Media Medium
17 December 2001

MARK THOMPSON

Unleash the lion

Mark Thompson, a Leo, might be more savage in his new job
as Channel 4 chief than he was at the BBC

Like every good Leo, Mark Thompson (July 31 1957) knows he belongs at the top, and on the way he has manifested some of the sign's finest qualities, especially loyalty, organisational ability, and sheer creative talent. Add to these a diplomatic and persuasive Libran Moon, plus a pinch of Virgo's modest self- deprecation and analytical skill, and there is little more that Channel 4 could ask for in its new chief executive.

His horoscope is also notable for its 'Bundle' formation - all planets bunched within a 120 degree arc - making Thompson opportunistic and highly focused, able to "build small beginnings into great and often unanticipated final results" (Marc Edmund Jones, Guide To Horoscope Interpretation). A weakness is lack of water, distancing him from the common touch and the milk of human kindness which can empathise with the watery, emotional sensitivities of others.

But there is a mismatch between what we know of Mark Thompson and what his horoscope suggests. His Leo Sun is exactly conjunct the radical and revolutionary planet Uranus, known for its eccentricity, ingenuity and willingness to switch positions unpredictably. This hardly seems to fit the "safe pair of hands" image that Thompson is credited with in his big move to Channel 4. The Leo placings make him supremely self-assured, but the Sun with Uranus gives him an independence and deep singularity, as well as a desire to be unique. His touch of disdain for people and projects that aren't quite first-rate is no doubt moderated in his dealings with others by the charm of his Libran Moon and his courteous Virgo manner, but ultimately, he is a difficult man to read: "a clean, positive force ... the Uranian is a law unto himself, receiving his commands from his own higher nature even if he only displays this in one area of life" (Liz Greene).

An astrologer can't help feeling that the world hasn't yet seen the full extent of Thompson's on-the-edge creativity. Given Channel 4's brief to balance innovation and a public service remit with commercial success, his reforming zeal might manifest more in his new job that it did at the BBC. Channel 4's first broadcast makes it a Scorpio (November 2 1982), oddly sharing its birthday with BBC Television's own first broadcast (November 2 1936). One power-riddled Scorpion is much the same as another, suiting Thompson either way because his horoscope makes similar connections to both. Uranus dominates his first year in the job and we are likely to see less modesty and more panache. He may also reveal an unexpectedly ruthless side as he clears the decks and axes the clowns. There are sure to be howls of outrage from the castrated and frustrated.

Once he is past the shake-out of his first year, 2003 and 2004 bring productive Jupiter influences, promising another of his success stories, and there is nothing obvious to pull him down or stop him. As to the distant future, Auntie probably won't be calling him home again until 2007.

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