Stephen Lawrence documentary: Final episode about police corruption mysteriously removed from BBC iPlayer

Corporation cites 'legal reasons', 'rights reasons', and 'an inaccuracy' for programme's removal

Tom Embury-Dennis
Tuesday 24 April 2018 12:27 BST
Father of Stephen Lawrence says he forgives his son's killers

An episode of a Stephen Lawrence documentary examining police corruption was mysteriously removed from iPlayer by the BBC.

Responding to questions from viewers, a BBC Twitter account said the programme had been taken down variously “for editing”, for “legal reasons”, and for “rights reasons”.

A spokesperson for the corporation told The Independent it was off air to "correct an inaccuracy", but refused to provide further details.

It comes despite the episode having already aired on terrestrial television last week. A revised version was added to the BBC’s streaming service late on Tuesday morning.

Stephen: The Murder that Changed a Nation has received critical acclaim for its analysis of the racist killing of 18-year-old aspiring architect Stephen Lawrence in 1993.

The three-part TV series takes a hard-hitting look at Stephen's death by a group of white youths at a bus stop in south-east London, the subsequent failures of police to properly investigate, and the 1998 public inquiry that found the Metropolitan Police to be “institutionally racist”.

According to the BBC’s website, the third episode of the series looks at “questions of racism and corruption” surrounding the police, and “revelations that the police spied on the Lawrence family”.

Some social media users reacted with anger at the removal of the show.

“Absolutely livid they’ve taken down the last episode due to legal reasons,” one user wrote. Another said: “So mad that the third episode of the Stephen Lawrence documentary got removed from BBC iPlayer.”

The series was timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the teenager's death on Sunday.

Ahead of a memorial service, attended by Stephen’s parents and the royal family, Theresa May announced a national commemoration to Stephen will be marked on 22 April each year, and will be known as Stephen Lawrence Day.

His father, Neville Lawrence, said: “We have got some justice and now this is like a mark of what we have been trying to do for years – our son’s memory is going to be enshrined in history.”

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