BBC criticised over 'Gary Barlow day'

BBC criticised for over-exposing the singer in a day's worth of scheduling

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The Independent Culture

He has been popping up everywhere over the past few months, but now the BBC’s plans to devote a whole day to singer Gary Barlow on Radio 2 next week have been criticised.

In addition to his forthcoming appearances on Ken Bruce and Steve Wright's Radio 2 shows, Barlow's concert from BBC Radio Theatre will be broadcast on air and via the red button, and an 'Ask Gary' session will run on the BBC website.

The “Let Me Go” singer may have celebrated his first solo album in 14 years reaching number two last night, but now complaints are being made about over-exposure and a lack of impartiality.

The BBC’s decision to dedicate so much airtime to Barlow has been criticised as the star has already been on Children In Need, The One Show, Breakfast and Chris Evans and Simon Mayo’s radio shows.

Outside the BBC, Barlow has appeared on The Jonathan Ross Show, The X Factor and teamed up with meerkat Aleksandr Orlov in an advert for price comparison website,

Director of radio industry group RadioCentre, Matt Payton, has criticised the “undue prominence” given to Barlow, telling The Times that the BBC “overstepped the mark previously with its promotion of acts like Coldplay and U2”.

According to BBC editorial guidelines, the company must not “unfairly promote any commercial organisations”, with artists, performers or artistic works included under this umbrella “particularly around the time of a new release”.

But the BBC has defended their plans, describing Gary Barlow Day as “no ordinary performance”. “Throughout the day you can listen, watch and interact with a bonafide national treasure - before seeing him perform in concert,” a spokesperson said.

“It is not unusual for an artist of Gary Barlow’s stature and broad appeal to appear on a range of programmes that reach different audiences.”

Barlow was flooded with tax avoidance questions during his last questions and answers stint on Twitter after it was revealed that he had invested £26 million in a ‘tax shelter’ scheme last year.