In this article

  1. Editorial Guidelines Issues
  2. Summary of Main Points

Last updated: October 2010

Editorial Guidelines Issues

This guidance note should be considered in conjunction with the following Editorial Guidelines:


  • Impartiality

See Editorial Guidelines Section 4 Impartiality


  • Fairness

See Editorial Guidelines Section 6 Fairness, Contributors and Consent


  • Harm and Offence

See Editorial Guidelines Section 5 Harm and Offence


  • Accuracy

See Editorial Guidelines Section 3 Accuracy


  • Editorial Integrity

See Editorial Guidelines Section 14 Editorial Integrity and Independence from External Interests: Product Prominence


Summary of Main Points


  • If a complete programme has been through the full editorial compliance process, its chapters do not normally need to go through the process again, as chapters are just a means of navigating the programme.

  • Impartiality lies at the heart of the BBC and applies to all our services and output. Due impartiality should normally be achieved across the sections chosen for chapterisation.  When creating "highlight" chapters from a single programme, or adding chapters to a portfolio of episodes, take care not to eliminate or add weight to aspects of the argument.


  • It is particularly important to consider due impartiality when your service normally only chapterises highlights, rather than complete programmes.


  • For some output dealing with major matters of public policy or political or industrial controversy or other controversial subjects, it may be advisable to sequentially chapterise whole programmes.


  • Where due impartiality is achieved over a series, it may be advisable to add chapters to all episodes.


  • There may be politically sensitive times, such as during an election campaign, where it becomes essential to chapterise complete programmes in relevant genres, rather than select "highlight" chapters.


  • Chapterising can assist programmes and networks in navigating audiences to different aspects of arguments, or updating stories as they unfold.

  • Chapters should fairly represent people's contributions.


  • In Factual and Factual Entertainment programmes, care should be taken in the selection of chapters so that a distorted impression is not given of someone - for example, where the person undergoes a redemptive journey through the narrative of the whole programme.


  • With potentially offensive content, consideration should be given to how to prepare people for the material they will encounter in the chapter. Chapter points should be carefully selected and clear descriptions may need to be written in the metadata, perhaps pointing to a further chapter where the scene is resolved.

  • Where a strong or challenging programme has been given a "G for Guidance" icon, the icon should also be automatically triggered when a chapter is selected. The PIN/password protection system, for parents to restrict access, also applies to chapters.
  • In deciding on chapter points, consideration should be given to whether there is a risk that the audience could be misled if important information is left out of a chapter.

  • Care should be taken so that the choice of chapters does not give undue prominence to a particular product, where in the whole programme a selection of different products are shown.


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