Hudson: "given the crown jewels"
The BBC has appointed Gill Hudson, a single mother and former editor of New Woman and Maxim, as the new editor of Radio Times.
The move is seen as a bid to shake off the magazine’s staid, ‘Middle-England’-style approach.
Hudson stepped down as editor of the BBC’s women’s glossy Eve two months ago to return to her main role as editorial director.
She will take over from Nigel Horne who quit Radio Times amid rumours of disagreements on the editorial floor in April.
Hudson said she was surprised by the job offer but added it would send out an encouraging message to other journalists who were single parents.
"It is a great marker that I was able to say, ‘I’m a single mother and I’m not sure I have got enough hours in the day’," she told Press Gazette. "They said, ‘That’s exactly why we want you to do it. You’ve got your feet on the ground, you’re not a media luvvie and we need someone who understands how busy peoples’ lives are’. I am absolutely thrilled."
Hudson said she was prepared to work as hard and fast as anyone but was not prepared to live in a "media glass bubble" and do a seven-day week.
"Radio Times is the best listings magazine around and you don’t treat that lightly. I feel I have just been handed the crown jewels and what you don’t do is trade them in for tacky diamantÅ½. I’m going to polish them until they absolutely sparkle," she said.
The BBC will be relying on Hudson to increase the magazine’s 1.2 million circulation and reverse the 5 per cent fall it suffered in the latest ABCs.
Hudson, who is known for having saved Company from the brink of closure in the Eighties, suggested there was a "slight lack of energy" about Radio Times and said she intends to work on its tone of voice.
She has already approached half a dozen new writers. "I have no track record as a hire-and-fire merchant.
I assume people are on board with me. We do have some brilliant writers and I want more – new as well as established talent," she said.
Asked whether she was prepared to stir up controversy, as the magazine did when describing some BBC correspondents as the "strangest looking males on the planet", she said: "There is room for healthy debate. The main thing is that it is informed debate. If people have got strong arguments to make that they can stand up, I am happy to run them."