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Monday, 16 September, 2002, 11:51 GMT 12:51 UK
The BBC's Barrymore problem
Michael Barrymore
Barrymore's biography was commissioned in 2000
The BBC is to postpone indefinitely publication of its autobiography of entertainer Michael Barrymore, after a public outcry.

Its commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, originally said that it would publish the book, which was commissioned in October 2000, despite its contents.

The book includes a chapter on the death of 31-year-old Stuart Lubbock in the entertainer's swimming pool in 2001.

But after appeals from Mr Lubbock's family, and after accepting the public mood was against publication, the BBC has changed its mind.

The corporation has not said, however, that the book has been dropped permanently.

'Redress'

If it became publicly acceptable to publish, the option to do so was still there, said media correspondent Torin Douglas.

He added BBC may face problems if it confirms it is pulling out of publication - given that Barrymore has not been charged with any offence.

"He's not been charged with anything, and if the BBC were to pull out of this deal I'm sure he'd be looking at the terms of his contract to see whether he has any terms of redress against the BBC," he told BBC News 24.

"He's being paid quite a bit of money - not as much as the papers have reported, it's nowhere near 500,000 as they've said.

The cause of Mr Lubbock's death has not been established
The cause of Mr Lubbock's death has not been established
"But he has a contract, and if the BBC were to pull out I'm sure his lawyers would be looking at that."

The book was first commissioned well before the latest scandal in Barrymore's life emerged.

It is part of a series that BBC Worldwide commissioned in 2000.

The other celebrity biographies in the series include Esther Rantzen, Clement Freud and Steven Redgrave.

The book was commissioned six months before the death happened, and the BBC says there is nothing in it that has not been revealed to the police or the coroner's court.

BBC Worldwide is charged with making as much money as possible for the BBC to offset the licence fee.

See also:

13 Sep 02 | England
13 Sep 02 | Showbiz
13 Sep 02 | England
12 Sep 02 | England
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