BBC sanctions a major series covering a century of its own scandals – and will likely include Bashir’s interview with Diana, its handling of the Savile sexual abuse scandal and obscene calls broadcast on The Russell Brand Show

  • Three-parter, presented by David Dimbleby, sanctioned by director-general Tim Davie as key part of Corporation’s centenary celebrations next year
  • Insider said Mr Davie has taken view BBC must ‘drain the swamp’ if it is to survive
  • Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, a critic of the BBC, has spoken of the need for it to reform

The BBC is to make a documentary series covering a century of its own scandals. The three-parter has been sanctioned by director-general Tim Davie (above) as a key part of its centenary celebrations next year

The BBC is to make a major documentary series covering a century of its own scandals.

The three-parter, which will be presented by David Dimbleby, has been sanctioned by director-general Tim Davie as a key part of the Corporation’s centenary celebrations next year.

One insider said Mr Davie has taken the view the BBC must ‘drain the swamp’ if it is to survive.

The scandals likely to feature include Martin Bashir’s controversial interview of Princess Diana in 1995, and the obscene phone calls broadcast on The Russell Brand Show on Radio 2 in 2008. 

The comedian and guest Jonathan Ross left lewd messages on the answerphone of Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs, referring to the actor’s granddaughter Georgina Baillie.

Regulator Ofcom later fined the BBC £150,000 over the incident and Brand resigned. 

One insider said Mr Davie has taken the view the BBC must ‘drain the swamp’ if it is to survive. The scandals likely to feature include Martin Bashir’s controversial interview of Princess Diana in 1995 (above)

Also likely to feature are the obscene phone calls broadcast on The Russell Brand Show on Radio 2 in 2008. The comedian and guest Jonathan Ross (both pictured) left lewd messages on the answerphone of Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs, referring to the actor’s granddaughter Georgina Baillie

Georgina Baillie (pictured) was the subject of offensive remarks made by Russell Brand on his Radio 2 show. Regulator Ofcom later fined the BBC £150,000 over the incident and Brand resigned

Other subjects include the Corporation’s handling of the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal and the 2003 row which prefaced the suicide of government weapons inspector Dr David Kelly.

A source said: ‘Tim Davie believes owning up to past mistakes is the only way for the BBC to secure its future. 

David Dimbleby is considered the perfect man for the job. 

Other subjects include the Corporation’s handling of the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal and the 2003 row which prefaced the suicide of government weapons inspector Dr David Kelly. (Above, Savile in the 1970s)

Davie is particularly mindful of the need for the BBC to be honest about its mistakes – and there have been many of them – so there is an element of self-flagellation to this.

‘I think the arrival of Nadine Dorries as Culture Secretary has also been a factor in his decision.’

Ms Dorries, a critic of the BBC, has spoken of the need for it to reform. 

A spokesman for the Corporation said: ‘It will be a history of the BBC, exploring its role at major moments of political and cultural change, its conflicts with governments over the years, and its own public controversies.’

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