Page last updated at 09:17 GMT, Saturday, 6 October 2007 10:17 UK

BBC One boss quits: Media reaction

Analysts and media industry figures have given their reactions to the resignation of BBC One controller Peter Fincham in the wake of the Queen documentary row.

JANINE GIBSON - Editor-in-chief, Guardian Unlimited

I think he was in a very difficult position.

Rarely, it turns out, amongst TV executives in the current furore over TV fakery, Fincham's come out and rather quickly done the decent thing and taken it on the chin.

He has held himself responsible, which puts him in quite a good light.

He's had a very good tenure as controller of BBC One.

I actually think this will, in the end, play rather well for him, and that he will resurface elsewhere with his creative credentials very much intact.

He retires with his channel as channel of the year [an award it won at the Edinburgh TV Festival], with many successful entertainment and drama hits. And he will go on.

Of course, what it means for the BBC is yet another slew of headlines about a corporation in crisis.

GREG DYKE - Former director general of the BBC

In most circumstances this report could have come out and he could have said "I'm very sorry" and carried on.

People do make mistakes at work, you know.

In the circumstances that have gone on across television this summer, and particularly at the BBC, I think that was never going to be good enough.

The reason why Peter Fincham, I suspect, resigned is not what he said at the press conference or the tape - that's not his responsibility, really. It's that the moment he discovered it was wrong he didn't react quickly and sufficiently to do something about it.

STUART PREBBLE - Former chief executive, ITV

I think it's very sad.

Peter Fincham is an excellent controller of BBC One, and has done a really good job. Perhaps it's inevitable that he has now gone, but it's a great shame.

It's not always immediately obvious what's happened. Sometimes terrible mistakes are made, you end up apologising and are apologising for the wrong thing.

No doubt mistakes were made and people do pay a high price, but I do think it's a shame for somebody like Peter Fincham, with his track record and the things he was doing with BBC One.

There is undoubtedly a problem of trust. It's the job of television to try to rebuilt that. It is particularly unfortunate that TV is being attacked by the newspapers, many of which are responsible for a higher level of inaccuracies than television has ever been.

The BBC is working hard to put things right and rebuilt trust and it absolutely needs to do that.

These things are very often about hunting for scalps, hunting out the guilty people. The most important thing is that lessons are learned.

STEVE HEWLETT - Former editor, Panorama

Without change in important positions, it's quite hard to refresh organisations, because all the relationships that led to the difficulties remain in place.

This is a very specific event, and it involves a degree of misconduct by some known individuals.

It doesn't appear to be systematic - it's just an error.

They've done the wrong thing. So, OK, they're out - now they'll start again.

ANDREW PIERCE - Daily Telegraph assistant editor

Why on earth did it take four months to reach this sorry conclusion, that Peter Fincham had to go?

How on earth could it have been seen as acceptable not to have responded earlier than 18 hours after Fincham realised that he had made a hideous mistake?

And we can't quite understand either why a man with all that experience in broadcasting would have seen a trailer not once but three times, and not thought: "The Queen having a huff in public, does she do that? Have we ever seen the Queen in more than 50 years on the throne throwing a wobbler?"

And he was the one that used the expression "had a huff".

[It is] quite staggering, quite amazing, frankly, that it took four months and an independent report to come to the conclusion that this was a very, very sorry saga.

The Queen was very badly misrepresented. RDF, frankly, should be hanging its head in shame.

The interviewees were speaking to BBC News 24, except Greg Dyke who appeared on BBC Two's Newsnight.


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