There was discussion, one executive let slip to me, not simply about Stourton but about the future of Naughtie, the main Today presenter, too - although what that future entailed one cannot be sure.One doesn't have to read too far between the lines to see the hint that Liddle is dropping. Unlike many readers of this blog, I quite like Naughtie's interviewing style, although I concede that some of his questions need to be shorter. A programme like TODAY does not react well to volcanic change. Humphrys will not go on for ever and it would be a disaster for the programme to lose or drop both its main presenters within a very short time. The arrival of Evan Davis has seen a shift in power away from the top two, and this trend is likely to continue. But to drop Naughtie in the immediate future would be a mistake.
Liddle finishes off with a very telling observation on Ed Stourton's future.
As it happens, in ballsing the whole thing up, the BBC has done Stourton an enormous favour. He now has considerable leverage in his discussions with the executives, acquired through the way in which he was told of his sacking. They want him to shut up and be nice right now, what with the Daily Mail and some of the Today audience on their backs. And I suspect that he will shut up and be nice if they are nice to him.
I reckon that being nice will involve Stourton presenting the Today programme from time to time and some fairly high-profile work elsewhere within the corporation; in other words, not really sacked as you and I may understand the term.
Hell, it’s an all win situation, bruised though Stourton is feeling right now.
I think he's right. The BBC has had yet another PR disaster on its hands and won't want it to continue. Ed Stourton is in a very powerful position right now to assess what he would like to do over the next few years within the BBC and I'd be astonished if he didn't get a 'yes' from the powers that be that just want this situation to go away.