Newsnight fiasco

More heads will roll at the BBC, says Lord Patten

No end to the bloodletting as chairman’s own job comes under pressure, while broadcaster refuses to name executive who signed off on Newsnight report

Lord Patten, the chairman of the BBC Trust, has admitted the beleaguered organisation needs to "get a grip" and indicated that more heads will roll following the resignation of the Director-General, George Entwistle.

With the BBC caught in a crisis that threatens to eclipse even that which engulfed the organisation in the wake of the Hutton Inquiry eight years ago, an overhaul is expected at the top of the corporation.

A report on Newsnight's flawed investigation of care-home abuse in North Wales, which prompted internet speculation in which the former Conservative Party treasurer Lord McAlpine was falsely linked to a paedophile ring, has been submitted and will lead to sackings on the BBC2 show, which could be closed down.

In an interview before his resignation, Mr Entwistle said the story had been signed off by a member of the 12-strong BBC management board. The BBC was last night refusing to disclose the name of the board member.

Lord Patten said yesterday that he was looking into the report by Ken MacQuarrie, head of BBC Scotland, and that some BBC staff could lose their jobs as a result of its findings.

"We are looking into a report into how that Newsnight programme was made," he told Channel 4 News. "We've also got other reports as you know by the former head of Sky [Nick Pollard] and a distinguished judge [Dame Janet Smith] and they will involve us in making some tough decisions and those decisions may involve people's jobs."

The BBC Trust walked into more controversy after confirming that Mr Entwistle would receive a full 12-month's salary of £450,000 in lieu of notice. John Whittingdale, the chairman of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said he could not see the justification for such a large pay-off.

Senior BBC sources are expecting the Director General's role to be split in two following Mr Entwistle's obvious difficulty in coping with the fallout from the Jimmy Savile scandal and editorial failings by Newsnight while trying to manage his other responsibilities.

Mr Entwistle's successor could have a narrower role, with responsibility for the BBC's journalism being passed to a deputy. The BBC previously operated such a system but Mark Byford's role as Deputy Director General on a salary of £475,000 was dispensed with last year as the organisation came under fire for having too many senior managers. Lord Patten said yesterday that the next leader of the "very large and complex organisation" would need "the right sort of support". He said that the BBC Trust "will make changes".

Following Mr Entwistle's departure, the head of BBC Worldwide Tim Davie has assumed the role of acting Director General. It has emerged that Mr Davie, a former executive with the food company PepsiCo who joined the BBC as marketing chief, was head of the editorial chain of command for the controversial Newsnight story, although it is understood that the matter was not referred to him.

It was signed off by a member of the management board and though they have been named in the MacQuarrie report, the BBC would not identify them yesterday.

As the BBC considers the report and awaits the findings of the Pollard and Smith inquiries, the futures of many of its senior executives, including director of news Helen Boaden and her deputy Stephen Mitchell remain uncertain. It is understood that the pair – as well as Mr Entwistle – had been taken off the editorial chain handling the Newsnight story due to their connections to the same programme's Savile investigation, which dealt with similar subject matter.

Lord Patten rejected the idea that he should have warned Mr Entwistle or taken other action after seeing a tweet from Iain Overton, head of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism – which worked with the BBC on the investigation, predicting a story about "a very senior political figure who is a paedophile" . Mr Overton was yesterday discussing his future with the Bureau's trust body. Lord Patten, who insisted he would not be resigning as the BBC Trust chairman, said: "When I saw that I didn't try to intervene in a programme and it is completely absurd to suggest that I should have done."

The chairman of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee John Whittingdale said senior staff who were directly involved must also be held to account. "If George Entwistle was unaware of the programme, which he says he was, then clearly somebody below him took the decision that it was right to broadcast it," Mr Whittingdale said. "That was a terrible decision."

54 days in the spotlight: the story of George Entwistle's time as director-general

Day 1: 17 Sept George Entwistle's first day as BBC Director-General. He travels to work by Tube.

Day 9: 25 Sept BBC criticised for bowing to Buckingham Palace by apologising to the Queen for breach of confidence – after Frank Gardner revealed she had lobbied a Home Secretary about Abu Hamza.

Day 11: 27 Sept Named as September 2012's Pin-Up of the Month by the TaxPayers' Alliance, for "saving licence-fee payers' money by taking a salary that is 40 per cent less than that of his predecessor".

Day 14: 30 Sept Sunday newspaper publishes details about ITV's forthcoming Jimmy Savile investigation – including claims that the former DJ abused under-age girls on BBC property.

Day 15: 1 Oct BBC's decision to drop Newsnight Savile investigation criticised.

Day 16: 2 Oct Editor Peter Rippon writes blog defending Newsnight's decision to scrap Savile probe – insisting police were aware of all the victims' claims.

Day 17: 3 Oct ITV broadcasts its Savile documentary based on testimony of five women who claim presenter abused them in the 1970s.

Day 18: 4 Oct Tory MP Rob Wilson writes to BBC Trust boss Lord Patten demanding to know what Mr Entwistle knew about Newsnight Savile investigation and whether he was involved in its cancellation.

Day 19: Oct 5 Entwistle breaks silence in email to BBC staff, promising to work closely with police on Savile allegations but ruling out an internal inquiry.

Day 22: Oct 8 Entwistle, forced into U-turn, announces internal probe into claims Savile abused underage girls on BBC premises.

Day 26: Oct 12 Entwistle announces two inquiries into Savile scandal – one focusing on the culture of the BBC in the 1970s, and the other on the decision to shelve the Newsnight probe.

Day 36: Oct 22 Special edition of Panorama reveals Entwistle chose to broadcast Christmas tributes to Savile despite being warned by senior executives they were compromised by the Newsnight investigation.

Day 37: Oct 23 Entwistle admits to the Culture Select Committee that the Newsnight investigation should never have been dropped.

Day 47: Nov 2 Newsnight broadcasts claims from former Welsh children's home resident Steve Messham that a leading Thatcher-era Conservative politician abused him several times.

Day 54: Nov 9 Former Tory treasurer Lord McAlpine denies being the abuser, after Guardian suggests he may have been misidentified. Messham admits his error, and BBC issues unreserved apology for Newsnight report.

Day 55: Nov 10 Entwistle admits he did not see Newsnight report into Welsh care home abuse or subsequent Guardian article, in interview with John Humphrys on Today. Later he announces resignation.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Nadine Gordimer died peacefully at home yesterday
people
Arts and Entertainment
Neil Young performs on stage at Hyde Park
musicAnd his Hyde Park set has rhyme and reason, writes Nick Hasted
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Paolo Nutini performs at T in the Park
music
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Web / Digital Analyst - SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Campaign Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency is currently ...

ERP Business/ Implementation Analyst

£40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This is an e...

Content Manager - Central London

£35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Content Manager - Central...

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor