“We should not have put out a film that was so fundamentally wrong”: BBC’s Entwistle warns disciplinary action could follow inaccurate Newsnight report

In an interview with John Humphrys on Radio4’s Today programme, BBC director general George Entwistle warned that staff involved in the Newsnight report, which has subsequently been shown to have wrongly implicated Tory peer Lord McAlpine in a child abuse scandal, “could face disciplinary action.”

He continued to say that the film should never had been broadcast: "We should not have put out a film that was so fundamentally wrong. What happened here is completely unacceptable.

"I have taken clear and decisive action to start to find out what happened and put things right."

Entwistle advised that BBC director of Scotland Ken MacQuarrie is pulling together a report on the matter which is to be on his desk by Sunday, saying that: "Further action will follow from that – disciplinary if necessary."

He went on to admit that he was left completely unaware of the Newsnight exposé as he was out that night and has missed the tweets from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism 12 hours before it was broadcast.

He said: "This tweet was not brought to my attention so I found out about this film after it had gone out.

"In the light of what has happened here I wish this was referred to me, but it wasn't. I found out about the film the following day."

The interview has further fuelled criticism that Entwistle has continually shown a lack of interest in the BBC’s output, with a parliamentary select committee noting his "extraordinary lack of curiosity" about a Newsnight investigation into Jimmy Savile last December.

When asked by Humphrys if he should resign Entwistle said: "I am doing the right things to try and put this stuff straight. I am accountable to the trust in that endeavour. If they [BBC Trust] do not feel I am doing the right things, then obviously I will be bound by their judgment."

Search The Drum Jobs

Explore the best jobs in Marketing and Media industries
View all open jobs