Edwards: The colleague said the BBC didn’t want people to think a madman was reading the news

Huw Edwards said a colleague told him the BBC “don’t want people to think there’s a madman reading the 10 o’clock news” after he told them he was depressed.

The broadcaster, 60, described how his employer reacted when he told them, explaining that there was a “deep frozen silence” at first while his former boss was very supportive.

Edwards, who has been with the public broadcaster since 1984, revealed in a documentary last year that he had depression that left him “bedridden” since 2002.

He described how he still deals with it now, but added: “It’s not as bad as it was.”

On the ‘Fortunately…with Fi and Jane’ podcast hosted by BBC journalists Jane Garvey and Fi Glover, they asked Edwards how her employer had reacted to the news.

He said: “With a kind of deep freeze at the start, as the organization always does.

“People don’t understand what the BBC is like. It can be a very personable and supportive organization. That can not be. It’s a very bureaucratic organization.

“John Sergeant said to me in Westminster many years ago: ‘Never forget that the BBC is a bureaucracy and you cannot expect it to have a heart in a sense because it functions as a bureaucracy.’

“And that advice, while not always true, helped me a lot in understanding that a lot of the BBC’s findings that you are sometimes the victim of were not personal at all, just the machine delivering something. In this case, the machine took a while to react.”

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He added: “But I have to say with people like [former director of BBC News & Current Affairs] Fran Unsworth, my former news chief, couldn’t have been more supportive. It was fantastic.

“I think, you [the BBC] were pretty nervous. One of my colleagues, using an expression that I can use because I was on the receiving end of it, and which is not meant to be offensive in any way, one of them said to me: “Well the BBC don’t really want people to think that there’s a madman who reads the 10 o’clock news.’ And I said, ‘What do you mean crazy? What is that sentence?’

“But that’s actually a pretty good insight into how people still perceive these issues.” That was said three years ago.”


Edwards said when he shared his news, several colleagues came up to him and said they’d been “down on their own stuff for the last few years” (Joe Giddens/PA).

He added that several colleagues approached him when he shared his news, saying they’ve been “down on their own stuff for the past few years.”

Edwards said he chose to publicly share that he was suffering from depression as he felt it was “utter hypocrisy” to support organizations like the Shawmind Foundation or Mind, without explaining why.

“I also felt that if I opened up about it and said, ‘You can do a job and you can be successful,’ whether it’s just reading a little autocue or it might be helpful to people in some way whatever it is…while also dealing with such issues,” he added.

A BBC spokesman said: “The well-being and mental health of our staff is paramount and we have taken a wide range of measures to support them.

“Wellbeing support is being offered to staff, including the possibility of advice, on News and across the BBC. You can access our Employee Assistance Program 24/7 from anywhere in the world, and we have also trained mental health first responders on many teams.”

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/edwards-colleague-said-bbc-doesnt-want-people-to-think-a-nutter-reads-the-news-41626256.html Edwards: The colleague said the BBC didn’t want people to think a madman was reading the news

Fry Electronics Team

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