Beeb bobbles 4 more times; 25 on griddle

Kitten name altered in Web contest

LONDON -- The BBC has conceded another four "serious" breaches of editorial practice and BBC director general Mark Thompson has issued another apology over the issue, as up to 25 BBC staff were reported to be facing disciplinary action Thursday.

The pubcaster also is expected to publish its report into the so-called "Queengate" scandal next month. The controversy saw misleadingly edited footage of the queen used to publicize a BBC/RDF Media production last month.

Thompson announced a series of measures designed to strengthen contracts with freelance staff and improve clauses on editorial standards and probity.

The BBC said that producers of flagship kids' show "Blue Peter" had misled viewers in an online competition to name a "Blue Peter" kitten. The show's editor, Richard Marson, was firedsacked after it emerged that production staff altered the viewers' choice of Cookie to the name Socks, because they thought it was more suitable.

The BBC will broadcast an apology next week and introduce a new kitten to the show, this time named Cookie, to join Socks.

The three other editorial breaches occurred when production staff created fictional winners for radio competitions that no one had entered.

"I would like to repeat my apology to viewers and listeners who were misled by these editorial lapses," Thompson said. "The BBC has taken a wide range of actions in recent months to strengthen our editorial guidelines and processes to address the very significant concern rightly felt over editorial misjudgments."

The director general insisted that the breaches were not representative of BBC editorial practices, but maintained that standards had to be held up to scrutiny in all cases.