Richard Thomas gets tough on Dot Cotton

No-one is safe from the Freedom of Information Act, not even the BBC. Big brother is cracking the whip and Aunty will have to comply. The Information Commissioner’s Office – which, one would hope, should have more important things to do – has ordered the BBC to disclose the annual staff costs for EastEnders. Perhaps the information commissioner genuinely believes the Beeb’s expenditure is the most worrying thing for Britons, and the exercise is not, for example, a naked attempt to divert attention to a household-name soap opera after months of disastrous press for government IT. The loss of the personal data of 25 million citizens by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, and so on. At least we can all rest assured that our tax pounds are working for us and the legislation is giving us access to what we really need to know: what the BBC is paying its soap stars. But if the BBC is being forced to show and tell, it is a little worrying as to what lengths the ICO will go in the name of freedom.