Date mooted for Comic Relief Panorama

Date mooted for Comic Relief Panorama
Civil Society Finance, By Alice Sharman

An investigation by BBC Panorama into charities’ investments and executive pay, featuring Comic Relief and Save the Children, is likely to air next week, has learned.

And the BBC has denied that it deliberately delayed the documentary in order to avoid running it too close to the BBC’s own annual charity event, Children in Need, which aired on November 15.

It said in a statement: “BBC News and Current Affairs acts entirely independently of the wider BBC in commissioning and preparing programmes. It is simply wrong to suggest that the timing of the proposed Panorama investigation into the charity sector has in any way been influenced by the timing of Children in Need.

“The planned broadcast date of this investigation was delayed until we were satisfied that the programme met our robust editorial standards and we hope to schedule the programme to air in the near future.”

Matchlight, the production company behind the documentary, confirmed to that the expected broadcast date is 10 December – next Tuesday.

Early reports suggested that the documentary will explore why Comic Relief allegedly invested £150m of funds which had been raised, for up to eight years before passing it on to good causes. Allegations have been made that some of the money was invested in arms companies and tobacco firms.

A statement from Comic Relief following media reports on its money management said: “We can assure the public that Comic Relief takes the issue of managing money very seriously indeed and we publish full details of the approach taken on our website.

“The claims in these stories are inaccurate, misleading and show a total lack of understanding of the actual position. The charity has done nothing wrong.”