Pollard Inquiry transcripts set to 'reignite' media scrutiny of BBC

The forthcoming publication of BBC emails and other documents by the Pollard Inquiry into the corporation's handing of its coverage of Jimmy Savile will 'reignite' the media's focus on the broadcaster, it has been claimed.

The BBC: Set to faced renewed scrutiny
The BBC: Set to faced renewed scrutiny

More than 1,000 pages of correspondence will shortly be published by the BBC Trust following an investigation into the Jimmy Savile scandal.

It has been reported that the emails, texts and other documents included will disclose 'bitter recriminations' between staff.

A source with close ties to the corporation said that there was ‘huge nervousness’ within the BBC around the transcripts, and rumours of staff changes with the arrival of the new director-general Tony Hall.

‘There are fears that a broom is being readied with his arrival, and with the transcripts there are fears staff will get trampled in the process of their release.

‘This will reignite focus on the BBC, with every major newspaper trawling through the transcripts, and the possibility of a number of stories after the first drop of news as people discover more.’

The Pollard Inquiry was led by former head of Sky News Nick Pollard, and criticised senior figures at the broadcaster over mishandling the Savile scandal.

Though Lord Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, said material would be published this month, it is expected lawyers looking through the transcripts to make redactions will delay the process.

It is understood that 10,000 documents were sent by the BBC to Pollard for the inquiry.

Graham McMillan, CEO of Open Road, agreed that the transcripts would receive widespread media pick-up.

‘This will rake over old ground and potentially revive some internal problems,’ he said.

‘The key from a comms perspective to this is preparation, preparation, preparation. They must look through the transcripts, work out potential flashpoints and ensure there is a common, unified and dignified response.’

However he said that the arrival of Hall from his role as CEO of the Royal Opera House was likely to help the broadcaster move on.

‘He is extremely experienced and has all the qualities you would need in a post-crisis situation.’

When approached for comment, a BBC Trust spokeswoman reiterated a statement sent out to other media.

'We have received the relevant documents from the Pollard team, and will publish these shortly,' it said.

'There has been a slight delay while they are prepared for publication. Lord Patten was interviewed and his evidence will be treated in the same way as the other transcripts.

'We will not be commenting further on the contents of this material ahead of publication.'

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