Alasdair Milne, the BBC director general between 1982- 1987, has died aged 82 following a series of strokes.
Milne joined the BBC in 1954 and was the first programme-maker to be appointed BBC director general. At his control, the corporation broadcast Live Aid, launched EastEnders and introduced breakfast TV.
Milne, who was the oldest living former director general, was forced to resign from the BBC in 1987 following repeated conflict with Thatcher’s Conservative government over the BBC’s coverage of the miners’ strike, US bombing of Libya, and the airing of a controversial documentary featuring an interview with Sinn Fein politician Martin McGuinness.
Michael Grade, who was brought in to run BBC1 during Milne's tenure, said he thought there was "nobody who cared more deeply about the BBC" and that he was "an inspirational figure who was caught up in difficult times. The whole BBC didn't understand that the world was changing with Thatcher".
Milne, born in India of Scottish parents, was controller of BBC Scotland before becoming Director General in London. He was strongly critical of former BBC Director-General John Birt whom he called "blue skies Birt". Birt's thesis on television's so-called 'Bias Against Understanding' Milne described as "balls, actually", and said "[Birt is] the most graceless man I have ever known. Ghastly man".[