BBC sets new on-air talent guidelines

Review comes in the wake of the Sachsgate affair

LONDON -- New BBC editorial compliance guidelines have banned on-air talent and their agents from receiving exec producer credits on BBC radio and television programs, even when they own or manage the production company.

In the wake of the so-called "Sachsgate affair," a review of BBC editorial guidelines released Thursday said that talent and their agents "must not be responsible for editorial standards or compliance procedures for the program in which they appear, and therefore should not be credited as the executive producer."

The pubcaster said the move will be effective immediately, except under "exceptional circumstances," in which case an additional BBC executive will have an executive producer credit and be responsible for editorial compliance and standards.

Sachsgate, which forced the resignation of presenter Russell Brand and suspended talk show host Jonathan Ross after obscene phone calls were broadcast as part of Brand's radio show, prompted outrage and more than 60,000 complaints. The show had been produced by Brand's production company Vanity Projects.

"Onscreen and on-air talent plays a vital role in BBC productions, both independent and in-house, and their creative input is very highly valued," BBC Vision controller of editorial standards George Entwistle said. "But creative input must not be confused with responsibility for editorial standards and compliance. Artists and their agents need to be free to focus on the creative process while another senior member of the team takes responsibility for ensuring that compliance procedures are followed and editorial standards are met."
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