BBC delays Lonely Planet magazine amid 'spoiler' claim

The BBC has delayed the launch of Lonely Planet magazine after the editor of independent travel magazine Wanderlust accused it of deliberately launching on the same day as Wanderlust celebrates its 100th issue.

During a culture, media and sport select committee hearing in London last week, Lyn Hughes claimed BBC Magazines – part of the corporation’s commercial arm BBC Worldwide – would launch Lonely Planet on 20 November, and accused the publisher of undercutting her advertising rates.

A spokeswoman for BBC Magazines said that the rumoured date for the Lonely Planet launch of 20 November had never been confirmed by the publisher.

She said: ‘We are rethinking the exact timing of the launch. We don’t have an exact date, but off the back of the select committee hearing and the concerns of Wanderlust – which is a completely unfortunate incident and not in any way a spoiler on our part – out of courtesy to them, we’ll move our date.”

The spokeswoman said that the launch date for Lonely Planet would be confirmed in the next few days.

BBC Worldwide bought a 75 per cent stake in travel publisher Lonely Planet for £89.9m last year – a move which has angered some of the BBC’s commercial rivals, who claim Worldwide is entering into territories that are not linked to the BBC’s core public service remit.

At the select committee Hughes told MPs: ‘BBC Worldwide used to argue that its magazines were in support of TV programming. They do not have a Lonely Planet TV programme, so why are they launching a Lonely Planet magazine. How on earth can that be justified?”

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