After a BBC career of 23 years, our Editor, Welshman Phil Parry, now looks on with horror as MORE disturbing details emerge in a scandal involving the corporation (Russell Brand), but officials say they have been unable to track down transport records.
The information has been disclosed after previous terrible controversies which have massively damaged the corporation’s image, so questions are now being asked about the behaviour of senior officials there, and the future of the man at the top, Director General Tim Davie.
Earlier Phil has described how he was helped to break into the South Wales Echo office car when he was a cub reporter, recalled his early career as a journalist, the importance of experience in the job, and making clear that the ‘calls’ to emergency services as well as court cases are central to any media operation.
He has also explored how poorly paid most journalism is when trainee reporters had to live in squalid flats, the vital role of expenses, and about one of his most important stories on the now-scrapped 53 year-old BBC Wales TV Current Affairs series, Week In Week Out (WIWO), which won an award even after it was axed, long after his career really took off.
Phil has explained too how crucial it is actually to speak to people, the virtue of speed as well as accuracy, why knowledge of history and teaching the subject is vital, how certain material was removed from TV Current Affairs programmes when secret cameras had to be used, and some of those he has interviewed.
He has disclosed as well why investigative journalism is needed now more than ever although others have different opinions, how the coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown played havoc with media schedules, and the importance of the hugely lower average age of some political leaders compared with when he started reporting.
My eyes see what has been happening, but my brain does not compute the details!
Recent events at the BBC are absolutely unbelievable to watch, and call into question key policies which are in place, so the future of the man in control of them (Director General Tim Davie) MUST be questioned.
What EXACTLY is going on at the organisation he leads?!
We have seen a star presenter sacked for breaching guidelines on impartiality, another who apparently did the same thing, but was such a big draw that he was brought back again, and one who is not to be seen on our screens now, because he was at the centre of allegations that he had paid £35,000 to someone for explicit pictures.
Now a further star who worked at the BBC is at the centre of MORE allegations that he abused people, which have come out because the corporation says proudly it has launched a ‘review’.
TWO further complainants have apparently put themselves forward to the corporation (and it takes great bravery to do so), since it launched the ‘review’ into the behaviour of Russell Brand, but officials do not go so far as to reveal the nature of the allegations.
The update on the ‘review’ was published on Tuesday and executives added revealingly that “it would appear that no disciplinary action was taken against Russell Brand during his engagement with the BBC in 2006-8 prior to his departure from the BBC”.
There are now a total of FIVE complaints which have been made about Mr Brand’s behaviour while he hosted radio shows between 2006 and 2008.
One was first made in 2019 and relates to a previously reported allegation of misconduct while on BBC premises in Los Angeles in 2008.
Two complaints were made during Mr Brand’s time working as a presenter for BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music, and we have been told on the BBC website (information which may be of interest to corporation high-ups, but is hardly important): “The BBC’s director of editorial complaints and reviews, Peter Johnston, is conducting the review into Brand’s behaviour at the time, whether managers knew about any allegations, and what action they took”.
And that: ‘The BBC announced in September that it was “urgently looking into the issues raised” by the allegations’.
Let’s examine, in a bit more detail, the BBC’s response, following a joint investigation by Channel Four’s Despatches and the Sunday Times (ST).
The corporation’s website appears to confirm there is more of an obsession with ‘systems’ rather than the allegations themselves, and declares: “One claim was that Brand had teenage girls driven to his home via BBC cars. However, the interim update from Mr Johnston said: “Due to the passage of time the BBC’s records of car bookings are no longer available.
“This means that we have not been able to identify the precise details of this or any records or details of specific journeys or bookings made for Russell Brand”.
To be clear, the allegations against Mr Brand are AWFUL, whether or not officials are unable “…to identify the precise details of …records or details of specific journeys or bookings made for Russell Brand”.
One of Mr Brand’s accusers has claimed the BBC car took the girl from school to the star’s house when she was just 16 years old.
“Alice” told BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour the alleged abusive relationship left her feeling “cheap and dirtied”.
The Economist sees this as one of the most disturbing accusations.
It has said about the incident in a special report: ‘Among the most chilling allegations are the claims that Mr Brand sexually assaulted a teenager, with a bbc car picking up the 16-year-old from school. During their relationship, Mr Brand referred to her as “the child”’.
But it seems that following the correct BBC procedure is far more important for the officials conducting the ‘review’ into what happened, which has shown that it has been impossible “…to identify the precise details of …records or details of specific journeys or bookings made for Russell Brand”…