Corrections and Clarifications - Archive 2017

The BBC's responses to editorial, technical and corporate issues.

This page includes apologies, significant corrections, statements and responses, and findings from the BBC Trust. It does not include routine corrections to news stories, minor on-air apologies and schedule changes.

Corrections and clarifications are published in the order that they were issued.

Russia with Simon Reeve

BBC Two, Sunday 1 October 2017

This programme suggested that many reindeer populations are in steep decline because of climate change. It would have been more accurate to say that many reindeer populations are threatened by it.


BBC News at Ten

BBC One, Monday 4 December 2017

The programme ran the wrong pictures in its coverage of the death of the Bollywood actor Shashi Kapoor.

A production error meant it showed different actors instead of Mr Kapoor and his uncle.

We’re very sorry for the mistake.


Money Box

BBC Radio 4, Saturday 18 November 2017

The programme stated that up to 100,000 people might receive reduced levels of Universal Credit or even none at all over Christmas.

We said this was because benefits are lowered in relation to earnings and December has a fifth Friday on which wages can be paid.

This was also reported on the Today programme and on morning radio news bulletins.

Universal Credit assessment periods are not the same for everyone: they are determined by when you apply, rather than by each calendar month.

Some claimants will receive reduced Universal Credit as a result of having five pay packets in their November/December assessment period but not all. The number affected is around 25,000.

We apologise for this error.



BBC Two, Monday 20 November 2017

Newsnight suggested that the wedding of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh had taken place in 1937. It was of course ten years later.


The World at One

BBC Radio 4, Friday 27 October 2017

In this edition it was stated that when a non-binding referendum on independence for Catalonia was held in 2014 "Only two thirds of the population took part but 80% of them did want Catalonia to become a separate country."

Estimates vary but local officials stated that out of 5.4 to 6.2 million eligible voters 2,305,290 people took part, between 37.2% and 42.7%.


Question Time

BBC One, Friday 27 October 2017

A questioner referred to "low and decreasing numbers" of non-white and "poor" students at Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

In fact the number of BAME (Black and minority ethnic) students at both universities has increased since 2014.

Research by David Lammy MP, to which this question referred, did not in fact include figures for students from poorer backgrounds.



BBC One, Saturday 30 September 2017

A guest stated that young people should be allowed to vote at 16 because they are allowed to "shoot to kill for your country and be shot killing for your country in the army". In fact 16 and 17 year olds can join the Army but cannot be sent to a war zone.


BBC News at Six

BBC One, Thursday 14 September 2017

It was stated that after the Governor of the Bank of England had raised the possibility of an increase in interest rates the pound had strengthened "hitting a one year high against the Dollar and the Euro". In fact this was only true of the rate of the pound versus the dollar, not the euro.


The World at One

BBC Radio 4, Monday 23 October 2017

In the introduction to an interview it was stated that in the event of the United Kingdom failing to reach a trade agreement with the European Union, "The rules of the WTO would apply. Tariffs would be imposed on goods the UK sends to the EU and on the goods the EU sends to the UK." This discounts the option of the UK choosing to apply no tariffs on imports worldwide which is permissible under WTO rules.


BBC News at Six and BBC News at Ten

BBC One and BBC News Online, Thursday 12 October 2017

A BBC investigation found that some patients who had been born with sexual development disorders, and their families, had no access to psychological care at Great Ormond Street Hospital.In these reports it was stated that the Health Regulator, the Care Quality Commission is ‘investigating’. This means that information from the reporter was shared with the relevant inspection team, which then contacted the hospital ‘for clarity and a full response’.



BBC Radio 4, Monday 21 August 2017

In an introduction to the first in a series of reports on Africa's increasing population we spoke of a 'baby boom'. In fact, the population is rising despite a comparative decline in fertility.



BBC Radio 4, Thursday 21 September 2017

In the Business slot after 6am it was stated that according to Reuters ‘10,000 jobs have already gone’ from the City of London following the Brexit vote . In fact the survey predicts that ‘10,000 finance jobs will be shifted out of Britain or created overseas in the next few years if the UK is denied access to Europe’s single market’.


The English Fix

BBC Radio 4, Friday 1 September 2017

In this edition it was stated that the minimum period for qualification as a veterinary surgeon in Britain is seven years , but only one year in Spain. In fact the minimum period for qualification is five years in both countries.


BBC News Northern Ireland

BBC One Northern Ireland, Friday 1 September 2017

A report about a disability discrimination case said a tribunal awarded a woman more than £11,000 after finding her employer, Charles Hurst Ltd, discriminated against her because of her mental health. We wish to clarify that the tribunal did not find that the employee was discriminated against because of her mental health. The tribunal found that Charles Hurst had failed to make reasonable adjustments by taking too long to process the employee’s request for reduced working hours on mental health grounds.


Six O'Clock News

BBC Radio 4, Friday 18 August 2017

In a report on the Muslim Council of Britain, we reported that  it is a representative body for 500 Sunni mosques and schools. We did not intend to mean this was its total reach. The MCB says it is a non-sectarian national representative Muslim umbrella body with over 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools.


The World Tonight

BBC Radio 4, Tuesday 23 May 2017

In an edition of the programme broadcast from Manchester, the presenter referred to ‘Jewish riots in the 1940s’ in the city. We wish to make it clear that these riots were aimed at Jewish people not instigated by them.


Have I Got News for You Election Special

BBC One, Friday 9 June 2017

A tweet shown on the programme purporting to be from a ‘James Conwyn MP’ was subsequently revealed to be a fake Twitter account. The fake account used the image of a real-life person and the BBC Commissioning Editor has offered her apologies to that individual and advised that the programme will be amended before any repeat.


The Andrew Neil Interviews: Nicola Sturgeon

BBC One, Sunday 28 May 2017

Asked about the state of public services in Scotland, the First Minister explained her government’s decision to impose a cap on pay was to avoid compulsory redundancies in the health service in Scotland. Mr Neil suggested that there had not been any compulsory redundancies in England either. In fact eighty eight nurses were made compulsorily redundant in England between October 2015 - September 2016, the last period for which figures are available.


BBC North West

Twitter, Sunday 11 June 2017

We wish to clarify that BBC North West was informed by Greater Manchester Police that the original march in Manchester on Sunday was organised by the English Defence League.

However, it transpires that this was incorrect and it appears to have been organised by a group called UK Against Hate via a Facebook page, and 

We apologise for this error, and we agree the term “far right” was not an appropriate way to describe all those on the march, as a number of diverse groups were represented.

The term "anti-racist" was used in our Tweet as shorthand to describe a number of groups which came together in the counter-protest, which included Unite Against Fascism who have a slogan “stand up to racism”.


BBC Election Debate 2017

BBC One, Wednesday 31 May 2017


Some viewers contacted us querying the composition of the audience for the event.


The BBC commissioned polling company ComRes to recruit an audience reflecting the country demographically and politically.

The BBC Election Debate 2017 involved a discussion between seven different parties, and while some members of the audience were more vocal than others this does not mean its composition was not balanced. 

The Conservative and Labour parties had the largest share of supporters in the room.

ComRes has published a fuller summary of its methodology here:



‘Rosa Monckton: Let learning disabled work below minimum wage’

BBC News Online, Thursday 2 March 2017

In an article reporting comments from Rosa Monckton it was stated that Philip Davies MP had told Parliament that disabled people should work for less than minimum wage, during a debate on the Employment Opportunities Bill.

The article was subsequently updated to make clear that Mr Davies had said that people with disabilities should have the option of working for less than the minimum wage.

An update note was also added to the bottom of the article outlining this change.


BBC News at Six

BBC One, Tuesday 16 May 2017

In a report on Labour's tax proposals our economics editor explained that "those earning above £80,000 will pay a tax rate of 45p in the pound. If you earn above that amount the loss will be around £400. For those earning £123,000 the rate rises to 50p. That could leave some with a loss of up to £23,000."

The studio graphic behind him gave these figures:

Income £80,000 pay 45p tax

Loss of £400 

Income £123,000 pay 50p tax

Loss of £23,000

This made it look as if the £23,000 figure might apply to an income of £123,000, which it does not. You would have to earn £500,000 to pay that much extra in tax.

This was made clear in a subsequent report in the News at Ten later that day.


BBC News at Ten

BBC One and BBC News Online, Sunday 7 and Monday 8 May 2017

In a report on the pensions ‘triple lock’ a graphic showed a figure of up to £159.55 for the basic state pension. In fact this maximum applies to the ‘new state pension’ for individuals who reach state pension age after 6 April 2016. The basic state pension, available to older claimants, is £122.30 per week.


Panorama: Madeleine McCann - Ten Years On

BBC One, Wednesday 3 May 2017

In the programme it was stated that Mr and Mrs McCann had set up a charity, the ‘Find Madeleine’ fund. In fact the fund was established as a not-for-profit company with charitable aims.


BBC News at Ten

BBC One and BBC News Online, Monday 10 April 2017

In a report about the abuse of schoolboys and young people by John Smyth in the 1970s and 80s it was stated that he is accused of carrying out a series of brutal assaults “on pupils at Winchester College". We would like to make it clear that 12 out of 22 documented cases involved boys from Winchester College and that, as stated elsewhere in the reports, these assaults did not take place on college premises.


News bulletins

BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 2, Wednesday 5 April 2017

In a report it was stated that the Information Commissioner had fined Oxfam and other charities for having “secretly screened millions of donors and traded personal details with other charities to target people for further donations.” In fact Oxfam was fined for telematching (using existing data or phone numbers to obtain personal information not provided by donors) and not for wealth screening or data sharing.


BBC News at Six

BBC One, Friday 31 March 2017

The opening headline stated “No talk on trade until there's a deal on the divorce - the EU rejects the government's Brexit plan.” In fact, as was explained later in the programme , draft guidelines issued by the Council of Ministers allow for preliminary and preparatory discussions as soon as sufficient progress has been made in the first phase of negotiations.”



BBC One, Thursday 11 and Thursday 18 June 2015

In 2015 an edition of Watchdog included a report on the pet store chain Pets at Home. Pets at Home made a number of complaints about the programme, several of which the BBC Trust has upheld. Overall, the Trust considers that the report was not duly accurate and that some aspects were not duly impartial and not fair to Pets at Home. There were claims that were not duly accurate about pet welfare at some stores and the programme failed to reflect fairly the overall evidence gathered in the investigation, including examples of good practice. The BBC Trust acknowledges the strong public interest in Watchdog conducting investigations. However, on this occasion the Trust found that the failings were a serious breach of the BBC's editorial standards. 


Coverage of the death of Martin McGuinness

BBC News, Tuesday 21 March 2017


We received complaints from some viewers that BBC News coverage of the death of Martin McGuinness was too positive, given his past role in the IRA.


Martin McGuinness’ life and legacy divides opinion. We have reported his well-documented role in the Northern Ireland peace process, but have also placed his political career within the context of his earlier life and role within the IRA. Our coverage has included a range of voices and reaction, including from politicians and many of those directly affected by IRA and Troubles’ violence. We understand the sensitivities involved in this story and the strength of feeling that it has aroused. Our role is to reflect this reality and to provide a managed and inclusive forum in which different views can be expressed.

We remain satisfied that our coverage of this story has been proportionate, balanced and impartial.


Asian Network’s ‘Big Debate’

BBC Asian Network, Friday 17 March 2017

In a programme on BBC Asian Network listeners were asked, “What is the right punishment for blasphemy?” The question was prompted by reports that Pakistan had asked Facebook to help investigate ‘blasphemous content’ posted by people in the country.  Despite widespread condemnation, blasphemy is illegal in Pakistan, in some cases it is punishable with the death penalty. We apologise for the poorly worded question and the way it was posted on social media, it was never our intention to imply that blasphemy should be punished. The question should have been better phrased and put into clearer context.


You & Yours

BBC Radio 4, Wednesday 15 March 2017

A report into how services are charged for via mobile phone accounts mentioned a company called Mobster Ltd.  To clarify, Mobster Ltd is a Cyprus based entertainment firm offering subscriptions via mobile phones for games and other content.  It is not, and has no connection with the UK based company, Mobsta, which works in digital and mobile advertising. 


Coverage of The Oscars

BBC News, Monday 27 February 2017 


We received complaints from some viewers and listeners who felt there was too much coverage of The Oscars during BBC News programmes and bulletins.


The Academy Awards are a very high profile, global event which many viewers and listeners here in the UK are interested in following, with a high level of interest in the story as reflected in online consumption and social media activity. 

Many British actors and actresses, directors, writers, animators, designers, production personnel and technical specialists feature among the nominations each year, and they are regularly award winners, so it feels appropriate for the BBC to comprehensively cover the event.

This year saw a terrible mistake whereby the prestigious Best Picture Oscar was awarded to the wrong recipient. The scale of the error and the highly unusual circumstances surrounding it - as well as the high-profile nature of it, being beamed live right around the globe - meant it was newsworthy in its own right, and so it's been reflected across BBC News output.

BBC News has continued to report on a huge range of other news stories, both domestic and international, thus ensuring we bring our audiences coverage of a wide and diverse mix of issues.


BBC News at Six

BBC One, Thursday 23 February 2017

In an introduction to an item about migration it was stated that "49,000 fewer people came to live in to the UK than left it”. In fact data published by the Office of National Statistics for the year to September 2016 showed net migration to the UK at 273,000, down 49,000 from the previous year."



BBC One, Sunday 19 February 2017


We received complaints from some viewers who experienced audibility problems after watching episode one.


We are disappointed to learn that some viewers experienced problems with the sound in this drama.

The BBC takes audibility very seriously and the producers of SS-GB thought carefully about audibility in advance of transmission, testing the drama in line with sound guidelines.

However, in light of viewer comments about audibility following transmission of the first episode, we have looked again at the sound levels to improve the audibility for those viewers who experienced any problems.

We hope that our actions demonstrate how important your feedback is to us and that you continue to watch this series of which the BBC is immensely proud.


Weekend News

BBC One, Sunday 13 November 2016

A report used an extract from Jeremy Corbyn’s interview on The Andrew Marr Show in which he condemned ‘this nasty thing... called xenophobia and intolerance’. It was stated that he made this comment about President-elect Donald Trump. In fact he was referring to Marine Le Pen of France’s Front National and UKIP.


Editorial Standards Committee findings

Sept 2016 - January 2017

Appeals to the Trust and other editorial issues considered by the Editorial Standards Committee.


BBC News at Ten

BBC One, Friday 27 January 2017

In a report on the Holocaust we gave the impression that Polish train drivers had willingly collaborated with Nazi Germany.

This was not our intention and we fully accept that the drivers were not among those who collaborated but were in fact conscripted back into work by force after the German occupation.


BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast Show

BBC Radio 5 Live, Thursday 25 August 2016

During the BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast programme on 25 August 2016, in an interview with Omer el-Hamdoon, Deputy Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, we suggested that Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin had called for the lynching of Salman Rushdie. The BBC has been asked by Mr Mueen-Uddin to make clear, and it accepts, that while like many Muslims he found the Satanic Verses highly offensive to Muslims and their faith, at no stage did he advocate for or campaign for Mr Rushdie to be lynched or in any way harmed. The BBC apologises to Mr Mueen-Uddin for the distress and damage this statement caused him.



BBC Radio 4, Friday 2 December 2016 and Tuesday 10 January 2017

In two editions reference was made to the dispute at Grunwick Film Processing Laboratories between 1976 – 78. On 2 December it was stated that management had been racist, calling workers ‘monkeys’. This was not correct . On 10 January it was said that the management lost and the striking women won. In fact the strikers called off their action on 14 July 1978 without their demands for collective bargaining being met.


ECU Ruling - "Super-hard metal ‘four times tougher than titanium’"

BBC News Online,, Friday 22 July 2016


The article reported the publication of a paper about a new alloy with potential applications in the field of medical implants.  A reader complained that the headline was misleading because it treated hardness and toughness as interchangeable qualities when they are in fact distinct.


The paper in question focused on the hardness of the alloy, mentioning toughness only to make clear that it was not the quality under consideration.  While hardness and toughness may be interchangeable in many contexts, the result of confusing them in this scientific context was misleading.

Further action

The headline was changed to read "New alloy ‘four times harder than titanium’", and a reference to toughness was removed from the text of the article.


The World Tonight

BBC Radio 4, Wednesday 28 December 2016

In an introduction to an interview it was stated that most Gulf Arab States 'now accept the existence of the Jewish State' of Israel. In fact no members of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf recognise the state of Israel.


Robbie Rocks Big Ben Live

BBC One, Saturday 31 December 2016

We received complaints from some viewers unhappy with elements of the Robbie Williams concert broadcast in the build-up to and after the fireworks.


ECU Ruling - "11 surprising facts that show how Scottish football has changed over the last 30 years"


The article said that five Scottish Premier League clubs had survived administration while two (Gretna and Rangers) “were liquidated”. A reader complained that this conveyed the impression that the liquidation process applied to the club, as distinct from the company which had owned it, and that changes made to the article following his complaint had not corrected this impression.


In response to the complaint, the passage in question was changed to read “Two entered liquidation proceedings: Gretna and Rangers”.  This was subsequently further changed to “Two entered liquidation proceedings: Gretna and Rangers FC PLC”.  The first change perpetuated the impression that the liquidation procedure applied to the club, while the second referred to a legal entity which entered liquidation proceedings and which (whether those proceedings had been completed or merely “entered”) might well have been understood by readers as encompassing the team on the field as well as the business entity. In fact, the business, history and assets of The Rangers Football Club PLC, which went into administration in 2012, had been sold as a going concern by the administrators before any relevant company entered administration.



Further action

BBC Scotland management has reminded staff of the importance, in its reporting, of clearly differentiating between Rangers FC as a footballing entity and the various legal entities which have recently had operating control over its business interests.