The BBC has investigated the imaginary character of the lovely Samantha on Radio 4's I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue , it has been disclosed.
The BBC has privately looked into whether to censor the smutty jokes aimed at Samantha , despite publicly signalling the familiar innuendo will remain part of the long-running show. A number of senior figures at the corporation are said to
share the concerns of a complainant, who argued the non-speaking character was referred to only as a sexual object and perpetuated schoolboy, sexist, so-called humour .
As a result, talks have been held to determine how the show can adapt to the modern day, with more female panellists booked to appear on the show and more frequent mentions of Samantha's male equivalent, Sven. It will also endeavour to make sure the
audience understands Samantha, a fictional scorekeeper who is never heard on the panel show, is a willing, even enthusiastic participant in the liaisons joked about on air.
The details of the meetings have been published by the BBC Trust as part a regular bulletin from its Editorial Standards Committee , the final arbiter of appeals if listeners and viewers are unhappy with the way their initial complaints have been dealt
with by BBC management. On this occasion, it found, the complainant's appeal did not qualify to proceed for consideration because it did not have a reasonable prospect of success. But the report detailed the many steps already taken since the
first complaint was received by Radio 4's Feedback in July 2013.
However the true extent of behind-the-scenes discussions has now been revealed, with the complainant claiming the public statement contradicted the actual correspondence she had with the BBC. A letter from a member of the Editorial Complaints Unit had
instead told her there had been:
Lengthy and detailed discussion between senior managers with a number of senior figures share, at least in part, your concerns about the manner in which Samantha in portrayed.
The report published by the BBC Trust states:
The complainant explained that she had also had further correspondence with the show's producer who acknowledged that a high-level meeting had taken place and outlined the changes that were planned for the show including booking female panellists,
featuring Sven (the male equivalent of Samantha) more frequently and making sure the audience understood Samantha was a willing even enthusiastic participant in the liaisons and stress that she was often the initiator in these relationships to avoid the
suggestion that she was being taken advantage of.
We received some complaints unhappy with comments made by presenter Nick Conrad.
Response from the BBC
During Nick's programme there was a wide-ranging, hour long debate with listeners about the ethics surrounding the Ched Evans case. Nick made it very clear that he strongly believes rape to be an abhorrent and unacceptable act. He was also joined
on-air by Sarah Green from End Violence Against Women who spoke at length with both Nick and callers to the programme.
However, Nick also made some very ill judged comments and BBC management has made it clear to him that they were inappropriate.
Nick is very sorry for any offence he has caused and he sincerely apologised at the beginning of his programme on 20 November.
Newsbeat , BBC Radio's youth-orientated news service, has committed a serious breach of editorial guidelines by
broadcasting an interview with a British jihadi who compared fighting for the terrorist group Islamic State to playing a computer game.
BBC Trust is not impressed
The BBC Trust said Newsbeat had a responsibility to protect children and young people from unsuitable content and that the broadcast should have come with an appropriate warning for Radio 1 listeners, many of whom are at school.
In the piece, broadcast last June, Newsbeat used a clip from an online video called The Isis Podcast , in which a young British man using the name Abu Sumayyah Al-Britani talked of the pleasures of jihad. He was introduced as speaking
from an internet cafe' near his training camp in north-west Syria .
A Newsbeat reporter said: Some say Isis is overtaking Al Qaeda as one of the world's most dangerous jihadist organisations. Sumayyah believes what they are fighting for is right. The terrorist was then heard saying: It's actually quite
fun. Better than, how you'd say, what's that game called, Call of Duty. It's like that but really... 3D you know. You can see everything that's happening in front of you, you know it's real, you know what I mean?
The Trust found that Newsbeat had also failed to sufficiently challenge the statements put forward in the Isis video and had failed to meet the BBC Editorial Guideline that demands that contributors expressing contentious views, either through
an interview or other means, must be rigorously tested .
Newsbeat accepted that the report should have been preceded by a warning and that more contextual information should have been included. It stressed that the film was not an Isis propaganda vehicle but a podcast produced by two
freelance journalists studying the terror group.
Nor is Ofcom impressed
Meanwhile Ofcom has also been investigating the Newsbeat interview. After an extraordinarily long report Ofcom concluded:
The Code does not prohibit particular individuals or organisations from appearing on UK television and radio just because their views or actions have the potential to cause offence, provided broadcasters comply with the Code. To do otherwise
would be a disproportionate restriction of the broadcaster's right to freedom of expression and the audience's right to receive information and ideas. This is especially the case in news and current affairs programming, where broadcasters may
wish to give coverage to or interview individuals or organisations with extreme and very challenging views as part of their legitimate and comprehensive coverage of the news. Broadcasters should be able to report on terrorist groups that pose
threats internationally and domestically. This is clearly in the public interest and expected by viewers and listeners. However, where highly controversial individuals or organisations are given the opportunity to articulate their views on
television or radio, broadcasters must always ensure that they place those views in context by, for example, providing appropriate challenge to those views and giving warnings as appropriate.
Breaches of Rules 1.3 and 2.3
Rule 1.3: Children must...be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them .
Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context...Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in
avoiding or minimising offence .
We received complaints from some viewers who were unhappy with a storyline about death and cremation.
Doctor Who is a family drama with a long tradition of tackling some of the more fundamental questions about life and death. We were mindful of the themes explored in Dark Water and are confident that they are appropriate in the context of
the heightened sci-fi world of the show.
The scene in which a character reveals 3W's unconventional theory about the afterlife was preceded by the same character warning the Doctor and Clara several times that what they were about to hear could be distressing. When the Doctor does hear
these claims, he immediately pours scorn on them, dismissing them out of hand as a con and a racket . It transpires that he is correct, and the entire concept is revealed to be a scam perpetrated by Missy.
Statement regarding Top Gear filming in Argentina, October 2014 BBC Two Logo
We received complaints from viewers concerned by press reports that, while filming in Argentina, Top Gear had apparently used cars with provocative registration plates.
We consulted the programme makers who would like to assure viewers that this was an unfortunate coincidence and the cars were neither chosen for their registration plates, nor were new registration plates substituted for the originals.
The crew of BBC's Top Gear have left Argentina after facing protests over a number plate which appeared to refer to the 1982 Falklands War.
The team, including host Jeremy Clarkson, have been filming in South America for a Top Gear special.
The show apparently provoked anger among locals by using a Porsche with the registration number H982 FKL.
Argentina's ambassador to Britain has demanded an apology from the BBC over a joke by car show Top Gear . The Argentine embassy in London
said Ambassador Alicia Castro had complained to the BBC about:
Clarkson's provocative behaviour and offensive remarks toward the government and the Argentine peopley. Furthermore, the Argentine ambassador deeply regretted Jeremy Clarkson's entirely false accusations of alleged resentment against British
citizens in Argentina.
The programme's crew had to leave Argentina hastily last month after they faced violent protests for driving a car with licence plate H982 FK, interpreted by some as a reference to the country's 1982 war with Britain over the disputed Falkland
Host Jeremy Clarkson has accused Argentine officials of whipping up anger for political capital.
The BBC said it would follow its usual complaint procedures.
The BBC has rejected a demand by the Argentinian ambassador to apologise for Jeremy Clarkson's Top Gear levity, saying the BBC2 special will be broadcast as planned.
Danny Cohen, the BBC's director of television, said there was no evidence to support the allegation that the number plate on Clarkson's Porsche, H982 FKL, was a deliberate reference to the Falklands war. Cohen said in a letter to the ambassador:
The BBC was disturbed by the violence the team faced during their visit and I know we are agreed that this violence should not be condoned.
I am very aware that some have questioned whether the number plates were in some way a prank. I would like to reassure you again that nothing we have seen or read since the team returned supports the view that this was a deliberate act.
Radio 1's Big Weekend
BBC Radio 1, 24 May 2014, 17:15 to 18:45
BBC Radio 1 hosted an annual live music event in Glasgow called Radio 1's Big Weekend , with segments of the event broadcast across the weekend.
Three complainants alerted Ofcom to the use of offensive language during the event's live broadcasts. Two of the complaints related specifically to Lily Allen's set aired between 17:30 and 18:15 on 24 May 2014 and one complaint was made about
offensive language across the whole weekend. Ofcom noted that there were six instances of fuck during Lily Allen's 45 minute performance.
At 17:27, immediately prior to Lily Allen going on stage, the on-air presenter, Scott Mills, broadcast the following warning:
Now don't forget this set may contain some strong language, it is live on Radio 1's Big Weekend. We're about to see Lily Allen. If you're easily offended please go to the website and check out some other performance.
Lily Allen's set contained 11 songs in total, three of which included fuck . Following the first instance of fuck in each song the broadcast was immediately interrupted with an apology from the on-air presenter, with these apologies
repeated at the end of the tracks.
Ofcom Rule 1.14:
The most offensive language must not be broadcastâ?¦when children are particularly likely to be listening.
The BBC pointed to the warning for strong language before Lily Allen's set began, and the multiple apologies broadcast during and after songs which included fuck .
The BBC said that at two points during Lily Allen's performance it considered whether to cut away from her set because of the repeated use of the word fuck . However the senior producer decided on balance to continue for various reasons.
These included the producer's view that few children would be listening, the very clear signposting and apologies already given. However the BBC stated that in retrospect it believed Radio 1 should have stopped broadcasting live Lily Allen's set
after the second song when she used offensive language, and only broadcast the remainder of her performance once it had been edited.
Ofcom Decision: Breach of rule 1.14
In this case the BBC clearly had prior experience with this live event from 2011. It is also important to note that in this case BBC Radio 1 was both the event promoter and broadcaster. It therefore had greater control over this event, and for
example the order and content of the performances, than if it was one for which it had negotiated the rights to broadcast. Also as Lily Allen's material was well known, and her use of strong language in performance well established, it was
reasonably predictable that her set could contain the most offensive language during a live broadcast of Radio 1's Big Weekend.
In light of Ofcom's decision in 2011, we considered that the BBC should have been more aware of this risk when broadcasting the same event in 2014. We are concerned that it did not take more measures both before and during the broadcast to ensure
compliance with Section One of the Code taking into account that the event was to be broadcast at a time when children were particularly likely to be listening. Ofcom noted, for example, that in addition to consideration of the scheduling of the
acts, the BBC also had the option of cutting away from Lily Allen's set after the first occasion when she used the most offensive language but failed to do so.
Therefore, in light of all the above factors, Rule 1.14 of the Code was breached.
In a similar investigation to Ofcom, the BBC Trust concluded:
Trustees were particularly concerned that this breach had come after several similar incidents in which the BBC had broadcast high profile music
events which had included offensive language. They noted previous occasions when this had taken place: July 2005's broadcast of Live 8; July 2007's broadcast of Live Earth and Radio 1's Big Weekend of 2011. They considered that the BBC had an even
greater degree of responsibility in regard to Radio 1's Big Weekend because it had editorial control in advance that it would not necessarily have over other events. They considered that, while artists were not paid for their performances, it was
not the case that they did not benefit from taking part. They were able to reach a very wide audience, had the benefit of wide TV, radio and online coverage and had the advantage of widespread publicity that came with the coverage.
Trustees found that in relation to the output broadcast live on Radio 1 and online there had been a serious breach of the Editorial Guidelines for Harm and Offence; in particular, Guideline 5.4.22 which states: We must not include the strongest
language before the watershed, or on radio when children are particularly likely to be in our audience, or in online content likely to appeal to a significant proportion of children.
Rona Fairhead, the former head of the Financial Times Group, has been chosen as the new chairwoman of the BBC Trust.
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said Fairhead was the preferred candidate to replace Chris Patten, who quit in May. She will be the first woman to chair the trust, which is the body in charge of overseeing the BBC.
Patten, who was appointed in 2011, left the job of chairman on health grounds following major heart surgery.
A BBC spokeswoman said there was an appointment process that still needed to be completed. But we welcome the announcement of Rona Fairhead as the preferred candidate for chair of the BBC Trust, she said.
THE BBC has apologised for broadcasting a trivial Irish joke on its flagship Scottish news programme.
The joke was broadcast on BBC1's Reporting Scotland news show during a pre-recorded segment about the funniest joke at this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It involved a reporter asking members of the public about what they find
funny. Among the contributions broadcast:
Two Irish guys look in the mirror. One goes: 'I know that guy.' The other one goes: 'I know you do, it's me you stupid guy.'
One family told The Irish Post they were gobsmacked to hear the quip:
I thought it was absolutely disgusting to see that your own national broadcaster would allow this to happen. To see comments like that about your own ethnic group on the news is so disheartening.
Responding to the complaint, the BBC apologised for broadcasting the joke. A spokesman said:
During a series of vox-pops a member of the public told a joke which may have offended some viewers.
OfCom, the UK TV censor, has received around 200 complaints over this past Sunday's on-air live segment where reporter Colin Brazier went through a Malaysian Airlines crash victim's suitcase.
OfCom's Elliott Ball told iMediaEthics:
There are 201 complaints, relating to coverage on Sky News on 20 July from 12pm and throughout the day. These are being assessed. A decision has not been made yet as to whether there will be an investigation.
Sky News apologized shortly after Brazier's segment. Brazier also penned a column this week apologizing for his actions.
Update: Meanwhile the BBC grovels to a few easily offended viewers
We received complaints from some viewers who felt the images and descriptions used in a report on flight MH17 were too graphic and upsetting.
Response from BBC News
We appreciate that Daniel Sanford's report from the site of the Malaysian Airlines crash contained images and language which would be distressing to some viewers. With this in mind, we included a warning prior to the report. We must stress that
this piece was not intended to sensationalise the crash, but to give a powerful sense of the extent of the tragedy that resulted in the loss of so many lives.
The report on the News at Ten was one of the first reports by a British broadcast journalist from the crash site of the MH17. This was an extremely harrowing scene, which was reflected in the images and descriptions used within Daniel's report.
BBC News is always aware of the need to report with sensitivity, whilst also maintaining our principles of accurate, factual and impartial news coverage.
The complainant contacted the BBC about Have I Got News For You , broadcast on 25 October 2013. His complaint concerned a reference made to Prince Harry by the host, Jo Brand, when she was talking about the royal christening of Prince
George. She said:
George's godparents include [x] Van Cutsem. I presume that's a nickname, in that [x] Van Cutsem and Harry then snorts 'em.
The complainant considered this an outrageous unfounded allegation . The complaint was dismissed at lower levels of BBC complaint handling but was escalated to an appeal to the BBFC Trust
The appeal was considered by the Editorial Standards Committee. The Committee noted the complainant's concern that Have I Got News For You alleged
Without any evidence being provided, that a serving soldier who is also fourth in line to the throne has committed a serious criminal offence and breached the Army's discipline code.
The Committee noted the response of the Complaints Director at Stage 2:
The nub of this, it seems to me, is whether a viewer might reasonably take from this that it was actually being alleged that Prince Harry was a cocaine user and I have to say that I think, on balance, that this is very unlikely. Have I Got News
For You has a well established reputation for humour that is robust, often uncomfortably personal and sometimes simply grotesque. That alone, it seems to me, helps to guard against anything said on the programme being taken as necessarily true.
The Committee agreed with this view and also noted that it was in the tradition of British comedy to extract broad humour from the Royal Family.
The Committee did not believe that there would be a reasonable prospect of success for an appeal on the grounds that the programme had breached the BBC's Editorial Guidelines on Accuracy. The Committee therefore decided that this appeal did not
qualify to proceed for consideration.
Jack Dee has allegedly threatened to quit the long-running comedy panel show, which regularly attracts 2.5million listeners, after BBC bosses ordered him to tone down his smutty jokes.
And regular panellist Tim Brooke- Taylor, who appears alongside Graeme Garden and Barry Cryer, has called BBC executives 'pathetic for taking offence at the show's innuendos.
The PC row began after a listener whinged about one of the show's best-known gags about the fictional score-keeper known as the lovely Samantha. The miserable complainant claimed that this was demeaning to women.
Brooke-Taylor told Cotswold Life magazine:
We've had terrible trouble with the BBC about the show. Someone complained about Samantha -- that it was being rude to women -- and told us we had to be careful about this and to not do that.
The writer who does Jack Dee's links said, "Well, in that case I'm leaving" , and Jack said, Well, I'm leaving, too. It's just so pathetic .
The character of Samantha was introduced in 1985 by original chairman Humphrey Lyttelton. She became the butt of double entendres and innuendos joking about her sexual exploits.
The BBC said it had received four complaints about Samantha since the start of 2013. A spokesman evaded the censorship issue:
We have regular discussions with production teams and contributors of all long-running Radio 4 programmes on how we can best keep the much-loved shows clever, relevant and fresh to listeners.
And of course under the requirements of political correctness 4 whiney whingers have to be put ahead of the listening pleasures of 2.5 million people.
The BBC has come in for some trivial criticism after broadcasting a supposedly obscene comedy which appears to make fun of the murder of Lord Mountbatten, the Queen's cousin killed by the IRA in 1979.
Norman Tebbit, the former Conservative Party chairman, claimed Radio 4's sitcom Blocked , which was aired on the eve of the 70th anniversary of D-Day, were typical of the profanity, obscenity and sheer bad taste of the
A tiny number of listeners have also complained about the show, co-written by the comedian Frankie Boyle and starring David Mitchell.
The play, broadcast at 11pm featured David Mitchell as a frustrated playwright turned theatre owner, accused of carrying out the IRA's murder of Lord Mountbatten, off the coast of Ireland. Mitchell's character Felix claims that in fact the naval
officer drowned after losing his legs in terrorist attack carried out by British special forces. Asked if he murdered the royal, his character replies:
No, they tried to pin it on me but technically speaking he drowned; very difficult to tread water with no legs.
The show also included thinly-veiled jokes about delivering a suitcase filled with metronomes onto Lord Mountbatten's boat and later mounting his leg bones above their fireplace.
It's par for the course from the BBC and they just simply don't discipline their people against profanity, against obscenity or sheer bad taste. The BBC is essentially left-wing and this shows they are particularly unpleasant in many ways, in
their arrogance and detestation of anyone who disagrees with them.
The BBC has since confirmed five complaints about the show have been made. A Radio 4 spokesperson said:
We schedule our wide ranging comedy programmes with audience expectations in mind, and this one-off comedy pilot about a family who runs a small theatre was broadcast in a late night slot at 11pm. The comedy had no content related to D-Day and
the references to Lord Mountbatten and the fictional 'Lord Mintbutton' were made by the incompetent theatre manager who lacks self-awareness and good taste.
The BBC has been caught up in another ludicrous censorship row after the broadcaster cut the word girl from
a programme about the Commonwealth Games over fears it could cause offence.
Mark Beaumont, the presenter, was being filmed grappling with a judo champion, and after he was sent crashing to the floor he said:
I am not sure I can live that down - being beaten by a 19-year-old girl.
When the half-hour episode of The Queen's Baton Relay was originally aired in April on the BBC News channel, the remark was broadcast in full. However, the word girl was edited out of a repeat of the programme, leading the
Corporation facing claims it had been overly politically correct and sanctimonious.
A BBC spokeswoman said the unedited version of the documentary was broadcast soon after being filmed because the baton's tour was treated as a news event. She added:
They had more time to edit it the second time. Mark didn't mean to cause offence. But the word 'girl' was taken out just in case it did.
A veteran BBC broadcaster's career has come to an end after he unwittingly played an old record containing the word 'nigger'
However the BBC came in for justifiable criticism for its ludicrously over the top response to a mistake.
During his nostalgic Sunday evening music show, Swingers and Stingers, which is broadcast across south west England, David Lowe last month played a recording from 82 years ago of The Sun Has Got His Hat On, by Ambrose & His Orchestra. The song
unbeknown to him, contained the lyric:
He's been tanning niggers out in Timbuktu
Now he's coming back to do the same to you
When a listener complained Lowe offered either to apologise on air or resign. His BBC managers initially said he would have to resign, but after the affair threatened to become public the corporation underwent a sudden about turn and has now
stated he can have his job back.
Lowe said the BBC sent him an email in which it was stated we would prefer that you don't mention anything about last week's broadcast . A further and final email informed him: Regrettably ... we will have to accept your offer to fall on
But spurred by bad publicity, the BBC suddenly change its position. In a statement it admitted it had handled the matter badly and said:
We have offered David Lowe the opportunity to continue presenting his 'Singers and Swingers' show, and we would be happy to have him back on air. We accept that the conversation with David about the mistake could have been handled better, but if
he chooses not to continue then we would like to thank him for his time presenting on the station and wish him well for the future.
Offsite Comment: In our own modest way, we're living in a Boko Haram world
Chris Patten has stepoed down as chairman of the BBC Trust.
Patten's controversial tenure as chairman of the BBC 's governing body has come to an unexpected halt after he announced that he would stand down immediately following major heart surgery.
He leaves the job after three turbulent years in which the BBC was hit by the fallout from the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse allegations, and with ministers having to appoint a successor before the general election.
The Conservative peer will be replaced temporarily by the vice-chairwoman, Diane Coyle, with former Sony boss Sir Howard Stringer amongst those tipped to succeed him permanently.
A complainant contacted BBC Audience Services on 2 September 2013 to complain about a comment made by Gary Lineker on Match of the Day on 31 August 2013.
The two signings that Ian Holloway talked about are ... have confirmed Jimmy Kebe the winger from Reading and also from Huddersfield the right back Jack Hunt - have to be very careful with that one. Next, Manchester City versus Hull City...
Gary stressed the letter H on the word Hunt, apparently in order to avoid the possibility of a mis-interpretation of the word Hunt , which, following the word Jack , might have either been heard by some viewers as a verbal use
of the word 'cunt'.
The complainant felt that for Gary to say he had to be very careful with that one was a crude and inappropriate comment about Jack Hunt's name on a family show .
Audience Services responded on 12 September 2013 saying that it was most definitely not the case that Gary Lineker had made an offensive comment . They noted that no laughter had accompanied the comment be careful with that one
, and that nothing had followed which could be interpreted as crude or inappropriate . Audience Services apologised if the complainant had found the comment unacceptable, but said there was certainly no intention to cause offence
The complainant was not satisfied with the response and made a follow-up complaint on 8 October 2013 and then escalated his complaint to the Trust. He said that it was indisputable that Gary Lineker was: making a reference to the worst word in
the English language. He said that the sentence had no purpose other than to emphasise the potential c word trip-up .
The BBC Editorial Complaints Committee Decision
The Committee considered the response of Audience Services in relation to Match of the Day and noted that Audience Services had apologised for any offence that had been caused, but had assured the complainant there had been no intention to cause
offence and Gary Lineker had not used offensive language. Trustees noted that the complainant had watched with his teenage son and regretted any embarrassment he may have felt. However Trustees considered that the comment made by the presenter was
elliptical and would be within the expectations of the audience of the very well established programme.
The Committee therefore decided that this appeal did not qualify to proceed for consideration.
We've received complaints from some viewers who were unhappy that there appeared to be food wasted during an item where the presenters raced cars around a supermarket.
Top Gear's response
Since we were making a tribute to 80s Hot Hatches, the supermarket challenge was filmed in the context of ram raiding shops, which was a phenomenon of that period. As such, there would inevitably be damage, especially at the speed Jeremy and
Richard were driving. Like all TV shows we have a budget for props, and the money this time happened to be spent on supermarket produce, but although the wastage looked substantial we were mindful to choose the cheapest foodstuffs -such as
juices -that would give us maximum visual impact for the least amount of damage.
Sochi 2014, Snowboarding slopestyle,
BBC Two, 9 February 2014
BBC commentators got carried away at the prospect of a British medal and ended up cheering when a competitor had a mishap. This resulted in complaints and a statement from the BBC that, as usual, refuses to
describe what actually sparked the complaint. The BBC responded to complaints as follow:
We received complaints from viewers who were unhappy with the standard of commentary during the Snowboarding slopestyle final.
The BBC's response
This was a truly historic occasion for Team GB and the commentary team were understandably very excited, however we acknowledge that on occasion this excitement got the better of them and this is something that we will work on for future
Outnumbered is a BBC sitcom. Presumably the joke being referred to was Hugh Dennis suggesting that the utilities board employ a computer that isn't on the autism spectrum when faced with a bill for £0.00.
We've received complaints from some viewers who were unhappy with a joke made in Outnumbered.
We would like to assure viewers that the reference to autism during Outnumbered was not intended to make light of the condition or to demean anyone who is affected by it. We feel this was in line with the established comic approach of
Outnumbered and was never meant to deliberately offend anyone.
BBC Trust respond to complaint about political correctness in using the term 'Asians' to describe a group of child sex abusers rather than the narrower and more obvious groupings of 'Pakistani' or 'Muslim'
The complainant wrote to the BBC Trust following the decision of the Head of Editorial Compliance and Accountability, BBC News,
not to uphold his complaint about BBC news reporting, which he felt was pro-immigrant and pro Muslim .
He referred, first, to a story which he said was reported by the BBC as being about three Lincoln men being jailed for the theft of lead, when the men had, in fact, been three Latvian immigrants.
The second story he referred to in his appeal was, he said, the Oxford sex case , in which the defendants had been referred to as Asians , when, in fact, there were seven defendants from Pakistan and two from North Africa. This, he
said, was an insult to Thai, Chinese, Malays and all other Asians.
BBC Initial Decision: Complaint not upheld
The Trust's Senior Editorial Complaints Adviser (the Adviser) replied to the complainant explaining that in reports of this nature, the Adviser considered that it would generally be good practice for BBC reporters to stick to the facts as
presented in court. Clearly, where an individual's nationality was relevant to the case, and was highlighted as such in court, it would be a different matter. But, as far as she could see from her research on other cases of lead theft from
churches, this did not seem to be a peculiarly Lithuanian (or Latvian) or, indeed, immigrant crime. The Adviser thought that, for these reasons, the Trustees would be unlikely to find that the BBC's report on the lead theft had breached any
of the guidelines.
The second case in the complainant's appeal referred to use of the term Asian , when defendants in the sex grooming case in Oxford had, said the complainant, been from Pakistan and North Africa. The Adviser considered that the Head of
Editorial Compliance and Accountability, BBC News, had given a full account of references in the Oxford case which had demonstrated that the BBC had reported the men's origins on some relevant occasions. She also noted the references at Stage 2 to
coverage of the Rochdale sex rings, the fact that it had been a feature of the case that there had been no agreement on the part of the authorities as to the role played by race and religion, and the BBC's exploration of these issues.
The Adviser considered there was no reasonable prospect of the Trustees finding the reports complained about had been in breach of the Accuracy and/or Impartiality or any other Guidelines, and the appeal would not, therefore, be put before the
The complainant requested that the Trustees review the decision not to proceed with his appeal.
BBC Trust Editorial Complaints Committee Decision: Not to proceed with appeal
The Committee was not of the view that evidence had been presented which would be likely to lead it to conclude that BBC News reporting was in breach of Guidelines with regard to the original appeal, which cited the Lincoln and Oxford criminal
The Committee did not believe the complainant's appeal had any reasonable prospect of success but joined with the Adviser in hoping the complainant would be reassured that this was an area the Trustees had given some thought to and would be
discussing further with the BBC Executive.
The Committee therefore decided that this appeal did not qualify to proceed for consideration.
The complainant wrote to the BBC Trust following the decision of the Editorial Complaints Unit (ECU) not to uphold his complaint of offence in a scene in Doctors in which a woman sat on a washing machine.
The complainant appealed to the Trust on 27 August 2013, saying that he was unhappy with the response received at Stage 2 and he wished the Trust to review it. The complainant said that the scene had shown the female character sitting on a
washing machine having a sexual orgasm ; he argued that the scene was aggressively sexual in its inference and unsuitable for the daytime slot in which it was shown.
The Senior Producer stated:
The storyline built to this scene of comedic frustration as Daniel and Zara were having trouble with their marriage and their therapist told them to refrain from sex for a couple of weeks.
An adviser to the BBC Trust said that there was editorial justification for the scene. The Adviser noted the complainant's view that the programme had depicted a full blown female orgasm and that it had been aggressively sexual in
its content. However, she considered the scene was, as the Senior Producer had stated, one of comedic frustration . She noted that Dr Carmichael was interrupted when she was sitting on the washing machine and subsequently took out her
frustration by kicking the machine. She did not consider the scene was aggressively sexual in either content or tone. She noted and agreed with the response of the Complaints Director on these points. The Adviser considered that while adult
viewers would have understood what was happening, it was unlikely young children would have made sense of it.
BBC Trust's Decision
The BBC Editorial Standards Committee appreciated the concern felt by the complainant but believed that what was clear to older viewers would not have been clear to children. Further this was a comic scene and the sexual element was mitigated by
the humour. The Committee was of the view that it would be likely to conclude that the programme met the Generally Accepted Standards as set out in the Editorial Guidelines and would not have exceeded the expectations of its daytime audience.
The Committee therefore decided that this appeal did not qualify to proceed for consideration.
The BBC published a response to complaints, notably avoiding explaining what the complaints were about.
In fact the complaints were about statements by Shabnam Masood, played by newcomer Rakhee Thakrar. She told her father Masood Ahmed, that he should not be dating Carol Jackson because she is white. After the couple's break-up, Shabnam is heard
telling him: Carol can see the obvious even if you can't. It's not right you being with a white woman.
The BBC responded:
BBC One, 14 January 2014
We received complaints from some viewers who were unhappy with a comment made by Shabnam during EastEnders on 14 January 2014.
The BBC's response
EastEnders has a rich history of tackling social issues. The show does not advocate racism or intolerance in any way; in fact it seeks to challenge these negative views.
Shabnam has returned from Pakistan with a renewed religious faith, devoutness and with some strong views. In this episode Shabnam's comments came from her personal beliefs but as viewers will see in future episodes, she is strongly challenged on
her views by her father, Masood. Drama often requires an oppositional voice or view-point in order for another character/s to express their feelings, and challenge a particular sentiment or standpoint. This is the case in the episode which will
air on 15 January, when Masood makes it very clear that he finds her views unacceptable.