Russell T Davies on the red carpet of this year’s TV Baftas
The BBC has said that it broke its own rules about impartiality by broadcasting comments made by Russell T Davies in an interview at the TV Baftas earlier this year.
Back in May, Russell spoke to the BBC about his hit drama It’s A Sin, which had received a wave of nominations at the awards show.
Speaking about the Channel 4 show’s success, he said: “And, of course, it was made on a channel that the government is going to sell off, while they’re also planning to get rid of the BBC licence fee.
“So, if you like shows like this, go and vote differently, that’s what I say.”
Russell’s remarks were broadcast on the BBC, prompting one viewer to complain they were in breach of impartiality guidelines as they were not “put into proper context”.
A post on the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) website explained: “The reporter and producer were on location at the awards ceremony rather than at New Broadcasting House where the material was edited together.
“The reporter’s commentary was designed to introduce a remark about Doctor Who, but a different clip was selected by mistake.
“The strong political view it included was not balanced by any reflection of government policy during the news channel’s coverage of the Baftas that evening, and was therefore in breach of the BBC’s requirement to show impartiality on politically controversial matters.”
Russell walked the Baftas red carpet with incoming Doctor Who star Ncuti Gatwa ahead of his own return to the BBC show
A review concluded that the finding was reported to the board of BBC News and discussed with the programme team concerned.
Russell’s previous work with Channel 4 includes the shows Queer As Folk, Cucumber and Banana.
He has been among the vocal critics of the government’s plans to privatise the network.
“[Channel 4] exists to make this kind of drama and that’s going to fall away now,” Russell said last year.
“Come back in 10 years and you’ll see. I can’t promise we’ll be here to talk about this sort of programme on Channel 4 for much longer because the government is gutting it.”
The cast of It’s A Sin
More recently, he hit out at the Conservative government during an acceptance speech at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards.
“I’d also like to say while I’ve got this stage, [It’s A Sin] was made by Channel 4,” he told those in attendance.
“Public service broadcaster, dedicated to making this sort of programme. We know the government has said they are going to sell that off… I know the government is wounded at the moment, it’s like a wounded dog and a wounded dog bites everyone and rabies will spread. It’s still in danger.
“They said they are selling Channel 4 and they’ve said they’re stopping the licence fee by 2027 and we have to realise the things the Tories say they’ll do, they do, they’re very good at that. We’re full of doubt, they’re not, they will do this. This is wrong.”
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