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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 July 2007, 18:38 GMT 19:38 UK
BBC apologises over Queen clips
A clip from the five-part programme
A still from the five-part programme

The BBC has apologised to the Queen for mistakenly showing footage that wrongly implied she walked out of a portrait session during a documentary.

The programme trailer showed the Queen in an exchange with photographer Annie Leibovitz, followed by a clip of her apparently walking off.

The footage, revealed to the press on Wednesday, was not intended to be seen and was shown in error, the BBC said.

The documentary, A Year With The Queen, will be shown later this year.

"The BBC would like to apologise to both the Queen and Annie Leibovitz for any upset this may have caused", the corporation said in a statement.

In a later joint statement, the BBC and production company RDF Media said the film had been edited out of sequence and supplied to the corporation in error.

Working life

Photographer Annie Leibovitz is seen in the trailer telling the Queen she will look better without her tiara because "the Garter robe is so..."

Before she can say "extraordinary", the Queen replies, pointing to what she is wearing: "Less dressy. What do you think this is?"

The clip then cuts to the Queen walking through the Palace saying to her lady-in-waiting: "I'm not changing anything. I've had enough dressing like this, thank you very much," implying she had stormed off from the portrait session.

But in fact, this clip was filmed before the photographs were taken.

Annie Leibovitz
Leibovitz is famous for her celebrity portraits

The trailer was shown to journalists at a press launch of the BBC's autumn schedule.

Stories describing what appeared to be the Queen walking out subsequently appeared widely, including on the BBC News website.

The BBC said the trailer was never intended to be seen by the public or the press and was shown to journalists "in error".

The footage had been supplied by production company RDF Media and the BBC had no idea it had been edited out of sequence, a joint statement from the BBC and RDF said.

"This assembly was never intended to be seen by the public or the press," the statement continued.

"Unfortunately, this assembly was given in error to the BBC personnel who were preparing the BBC One autumn launch tape."

RDF Media said it "would like to apologise to the Queen and Annie Leibovitz for this error".

Controller of BBC One Peter Fincham used the sequence "in good faith" and had no knowledge that an error had been made, the statement added.

Her Majesty posed for Leibovitz in Buckingham Palace in March for a series of portraits to mark her state visit to the US.

'Remarkable access'

Four official portraits of the Queen have since been released by the famous photographer, renowned for celebrity shots including an iconic photo of a naked John Lennon embracing a clothed Yoko Ono.

The five-part documentary will start on BBC One in the autumn.

The programme observes the working life of the Queen and other members of the Royal Family as they go about their duties at home and abroad.

Blue Peter logo
The Blue Peter team apologised after the error was discovered

It covers events including the Queen's 80th birthday celebrations, the State Opening of Parliament, Royal tours, investitures and garden parties.

Mr Fincham said the BBC had had "remarkable access" to the Royal Family.

The incident comes in the same week the BBC was fined 50,000 after the results of a Blue Peter competition were faked last November.

The show allowed a child visiting the studio to pose as a caller when technical problems stopped real calls getting through to the studio.

Media watchdog Ofcom criticised the BBC for "negligence" and for "making a child complicit" in the deception.

It is the first time Ofcom has imposed a financial penalty on the BBC for an editorial failure.

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