BBC Home
Explore the BBC
Low graphics|Accessibility help
newswatch banner
Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 May 2006, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Anger over Glitter
Gary Glitter
Gary Glitter denied abusing underage girls in the interview
The BBC's exclusive interview with convicted paedophile Gary Glitter on Tuesday has provoked a large audience response.

More than 250 people complained that it was wrong to air the interview, conducted in Vietnam where he's serving a prison sentence for molesting young girls.

Comments included:

Shame, shame, shame on the BBC for giving so much "news" coverage to Gary Glitter. This is NOT news. The BBC has become Tabloid Trash. BBC viewers and British TV licence fee payers expect much better news and analysis than this trash TV. Shame on you!
M MacKinnon, UK

Gary Glitter should NOT have been your lead story on BBC1 at 1.00 Tuesday 2nd May. Poor judgement!
Tom Armitage, UK

Do you think that it is right (and good use of licence payers' money) to carry out and broadcast an interview with a convicted paedophile (Gary Glitter/Paul Gadd) giving him an opportunity for self publicity?
Bill Torrance, UK

With everything genuinely newsworthy that's happening right now, what is your 5pm news lead? Gary Glitter proclaiming his innocence! A "scoop" worthy of the gutter tabloid press at its worst ... what was the news editor thinking about?
Jeff Daniels, UK

Most criticism was levelled at the One O'Clock News on BBC One, but there was also criticism of the PM programme on Radio 4. Both programmes led on the interview.

Amanda Bruckshaw, deputy editor, Daytime News, replies:

Gary Glitter's trials and convictions have been covered at length by the BBC and other media -- obviously because of the public interest surrounding the fall from grace of a man who was once a role model to millions of children. Although he has been convicted in several courts, he has not been given the opportunity to account in public for his behaviour. Such an interview therefore has some news value.

In addition, the interview threw light on what appeared to be his complete inability to acknowledge his wrongdoing - an attitude of denial which perhaps illustrates the mindset of other paedophiles.

We set his interview in context - outlining his disgrace, the court judgements against him, and in our interview with our home affairs correspondent afterwards, examining the stringent approach which the authorities here would take towards him should he ever return to the UK. He came across as an unpleasant and repellent person, and our scripting before and after the interview reinforced the details of his criminality.

As to the decision to lead on it - any story which we believe is well-founded editorially, is fresh in content and is of public interest would be run prominently and would be a potential lead. There were other strong stories in the programme, some of which might also have passed that test - but having set the Gary Glitter story in the appropriate context we felt it qualified as a lead.

Peter Rippon, PM editor, replies:

We did have a vigorous debate in the office about whether we should do the interview. In the end we decided that hearing how a convicted paedophile attempts to justify his actions was an important element in how we reflect and explain the issues around paedophilia to our audience.

The Radio Four is an unashamedly adult network and our audience want us to explore areas of uncomfortable debate. I agree that the argument that Mr Gadd should not be given the oxygen of publicity is a powerful one. That is why it was important that he was subjected to a rigorous interview.

It was also why we interviewed a campaigner against paedophilia who made precisely that point and was able to explain how it fitted with the pattern of behaviour similar to other paedophiles.

Some listeners were particularly annoyed that we led the programme with the item. We took the view that once we had decided we should do it, where it appeared on the programme was a lesser issue. We were actually planning to lead the programme on a significant development in the foreign prisoner release story but less than a minute before air we had to pull it because we were not happy with the legal status of what we could broadcast.

Gary Glitter denies abusing girls
02 May 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Gary Glitter
03 Mar 06 |  UK
BBC 'regrets' King guest slot
02 Aug 05 |  Notes
BBC stands by Glitter interview
03 May 06 |  Entertainment


^^ back to top
BBC News frontpage | NewsWatch | Notes | Contact us | Profiles | History
BBC News Newswatch Friday 20:45 on BBC News 24 and Saturday 07:45 Breakfast