There are lots of lesser things along the way that with hindsight I would have done differently - management is an extremely imperfect activity; you make very large numbers of decisions and many of them are not quite right. Have I made mistakes? Yes, like everybody else, but I don't find any big mistakes on my conscience.
Alternative lives? It would be wonderful to have been born a gifted footballer or to be able to play a musical instrument beautifully or to be able to sing. They would be my fantasies. More realistically, I could have been a film director - and given my earlier career that was a real possibility - but I don't regret not being one. I also wish I'd been a foreign correspondent: I spent a lot of time when I was at the BBC visiting foreign correspondents and I always envied them.
Everybody has regrets about the skills, the knowledge they don't have. I envy economists for their ability to understand how the world works. I also wish I had a better understanding of history and a more formal grounding in literature.
Lord Birt was deputy director-general of the BBC from 1987 to 1992, and director-general from 1992 to 2000. He is now strategy adviser to the prime minister.