BBC One Controller Peter Fincham has resigned after a damning report by Will Wyatt CBE “reveals misjudgements, poor practice and ineffective systems” surrounding events which led to footage of Her Majesty the Queen apparently showing her walking out of a formal photography session being screened at the channel’s press launch.
Footage from A Year with the Queen was supplied by programme makers RDF who had compiled a tape to show at the MIP marketing convention held in Cannes.
In his report Wyatt states “I do not believe that anyone consciously set out to defame or misrepresent the Queen in the tape which was prepared� for the BBC One season launch. Nor was there ever a possibility that the� misleading sequence could have been included in the finished documentary to be broadcast by the BBC.”
When BBC Executives became aware that the screened footage had been edited out of order Wyatt says they “were slow to appreciate the magnitude and import of the mistake and consequent press story and failed to involve enough people swiftly enough.”
Also criticised is he decision, taken with the Buckingham Palace press office, to delay a correcting statement until the following morning. The report says this “was a mistake by the BBC.”
In his resignation letter Fincham says he is leaving the channel with “very great regret”. Accepting his resignation BBC Director General Mark Thompson praises Fincham’s “integrity and conviction” and his accomplishments as an “outstanding” channel controller.
The report calls for executive producers for the BBC to be “accorded a greater sense of ownership of independent commissions” and for the corporation to “introduce a contractual requirement for independents to inform BBC executive producers of any intended viewings of unfinished programmes by participants.”
Another recommendation is that “all material supplied by productions for launch tapes and for trails should be accompanied by written confirmation that they are editorially accurate”