Entertainment & Arts

BBC director general asks for Fincham payout briefing

Peter Fincham
Image caption Peter Fincham resigned in 2007 and is now director of television for ITV

The BBC's director general has demanded a briefing over reports that the former controller of BBC One, Peter Fincham, received a £500,000 pay-off.

The Times reported that Mr Fincham was "secretly given" the sum when he resigned over a documentary trailer which misrepresented the Queen in 2007.

Director general Tony Hall "asked for a detailed briefing about the facts" as soon as possible, the BBC said.

It would not comment directly on the £500,000 figure.

Lord Hall is expected to be told who was responsible for approving any such payment and whether it was more than the amount to which Mr Fincham was contractually entitled.

The Times report comes weeks after the BBC was criticised by the National Audit Office for paying out £25 million in severance to 150 senior BBC managers between 2009 and 2012.

Lord Hall, who was appointed director general in November 2012, has described the pay-outs as an "institutional failing" and said the BBC had "lost its way on payments in recent years".

The BBC is facing pressure to reveal the identities of the senior managers who received such pay-offs.

Image caption Tony Hall was appointed director general in November 2012

The corporation has told the Public Accounts Committee it would not disclose the information because it wanted to protect people's privacy.

Meanwhile, former director general Mark Thompson has been called to appear before the committee on 9 September to answer questions about the severance packages.

Mr Fincham became the focus of media attention in July 2007 after a press conference for BBC One's autumn launch.

He introduced a documentary trailer that he said showed the Queen storming out of a photo shoot "in a huff".

The monarch's supposed tantrum made headlines around the world. But the Queen had not stormed out and the clip had been edited out of sequence.

The fall-out ultimately forced Mr Fincham to quit. Now ITV's director of television, he was unavailable for comment on this story.

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