TV bosses cut bias claim

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Threat of legal action by the BBC over an allegation of political bias by a senior executive forced the independent company Scottish Television to carry out cuts to a fly-on-the-wall documentary on Gordon Brown screened last night.

The BBC faxed a letter threatening a writ over remarks made in the programme by Charlie Whelan, the Chancellor's media spokesman, about Kevin Marsh, the editor of World At One.

Mr Whelan's words were printed in newspaper accounts of the programme, and on Monday afternoon the BBC's legal department faxed their warning to STV. After consulting their own lawyers the company decided to cut the words in question from the programme, We Are The Treasury, which went out on ITV. Mr Marsh has been with the BBC for nine years, and is not a member of a political party. Senior BBC officials rejected that he was in any way partisan.