New BBC chief George Entwistle penned a letter when he was just six years old to the man then running the corporation, complaining that Tom and Jerry had been bumped off the schedule.
Entwistle, 50, took over as director-general from Mark Thompson on Monday, on a much-reduced salary of £450,000. He told the Radio Times that his father, a lecturer, did not send the letter but handed it to his son more than 40 years later, when he applied for the high-profile job of running the BBC.
"I had misspelt it 'derector'. My father, underneath, had written Broadcasting House, London, and then failed to post it - very typical of my dad," Entwistle revealed.
The outraged six-year-old wrote the letter on behalf of his two younger brothers when coverage of Chancellor Roy Jenkins' 1969 budget overran and cartoon Tom and Jerry disappeared from the schedule.
The former director of BBC Vision, who launched The Culture Show and edited Newsnight, was rejected by two BBC graduate training schemes before finally getting a foot in the door.
He said he was fascinated by culture and international politics from a young age, saying: "I would go to my bedroom and listen to Kaleidoscope and The World Tonight. I think my parents thought it was a bit strange. But these programmes laid a foundation..."
He added: "There has barely been a morning - with the exception of holidays - since I was aware of what was going on in the world, that I haven't listened to the Today programme."
In his first full day running Newsnight the September 11 terror attacks took place. He said: "It's awful, in these tragic human events journalists can't quite get the excitement out of their voice about how it felt."
He said of running the BBC: "The original letter I wrote as part of the application process (for the job of director-general) said that I both love the BBC and at times find it an immensely frustrating place."
He added: "My hunch is that there isn't a single bit of the BBC that, in places, can't do better."