Tony Hall, Baron Hall of Birkenhead

Anthony William Hall, Baron Hall of Birkenhead, CBE (born 3 March 1951) is the Director-General of the BBC.

The Lord Hall of Birkenhead

Hall in 2019
16th Director-General of the BBC
Assumed office
2 April 2013
DeputyAnne Bulford
Preceded byGeorge Entwistle
President of the EBU
Assumed office
1 January 2019
DeputyDelphine Ernotte
Preceded byJean-Paul Philippot
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
22 March 2010
Life Peerage
Personal details
Anthony William Nego Hall

(1951-03-03) 3 March 1951
Birkenhead, Cheshire, England
Spouse(s)Cynthia (now formally styled
The Lady Hall of Birkenhead)
ResidenceLondon, England
Alma materKeble College, Oxford
ProfessionTelevision journalist, media executive

He took up the post of Director-General on 2 April 2013.[1] Previously he was Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London from 2001 until March 2013,[2] and Director of News at the BBC between 1993 and 2001.

Hall was made a life peer and took his seat in the House of Lords as a crossbench member on 22 March 2010.[3]

Early life

Tony Hall, the son of a bank manager, was born in Birkenhead, Cheshire, in 1951.[4] He was educated at two direct grant schools (now independent): King Edward's School Birmingham and Birkenhead School, before going up to Keble College, Oxford,[5][6] where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics, graduating with an MA degree.



After Oxford, Hall joined the BBC as a trainee in 1973, initially working at its Belfast newsroom.[6][7] He later worked as producer on Today, The World at One, The World Tonight, and PM.[7] He became editor of the Nine O'Clock News at the early age of 34[8].

In 1987 he was appointed Editor of News and Current Affairs, and was appointed Director of BBC News and Current Affairs in 1990, combining TV and radio for the first time. He continued to lead BBC News until 2001[9][10].

Among his career achievements are the launch of BBC Parliament, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC News 24, and BBC News Online.[7] In 1999 he applied unsuccessfully for the position of Director-General of the BBC,[11] but was later successful, being appointed as BBC Director-General on 22 November 2012,[12] and took office on 2 April 2013.[1][13][14]

Royal Opera House

Hall was appointed Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House in April 2001.[15] He set up ROH2, a department devoted to supporting new artists and developing new audiences, following which he set up new initiatives to widen access to the Royal Opera House - including big screen relays to locations across the UK: Paul Hamlyn matinées and other low-price ticket schemes.

In 2007, he oversaw the ROH's purchase of Opus Arte,[16] a ballet and opera DVD/Blu-ray production and distribution company.[17] As a Royal Opera House subsidiary, Opus Arte has relaunched its website as an online classical music retailer, selling both digital and physical products from across all the major record labels.[18]

Between 2010 and 2011, Hall's salary increased from £165,000 to £205,000, making him the highest-paid Chief Executive of all UK charities.[19] His emoluments for management of the Royal Opera House exceeded £390,000 per annum in the years ending 29 August 2010 and 2011 respectively.[20]

External appointments

Hall was appointed inaugural Chair of the industry-led Creative & Cultural Skills (Sector Skills Councils), a post he held between 2004 and 2009.[21] Sector Skills Councils introduced the first formal creative apprenticeships; won government approval to build state-of-the-art facility The Backstage Centre for backstage skills[22] located with the Royal Opera House's production park at High House Purfleet in Thurrock, Essex, and maintain a careers advice and guidance website called "Creative Choices".[21]

He served as Chair of the Music and Dance Scheme Advisory Board, and led a Dance Review for the Department for Education and Skills resulting in an additional £5 million input towards dance education. He was a member of the Management Committee of the Clore Leadership Programme until 2011. He 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 until 2009.

Hall has been a member of the Regeneration Through Heritage Steering Group, a board member for Race for Opportunity, a board member for Learndirect and Council member of Brunel University. Until May 2000 he was Chair of the Royal Television Society. In April 2007, in the wake of the 2007 Iranian seizure of Royal Navy personnel, he was asked to lead an enquiry into the MOD's media strategy. Since 2008, he has served on the board of the British Council.[7]

In July 2009, at the Mayor of London and HM Government's request, he set up and chaired a board directing the Cultural Olympiad, and also joined the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games Board.[23]

Hall has been a Trustee of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation since 2011, and was appointed Deputy Chairman of Channel 4 in 2012,[7] a post he was obliged to relinquish upon becoming Director-General of the BBC.

On 29 June 2018, Hall was elected as the new President of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).[24]

Death threats

On 25 March 2015, Hall decided not to renew Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson's BBC contract after an internal investigation found that Clarkson had assaulted the programme's producer. Hall and his wife received death threats which the BBC decided were 'credible', and they were subsequently guarded by police. On 28 March, Scotland Yard confirmed that officers were investigating the threats.[25]

Honours, awards and peerage

  • Life Peer as Baron Hall of Birkenhead, of Birkenhead, in the County of Cheshire (created 19 March 2010)[26][27]
  • CBE (2006)[28]

In September 2009 Hall received an honorary doctorate of Literature (Hon DLit) from Goldsmiths, University of London, and subsequently was elected an Honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford. The Chartered Management Institute awarded him the 2010 Gold Medal Award for outstanding achievement.

City University elected him an Honorary Visiting Fellow of Journalism in 2012,[29] and he has been a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers since 1985. Most recently, Hall received an honorary degree from Birmingham City University in January 2017[30] and honorary doctorate from City University in January 2018.


Hall has written:

  • King Coal: Miners, Coal and Britain's Industrial Future (Penguin Books, 1981)
  • Nuclear Politics: The History of Nuclear Power in Britain (Penguin Books, 1986).[7]

Personal life

He is married to Cynthia Hall, who was formerly headmistress of The School of St Helen and St Katharine and then of Wycombe Abbey, both girls' schools, and president of the Girls’ Schools Association. They have two children.[31]


  1. John Plunkett "BBC director general Lord Hall to take charge on 2 April", The Guardian, 25 January 2013
  2. "Royal Opera House appoints Tony Hall successor", BBC News, 19 March 2013
  3. "Tony Hall | British media executive". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  4. Philipson, Alice (23 November 2012). "Profile: Lord Hall, the new BBC director-general". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  5. Davies, Caitlin (7 June 2007). "My Way: Tony Hall, CBE, chief executive of the Royal Opera House". The Independent. London. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  6. British Council, Tony Hall Archived 12 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 20 November 2012
  7. BBC News, Profile: Tony Hall, 22 November 2012. Accessed 22 November 2012
  8. Philipson, Alice (22 November 2012). "Profile: Lord Hall, the new BBC director -general". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  9. "Tony Hall". Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  10. "Tony Hall, Director-General". Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  11. BBC News: Profile, Tony Hall, 14 May 1999. Accessed 20 November 2012
  12. Bob Williams "BBC confirms Tony Hall to be appointed new Director-General", The Independent, 22 November 2012
  13. Channel 4, BBC's Tony Hall installed as new director general, 2 April 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2013
  14. BBC News, BBC director general Tony Hall 'confident' about future, 2 April 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2013
  15. "Inside the BBC: Tony Hall, Director-General". Retrieved 14 July 2015
  16. "Opus Arte label - Buy music CDs & DVDs online". Presto Classical. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  17. The Stage, Royal Opera House buys DVD company, 30 May 2007. Accessed 20 November 2012
  18. "Opus Arte — Royal Opera House". Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  19. Higgins, Charlotte (30 November 2009). "Tony Hall – the arts' Mister Fix-it". The Guardian. London.
  20. Royal Opera House, Trustees' report and consolidated financial statements 2010-2011. Accessed 20 November 2012
  21. "Creative Choices". Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  22. "The Backstage Centre". The Backstage Centre. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  23. House of Lords Appointments Commission (5 February 2010). "New non-party-political peers". Retrieved 6 February 2010.
  24. "EBU - Tony Hall and Delphine Ernotte Cunci elected President and Vice-President of EBU as of 2019". Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  25. "Jeremy Clarkson sacking: BBC's Tony Hall receives 'death threats'". The Telegraph. London. 29 March 2015. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  26. "No. 59333". The London Gazette. 12 February 2010. p. 2425.
  27. "No. 59371". The London Gazette. 24 March 2010. p. 5137.
  28. "No. 57855". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2005. p. 8.
  29. "Tony Hall biography" (PDF). Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  30. "Recent honorary graduates of BCU". Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  31. "Tony Hall, profile: The BBC's last, best hope who can be 'quite ruthless in getting his way'". The Independent. 17 July 2015. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
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