Prank Call Controversy Forces BBC Radio 2 Controller's Resignation
October 31, 2008 at 5:31 AM (PT)
The furor over the RUSSELL BRAND-JONATHAN ROSS prank call controversy at BBC RADIO 2 claims another casualty, as Controller of RADIO 2, 6MUSIC, and Popular Music LESLEY DOUGLAS exits, replaced on an interim basis by Head of Programmes LEWIS CARNIE.
In her resignation letter, released by the BBC, DOUGLAS said, "Over the 23 years of my career at the BBC I have enjoyed a deep love and respect for both the audience and the BBC. The events of the last two weeks happened on my watch. I believe it is right that I take responsibility for what has happened. It is a matter of the greatest possible sadness to me that a programme on my network has been the cause of such a controversy. I would like to take this opportunity to offer my personal apology to ANDREW SACHS and his family and to the audience for what has happened. It has been a huge privilege to have been entrusted with the leadership of the UK's most popular radio station, which is so intensely loved by the audience. I have also had the tremendous pleasure of launching BBC 6 Music and more recently of leading popular music output across the BBC.
"I know I leave BBC RADIO 2 and 6MUSIC in the hands of a dedicated and passionate team of incredibly talented presenters and production staff. I am enormously proud of what we have achieved together."
BRAND resigned and ROSS has been suspended without pay for 12 weeks over the prank call on BRAND's OCTOBER 18th show to SACHS, the actor best known as 'Manuel" on "FAWLTY TOWERS." The BBC TRUST criticized the BBC for editorial control and compliance procedures that are "inadequate and need to be strengthened," and asked the Director General to present a formal plan to strengthen editorial controls and compliance at the TRUST's DECEMBER meeting.