BBC defends live coverage of raid on Cliff Richard’s home

BBC director-general Tony Hall has defended the corporation’s live coverage of a police raid at Cliff Richard’s home, but expressed regret at the distress caused to the singer.

Speaking to reporters at the launch of the BBC’s annual report, Hall said the BBC would “respond in due course” to a letter received from Richard’s team.

Richard confirmed at the weekend that he planned to sue the BBC and South Yorkshire Police over live coverage of the raid at his home in August 2014.

Officers investigating allegations of historical sex offences were filmed searching Richard’s apartment in Berkshire, leading to him being publicly named as part of the probe. The 75-year-old was never arrested or charged.

Hall said: “Well, we’ve said two things publicly. On one hand, we’ve said Sir Cliff [Richard — who is a fabulous entertainer and has done great things for the BBC over very many years — we’ve said we’re sorry for the stress he’s been caused over the last couple of years.

“We’ve also said that the Home Affairs Select Committee reviewed — they had myself, James (Purnell) and others in front of them including South Yorkshire Police — they reviewed our decisions and said we see nothing wrong in the BBC decision to run the story, and I think that’s right."

In June, the Crown Prosecution Service dismissed the case on grounds of insufficient evidence.


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