BBC face up to a Tweenie PR nightmare

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Oh dear. The BBC’s latest PR gaffe has seen it airing an old episode of a children’s TV show, featuring a character dressed as disgraced TV star Jimmy Savile.

The Tweenies, which aired on Sunday morning, saw a character called Max adopting the distinctive DJ’s accent and dressing in lots of gold jewellery. He even used some of the DJ’s well-known catch phrases, including ‘Now then guys and gals.’

Twitter immediately went into overdrive, with outraged parents expressing uncensored opinions about the BBC’s quality control and self-destructive tendencies.

The BBC has (of course) apologised and stated that the show will never be screened again, but the story has hit every national newspaper and social media channel over the past 48 hours, the damage is done.

It’s the latest episode in an ongoing affair, which has seen the BBC accused of allegedly shelving a Newsnight investigation into the DJ, senior production staff ‘stepping aside’ and both internal and external inquiries taking place. It also played a key role in the resignation of  George Entwistle, the BBC’s Director General, who departed after just 54 days in the job.

So what next? The Tweenies skit just goes to show how well-known the DJ was, and what an icon he had become. His face, name and image are indelibly stamped onto the minds of millions of young people and parents, myself included. But, while we may be able to erase him from our memories, the BBC may not find it quite so easy to delete him from the hundreds of TV and radio shows he recorded for them over the years.

The lesson from Sunday’s broadcast fiasco: double, triple, even quadruple check when screening repeats.