The BBC’s creative director Alan Yentob (pictured, Reuters) has been accused of making an "improper" call to Newsnight ahead of its report on a charity of which he is the chairman.
Yentob, who is also editor and presenter of BBC programme Imagine, is reported to have phoned staff on the BBC Two current affairs programme hours before its broadcast on the Kids Company.
The Daily Mail reports that Yentob also joined Kids Company chief executive Camila Batmanghelidjh at the studios of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the next morning. He was not invited to the studio and did not speak on air, it reports.
The newspaper quotes a source as saying: “Alan Yentob tried to maintain to Newsnight that this was not a story when the public interest was clear… It is common knowledge that he rang the Newsnight office before broadcast to find out what was going on. This was improper.”
On Yentob’s presence at the Today studios, the Mail quotes a source as saying: “Wittingly or unwittingly, this could have had an effect on how the interview went… It is highly irregular for a senior BBC executive to have been hanging around the Today studios at that time of day. He doesn’t work on the programme and shouldn’t have been there.”
The Mail also quotes Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen as saying that Yentob should resign from the BBC or the Kids Company “straight away”.
A BBC spokesperson said: "The fact that BBC broke this story shows that our journalism has been impartial and in the public interest.
"We are not going to comment on gossip but everyone knows that Alan Yentob is the Creative Director of the BBC and doesn't have any editorial control over BBC News.
"He is chair of Kids Company and can speak to media outlets about issues related to them."