Charles Hill, Baron Hill of Luton PC
(15 January 1904 – 22
August 1989) was a British administrator
Hill was born in Islington, London and was
educated at St Olave's Grammar School in Southwark, London. He won a scholarship to Trinity College,
Cambridge where he gained a first class degree.
continued his medical studies at the London Hospital gaining MRCS and
MRCP in 1927 and later he gained MB, BCh and MD.
He became Deputy Medical
Officer of Oxford in 1930. He became Assistant Secretary of the
from 1932 and Secretary from 1944 to 1950.
During the Second World War
Ministry of Health had wanted the BBC
infiltrate health messages into ordinary programmes rather than
have dedicated programmes from the Ministry of Food
, but the BBC warned that
this would not be effective and would be viewed by listeners as
patronising. Consequently, Hill's role as the "Radio Doctor" became
part of the Ministry of Food's programme, "Kitchen Front", every
morning from 1942.
Hill was still the BMA's Secretary when the National Health Service
introduced in 1948. He negotiated with Aneurin Bevan
and ensured that general practitioners
did not simply
become salaried employees. He stood for Parliament for Cambridge University in 1945 as an independent.
He was successful
in 1950, becoming MP
Conservative and National
He was appointed Parliamentary
Secretary to the Ministry of Food
in 1951. He became the
(a non-cabinet ministerial position with responsibilities that
included broadcasting) in 1955; during his period in office he
publicly berated the BBC
for its reporting of
the Suez Crisis
. In May 1956, Hill
attempted to formalise the existing agreement by which discussions
or statements about matters before Parliament could not be
broadcast in the fortnight preceding any debate (the 'fourteen day
rule'). However, the Suez Crisis rendered this policy unworkable in
practice and the government agreed to its suspension at the end of
the year. Hill, who had been uneasy about the implications of the
rule for freedom of expression, was relieved.
From 1957 to 1961 he was Chancellor of the Duchy of
and from 1961 he was to Minister of Housing and Local
Government and Welsh Affairs, but he lost his place in the Cabinet
in Harold Macmillan
's reshuffle in
He was appointed as the Chairman
in 1963, where he continued his hostile attitude
towards the BBC. He was then created a life
as Baron Hill of Luton
, of Harpenden in
the County of Hertford. In 1967 Hill announced that the ITV
contracts were all to be re-advertised, because he
was concerned about the large profits being made by the major
companies and their lack of regional identity. This resulted in a
radical reorganisation of the ITV network.
He succeeded Lord
as the Chairman of the BBC Governors (1967-1972),
having been appointed by the Prime
, Harold Wilson
, to "sort
out" the Corporation. His appointment as BBC Chairman surprised the
BBC's Governors and several resigned. Sir Robert Lusty, the acting Chairman,
commented that "it was like inviting Rommel to command the Eighth Army on the eve of Alamein".
Harold Wilson encouraged Lord Hill to be active in editorial
decisions. Hill had a difficult relationship with the Director-General of the BBC
, and he eventually forced
Greene to resign in 1969. Greene later described Hill as a
"vulgarian". He had a quieter relationship with Greene's successor,
retired from the BBC in 1972 and died in 1989, aged 85.
He married Marion Spencer Wallace, with whom he had two sons and