted.

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 advisor to the prime minister.

Birt, who has a reputation for being a technocrat, is joining the government’s Forward Strategy Unit, which has a brief to come up with radical policies.