From Martin Bashir to Jimmy Savile, the BBC's biggest ever scandals

BBC royal documentary The Princes And The Press dedicated just two-and-a-half minutes to its hugely controversial Martin Bashir interview with Princess Diana.

This is despite the 1995 Panorama broadcast being acknowledged as one of the most shameful episodes in the corporation’s history, damned by an independent inquiry and lambasted by her family.

The BBC insists it does not shy away from its mistakes and has announced a three-part documentary series on Aunty’s biggest blunders, to be screened next year for its 100th anniversary.

We take a look at some of the boobs that should make the cut.

Martin Bashir and Princess Diana

It has since been revealed that the cub reporter’s scoop, landing an interview with Princess Diana in which she revealed there were “three people” in her marriage to Prince Charles, was based on lies.

A recent inquiry found Bashir had used fake bank statements to win Diana’s trust for the Panorama interview 26 years ago.

It led to Prince William slamming the “rogue reporter” as well as BBC bosses.

The Beeb has since written to apologise to William, his brother Harry, the Prince of Wales and Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer. It has also handed back the Bafta it won for the programme.

Jimmy Savile

The DJ and Top Of The Pops host worked at the BBC from 1964 to 2007. But it was only after his death in 2011 that he was revealed as a paedophile.

An inquiry later found Savile had sexually abused more than 70 women and children as young as eight years old.

Then Director-General Tony Hall told victims: “The BBC failed you when it should have protected you. A serial rapist and a predatory sexual abuser hid in plain sight at the BBC for decades.”

Sir Cliff Richard

The singer sued the broadcaster after it filmed a South Yorkshire police raid on his Berkshire home in 2014.

Cliff was accused of a sexual assault dating back to 1985, but he was never arrested or charged and the false case was dropped two years later.

He said of the BBC: “They smeared my name around the world.”

The Beeb apologised and is thought to have paid £2million towards wronged Cliff’s five-year legal battle to clear his name.

Hutton Inquiry

Dr David Kelly was found dead in 2003, shortly after he was named as the suspected source of a BBC report claiming the Government had “sexed up” its dossier on Iraq’s weapons.

The Hutton Inquiry, set up to examine the circumstances surrounding the death of the Ministry of Defence scientist, cleared the Government of wrongdoing while strongly criticising the BBC.

It ruled that reporter Andrew Gilligan’s allegations on the Today programme were “unfounded”.

The report led to the resignation of the BBC’s chairman Gavyn Davies and Director-General Greg Dyke.

Acting chairman Lord Ryder issued an “unreserved apology” for its “errors”.

Lord McAlpine

The BBC and ITV both apologised to former Conservative Party chair Lord McAlpine for “disastrously” and falsely linking him to historical allegations of child sex abuse at a north Wales children’s home.

Although Lord McAlpine was not named in the Newsnight report in 2012, he was widely linked to the claims on social media.

The BBC agreed to pay damages plus legal costs and Director-General George Entwistle resigned.

Fake Primark footage

In 2008 a Panorama episode titled Primark: On The Rack, claimed to show undercover footage of young boys in a workshop in Bangalore, India, manufacturing garments for the cut-price clothes chain.

But three years later the BBC Trust found that “on the balance of probabilities, it was more likely than not that the footage was not authentic”.

Panorama handed back the Royal Television Society award it had won for the documentary.

Blue Peter phone-in

A phone-in competition to children’s programme Blue Peter in November 2006 was later found to have been rigged.

A technical difficulty resulted in a researcher asking a young visitor to the TV studio to pretend to be calling from an outside line.

Media watchdog Ofcom criticised the BBC for “negligence” and for “making a child complicit” in the fakery. It also dished out its first ever fine to the broadcaster — £45,000 for faking the competition and £5,000 for repeating the show on CBBC.

The Queen 'storms out'

In 2007 a 60-second trailer of the BBC’s A Year With The Queen appeared to suggest Her Majesty had stormed out of a shoot with photographer Annie Leibovitz after being asked to remove her crown.

BBC One controller Peter Fincham told journalists at the launch that it showed the monarch “losing it a bit and walking out in a huff”.

In fact, the trailer was edited out of sequence and the latter shot was The Queen entering the room.

The BBC formally apologised to Her Majesty and Annie, admitting to a “serious error of judgment”.

Fincham resigned three months after “crowngate”.

9/11 anti-American hate

A live edition of Question Time, two days after the terror attack on the World Trade Centre in 2001, saw audience members claim the US had brought the tragedy on itself by pursuing an “anti-Arab, pro-Israeli policy” in the Middle East.

The current affairs programme descended into a shouting match and more than 600 viewers complained it was offensive.

The BBC’s Director-General Greg Dyke issued an apology to former US ambassador Philip Lader, who was on the panel and had looked close to tears.

Sir James Dyson

The BBC mistakenly referred to the billionaire vacuum inventor as a “prominent Conservative supporter” in coverage of Sir James’s texts with Prime Minister Boris Johnson about ventilators for the pandemic.

The corporation also claimed Sir James had made an £11,000 donation to the Tory party, when it was a charitable gift to support a children’s engineering festival in Wiltshire.

The BBC said: “We accept that this does not signal affiliation with any political party and we would like to put the record straight.”

Christian Eriksen resuscitation: In distressing scenes during Denmark’s Euro 2020 game against Finland, Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed.

While his team-mates formed a wall to protect him from the fans’ view, the BBC continued to broadcast the footage, even panning to Eriksen’s distraught wife.

The BBC said the stadium coverage was controlled by Uefa but issued an apology following more than 6,000 complaints.

Riots coverage

Shortly after the London riots in 2011, sparked by the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan by police, the BBC broadcast a programme under the heading: “Is there a problem with young black men?”

It provoked an angry response from viewers. The BBC expressed regret for causing offence and stated the headline had been “too stark”.

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