Hardeep Singh Kohli suspended for 'acting inappropriately'

BBC's 'One Show' reporter agrees to take leave after female colleague complains
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The Independent Culture

It has been called one of the most boring programmes on television, critics and producers dismissing it as a "patronising pile of TV excrement" and "predictable, pedestrian tat".

But however uncontroversial the BBC's topical news programme The One Show might appear on the surface, an altogether different story seems to be unfolding behind the scenes.

Yesterday, it emerged that one of the its roving reporters, Hardeep Singh Kohli, has been suspended for six months after behaving inappropriately towards a female researcher.

The woman lodged a complaint two months ago. Kohli, 39, said he had apologised "unreservedly" for his behaviour after being called in to face senior BBC officials.

"Nobody has accused me of sexual harassment," he said. "I recognise I overstepped the mark and have apologised unreservedly."

It is the second time this year that a reporter on The One Show, which airs on BBC One at 7pm each weekday, has been disciplined. In February, the BBC sacked Carol Thatcher – the daughter of the former prime minister Margaret Thatcher – after she allegedly referred to a tennis player as a "Golliwog" in front of guests in the show's backstage green room.

The BCC asked her to issue an unconditional apology but was forced to drop her when she refused to do so. Her spokesman said at the time that she had made the remark during a conversation backstage and had intended it "as a joke".

A BBC spokeswoman said of Kohli's suspension: "Producers of The One Show received a complaint regarding Hardeep's behaviour towards a production colleague.

"She made no formal complaint and has acknowledged that One Show management took the issue extremely seriously. He was reprimanded and immediately apologised.

"He agreed to take some time away from the show to reflect on his behaviour. This leave of absence has been agreed to be six months."

The BBC said that Kohli's ban applied only to The One Show and not to other BBC programmes.

Yesterday, a Sunday newspaper published a column by the Glasgow-born comedian entitled "My Week", a regular slot in which celebrities reflect on their lives over the past seven days.

Kohli did not mention his suspension in the column, instead choosing to recount his experiences using Twitter and cooking a charity meal in south London.

The One Show, hosted by Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley, regularly attracts up to four million viewers.

Kohli has often been regarded as one of the BBC's rising stars since winning a place on the corporation's training scheme in Scotland.

He has appeared in a number of other programmes, most recently Famous, Rich and Homeless, and used to direct the children's show It'll Never Work. He is also a former columnist for the Guardian newspaper.

Kohli is due to start performing his new stand-up comedy show, The Nearly Naked Chef, at the Edinburgh festival in just over three weeks.

The entertainer has a 16-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son. He split from his wife, Sharmila, two years ago.