Fellows robes

Lord Hall

Oration

Presented by: Roger Phillips

Honourable Pro-Chancellor, I have pleasure in presenting Lord Tony Hall for the award of an Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University.

Tony Hall - Lord Hall of Birkenhead – is the 16th Director- General of the BBC and has enjoyed a long and varied career in the media.

Born across the Mersey in Birkenhead, he was educated at King Edward’s School in Birmingham and Birkenhead School, before reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford.

Tony joined the BBC in 1973 as a trainee, initially working in the Belfast newsroom, which was to be the start of a 28-year career with the corporation. He has moved through a variety of roles including Senior Producer at World at One, Assistant Editor of the Nine O’Clock News, Output Editor for Newsnight and, in 1996, he became Chief Executive of BBC News. While at the BBC he successfully launched Radio 5 Live, BBC News 24, BBC News Online and BBC Parliament.

He left the BBC in 2001 to join the Royal Opera House as Chief Executive. There he established a department devoted to supporting new artists and developing new audiences, and he set up several new initiatives to widen access to the Royal Opera House, including screenings at various locations across the UK and low-price ticket schemes. 

Passionate about education and skills within the cultural industries, he was the founder Chair of Creative and Cultural Skills, a charity and Sector Skills Council which introduced the first formal creative apprenticeships, won Government approval to build a state-of-the-art facility for training in backstage skills and created an arts-related careers advice and guidance website.

Tony also served as Chair of the Music and Dance Scheme, and led a Dance Review for the Department for Education and Skills, resulting in an additional £5 million input towards dance education. He also sat on the Culture and Creative Advisory Forum panel for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and was Chair of the Theatre Royal Stratford East.

In July 2009, at the request of the Government and the Mayor of London, he established and chaired the Cultural Olympiad Committee, and he was a member of the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games. 

Tony has been a member of the Regeneration Through Heritage Steering Group, a Board Member for Race for Opportunity, and a Board Member for Learndirect. He was also Deputy Chairman of Channel 4 and he is a Trustee of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Foundation Years Trust.

He was appointed BBC Director-General in November 2012, and has since spearheaded a drive towards attracting broader audiences, with a particular focus on producing outstanding, world-class drama, including Sherlock Holmes, The Night Manager and Call the Midwife.

In 2005 Tony was appointed a CBE and in 2010 was created a life peer with the title Baron Hall of Birkenhead. He sits on the Crossbenches in the House of Lords. 

His lifelong commitment to public broadcasting and audience development, his dedication to providing opportunities for training and education and his ability to act with influence and integrity in often highly political and very public environments make him the best leader for the BBC as it negotiates its future. The BBC is a beacon of excellence for the UK and widely regarded as the best broadcaster in the world. As Director General, Tony has much to protect and I’m pretty sure we are in safe hands with a local lad like him.

And so it is my great pleasure to present Lord Tony Hall, this most distinguished citizen of Merseyside, for his sustained and outstanding contribution to the media and public broadcasting for admission to our highest honour as an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.