New admissions, apology as BBC claws its way back

Concedes kitten-naming misstep

The BBC has conceded another four "serious" breaches of editorial practice, and BBC director general Mark Thompson on Thursday issued another apology over the issue. As many as 25 staffers are reported to be facing disciplinary action.

The BBC said that producers of the 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 fired 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 one 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.

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