In a letter to the Times on Friday (4 February), Bland said Dyke's shares in rival TV group Granada had been sold two months before the sale was contractually required. He added: 'It was John Birt's early departure that changed the timing; but the governors' and Mr Dyke's intention was always clear.'
Bland took the newspaper to task for what he called its campaign against Dyke. 'To imply that the new director general is a party hack, sophisticated tax minimiser and property speculator'.may stay just the right side of the libel laws,' he said, 'but it is a complete misuse of language and The Times's leader columns.'
'Mr Dyke brings huge skills to the BBC,' he continued. 'He declared all relevant interests before his appointment and agreed with governors to dispose of those which conflicted with his role as director general. Those which he retained are declared in the BBC register of interests, freely and publicly available to all, in line with Nolan principles.'