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Monday, 16 September, 2002, 17:19 GMT 18:19 UK
BBC pulls Barrymore book
Artist's drawing of inquest into Stuart Lubbock's death
The inquest left Mr Barrymore's reputation in tatters
The BBC's commercial arm has "postponed indefinitely" plans to publish an autobiography by Michael Barrymore.

The announcement comes after the family of Stuart Lubbock, the man found dead in the entertainer's swimming pool last year, appealed to BBC Worldwide not to publish the entertainer's autobiography.

It had originally said it would be pressing ahead with the release but after high-level discussions, BBC Worldwide chief executive Rupert Gavin, who was out of the country at the time the criticism began, made the decision to delay on Monday.

In a separate development, coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray has referred an allegation of perjury to the police for investigation, following Stuart Lubbock's inquest, Essex Police have said.

Peter Richards, lawyer for Mr Lubbock's family, had told BBC Radio 4's Today programme earlier on Monday that to publish the book would be "squalid and unfortunate".


Publication of this book could only damage the BBC's reputation

Lord Rees-Mogg
The term "indefinitely postponed" leaves it open for the book to be published in the future if it becomes publicly acceptable and its future is under review.

A decision will be taken when reporting legal issues, including those surrounding the inquest, have finally been cleared.

'Warts and all'

The cause of Mr Lubbock's death has not been established
The cause of Mr Lubbock's death has not been established
The autobiography, commissioned in 2000 and called Running Away From Myself, would have been published in October.

A BBC spokesman had stressed the book would not contain any details that had not already been aired to the coroner and police.

Shadow culture secretary John Whittingdale said: "For the BBC to have published it would have been outrageous and would have represented an endorsement by what is still a national institution dedicated to public service."

The "warts and all" account of the 50-year-old's personal and public life was to include a chapter on the death of Mr Lubbock.


We feel very strongly the police did everything they could to investigate the matter fully

Peter Richards, lawyer for Mr Lubbock's family

Post-mortem examinations revealed high levels of alcohol and drugs, including cocaine and ecstasy, in the 31-year-old's system as well as injuries which may have resulted from a serious sexual assault.

Other action

Peter Richards said Mr Lubbock's family was grateful for the thoroughness of the police investigation.

"We feel very strongly the police did everything they could to investigate the matter fully," he said.

And, while he ruled out a pursuing a criminal action against Mr Barrymore, he refused to rule out other action. "As far as a civil proceeding, it is a matter that has been discussed."

During last week's inquest, Mr Barrymore was criticised for not answering questions about allegations of cocaine use.

The BBC had previously stressed that no licence fee funds had been used to acquire the book.

"BBC Worldwide is a commercial subsidiary of the BBC but it operates separately and at arm's length from the corporation. Licence fee income is never used to fund commercial activities," he said.

But Mr Barrymore had a signed contract, for which he was paid an advance, which could leave it open for him to claim compensation.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Torin Douglas
"For the foreseeable circumstances this book will not be published"
Michael Barrymore's lawyer David Corker
"The family have been through enough"
Stuart Lubbock's family's solicitor Peter Richards
"It seems squalid... that such a book should proceed"
See also:

13 Sep 02 | England
13 Sep 02 | Entertainment
13 Sep 02 | England
12 Sep 02 | England
16 Sep 02 | Entertainment
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