Van Klaveren hopes to remain as 5 live controller

Adrian Van Klaveren

Adrian Van Klaveren said he hopes to remain as station controller at Radio 5 live after being in the chain of command for a Newsnight report that wrongly accused a former senior Conservative of child abuse.

Speaking on Monday at the annual Radio Festival in Salford, where Radio 5 live relocated last year, Van Klaveren said he hoped to remain at the station in the long term.

"I look forward to returning to 5 live…back to the station I love and the job I love."

Jonathan Wall, who stepped up when Van Klaveren was drafted into BBC News, will remain in operational and editorial charge of the station until November 26, when Van Klaveren is due to return after taking outstanding holiday leave.

Start Quote

I look forward to returning to 5 live... back to the station I love and the job I love”

End Quote Adrian Van Klaveren Radio 5 live controller

In a Q&A panel on the Olympics, Van Klaveren was asked by session host Eleanor Oldroyd, who also hosts 5 live programmes, what mistakes were made over the story into the alleged abuse at the children's home in north Wales.

"We're still working through all the evidence around that but what I would say is that we're now at the point where a lot of things are being sorted out, a lot of inquiries are taking place and are continuing to take place, and will get to the bottom of what went on there."

He said the festival was "not the right place to get into the detail" of what happened.

Meanwhile, the inquiry into the broadcast by BBC Scotland director Ken MacQuarrie has identified "unacceptable" failings and said basic journalistic checks were not completed.

A full report will be issued after the completion of disciplinary proceedings, which have already begun.

Reporting lines

Following the controversy over Newsnight's aborted investigation into the late Jimmy Savile, Van Klaveren was called in at the end of October to oversee BBC News output on claims that the BBC presenter had sexually abused young people.

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I see how [the aborted Newsnight investigation into] Savile happened but I don't see how McAlpine happened”

End Quote Jeremy Vine Radio 2 presenter

Liz Gibbons, the acting editor of Newsnight, reported to Van Klaveren on the November 2 story about alleged abuse at a children's home in north Wales in the 1980s.

Van Klaveren's reporting line was to BBC Northern Ireland director Peter Johnston, who said he had a role in the decision-making of the report but was not reconsidering his position.

The investigation was led by former BBC journalist Angus Stickler, now with the external Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which helped produce the story. BIJ editor Iain Overton resigned on Monday - he had tweeted before broadcast that Newsnight was going to link a senior political figure with paedophilia.

"Pretty grim"

On Monday night, Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine, who used to present Newsnight, said he could not understand how the story, which led to former Tory treasurer Lord McAlpine being wrongly implicated in child abuse allegations, was ever allowed on air.

"It baffles me that Newsnight ran that McAlpine piece," he told festival delegates.

"The whole thing is so extraordinary. I see how [the aborted Newsnight investigation into] Savile happened but I don't see how McAlpine happened."

Vine, who worked with outgoing director general George Entwistle when the latter was editor of Newsnight, described him as a "brilliant editor".

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It's a profoundly sad moment for an incredibly dignified man who has given 23 years of his career to fantastic public service broadcasting”

End Quote Bob Shennan Radio 2 controller

He said he thought the programme had a future. "It's a fantastic programme with a fantastic heritage and I do believe it will get through this crisis," he said.

"Redouble efforts"

Earlier in the day, Radio 2 controller Bob Shennan described the atmosphere at the BBC as "a pretty grim time for everybody".

"It's been very, very difficult and a lot of people have been very shocked and sad."

Shennan stepped in at short notice to replace Tim Davie, who was originally due to speak in his capacity as outgoing head of Audio & Music, but pulled out when he was made acting director general.

Asked whether George Entwistle should keep his £450,000 payoff, Shennan replied: "I'm not going to talk about the terms of his departure but it's a profoundly sad moment for an incredibly dignified man who has given 23 years of his career to fantastic public service broadcasting.

"He's been one of the giants of programme making in BBC television and news and it must have been devastating for him to have to give up a job for which he was so clearly so enthusiastic just a couple of months ago."

At a festival session on Tuesday, there was applause from the audience of media industry members when 5 live deputy controller Jonathan Wall said: "We will redouble our make people proud of the BBC."


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