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|Share Trouble Floods Over Dyke
- BBC director told to offload theatre interest
BBC DIRECTOR Greg Dyke is being pressured to surrender his UKP1 million stake in the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG). Having already forced the head of the BBC to off-load a UKP6 million share investment in competing media group Granada, politicians and former BBC vice-chairman Lord Rees-Mogg are concerned by a conflict of interest between the worlds of stage and TV.
ATG have a programme-making alliance with BBC rival Carlton Communications. ATG's portfolio of cutting-edge West End shows like Spoonface Steinberg, Schockheaded Peter and In Flame has tempted Carlton to sign an agreement under which they get first option to screen hit plays produced by the theatre company and ATG gets first dibs on turning TV programmes into stage shows.
The cross-media agreement signposts the emerging influence of TV on the West End. The willingness of actors like comedian Dawn French and Ally McBeal-star Calista Flockhart to take to the stage could herald a theatre era owing more to the League of Gentlemen than to Shakespeare.