Pressure grows for more BBC bosses to go over 'Crowngate'

One of the corporation's most senior directors could be the next to be forced out. Joy Lo Dico reports
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Jana Bennett, the director of BBC Vision, could be the next person to leave the corporation after being singled out in Will Wyatt's inquiry into the "Crowngate" affair.

The report stated that Ms Bennett, who oversees content, showed "a lack of curiosity" over why the BBC had been forced to apologise to the Queen, and had failed to grasp what a serious error had occurred. Ms Bennett occupies the second most powerful position at the BBC after director general Mark Thompson, and she has been under pressure all summer over the competition scandals dogging the corporation.

Speculation about her future highlighted an atmosphere of trepidation within the BBC after a series of controversies surrounding programmes ranging from Blue Peter to Children in Need.

A senior source within the BBC claimed yesterday that 98 complaints were made by staff to Mark Thompson. The BBC strongly refuted this number last night, and said the public has been informed of all serious editorial breaches.

On Friday Mr Wyatt, a former BBC executive, delivered his report on how a promotional tape for A Year with the Queen came to be mis-edited to show the Queen apparently storming out of a photo shoot with US photographer Annie Leibovitz. Peter Fincham, controller of BBC1, handed in his resignation that day, saying he took responsibility but that the BBC had acted in good faith.

Ms Bennett was also criticised in the report, which said that "given the information she did have, she displayed a lack of curiosity in not getting to the bottom of what exactly the BBC was apologising to the Queen for". When interviewed in The Guardian the day after the video was released, Ms Bennett "was still not aware that the shots in the clip had been shown in the wrong order" and "referring to 'a compression' of material being the problem".

Ms Bennett has been under pressure over the phone-in scandals affecting the BBC. In July BBC staff were invited to disclose any "deception concerns" involving programmes in which they have worked since 2005 to a special email hotline. In September, the BBC announced a further four "serious editorial breaches" from that investigation.

Although there is no suggestion that their jobs are at risk, Alan Yentob, the corporation's creative director, who presents the arts strand Imagine..., and Mark Thompson, the director general himself are both coming in for a great deal of criticism. Mr Thompson will announce redundancies later this month after the BBC's failure to secure the increased revenue that would have followed an increase in the TV licence fee to £180.

On the block: The heads that have rolled...

Peter Fincham

BBC1 controller resigned this week after the inquiry into footage misrepresented the Queen criticised the BBC.

Jane Fletcher

The head of press for BBC1 quit when Fincham, her boss, resigned.

Stephen Lambert

Creative director of RDF, the company behind 'A Year with the Queen', resigned on Friday.

... and the heads that may follow

Jana Bennett

Director of BBC Vision was criticised for a "lack of curiosity" in the affair.

Alan Yentob

BBC creative director may face disciplinary action for faking "nodding shots" at interviews he did not attend.

Mark Thompson

The director -general of the BBC is about to announce significant job cuts.

To have your say on this or any other issue visit