25 complaints made to Ofcom over BBC old wreath footage mistake

A production blunder was blamed for the mistake, however some have suggested the decision to used archival footage from 2016 ...

A production blunder was blamed for the mistake, however some have suggested the decision to used archival footage from 2016 was a deliberate attempt to cover up the prime minister's mistake. Photo: BBC - Credit: Archant

25 official complaints have been made to Ofcom after the BBC mistakenly used old footage in coverage of Boris Johnson at Remembrance Day.

The BBC blamed a production error after they used three year old footage of the prime minister laying a wreath when he was foreign secretary, instead of more recent footage where the prime minister laid a wreath upside down,left his position too early, and was accused of looking 'dishevelled'.

The programme apologised, saying: "This morning on the programme we incorrectly used footage from a Remembrance Day service that was not filmed yesterday.

"This was a production mistake and we apologise for the error."

Now 25 complaints have been lodged with the government's regulator for broadcasting and telecommunications.


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These complainants have been directed to follow Ofcom's BBC First process, which states "Ofcom only considers complaints about BBC programmes where the complainant has already complained to the BBC and completed the BBC's complaints process, having escalated the complaint to the BBC's Executive Complaints Unit and received a final response from them."

A spokeperson for the BBC said they do not issue complaints figures.

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READ MORE: BBC says use of old footage to 'cover' PM's wreath blunder was production mistakeSome people who saw the show claimed it was unlikely that gathering archival footage from 2016 was a mistake, with one person on Twitter saying: "To think that anyone could believe one of the World's preeminent broadcasters could make such basic mistake is contemptible."

However, others have defended the incident as a mistake.

Rob Burley, editor of BBC's Live Political Programmes said: "Conspiracy theories flying about this. Truth is less exciting: a production error. My only insight from a year working on the show 10 years ago is that sometimes when a team has been up all night small errors can occur. It's a gruelling job, an amazing team & they've apologised."

A former BBC Breakfast producer, Patrick Howse, said this needed explaining more fully. He wrote: "The edit avoided showing the prime minister placing his wreath upside down on the Cenotaph. He was also dishevelled. It's not your job to make the PM look good. I would have taken more effort.

"As a former BJ [digital producer] on that programme I can assure you people who've been up all night don't go to the trouble of finding 3 year old pictures and inserting them in an edit unless they've been told to. There is something very fishy about this," he alleged.

A spokesperson for the BBC said: "This was a production mistake and we apologise for the error."

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