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BBC denies Mark Thompson 'unhappy' with Olympics coverage

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The BBC has "emphatically" denied reports that Mark Thompson, its outgoing director general, was "unhappy" with the corporation's focus on Team GB in its Olympics coverage.

Thompson, who will step down from the role as BBC boss in the autumn, also issued a statement saying that it was "quite wrong" to suggest that he was not happy with the "whole BBC team about the brilliant performance of Team GB".

Mark Thompson

© MGEITF

BBC Olympics app screenshot

© BBC



Ever since the Games began on July 27, the BBC has racked up some of its biggest ever television audiences - including a peak audience of 26.9 million for opening ceremony and 20m for Usain Bolt's win in the men's 100m final.

The corporation has also generated record daily visits to the BBC Sport website.

But an email sent by the BBC's director of news Helen Boaden is reported to have said that Thompson was "increasingly unhappy that we are focusing far too much on Team GB's performance to the exclusion of all else".

It was reported that Boaden's memo was sent to a small group of BBC News executives following a call in which Thompson is claimed to have expressed his dissatisfaction with the coverage.

But sources within the corporation have said that the email in fact misinterpreted earlier comments made by the director general at a BBC meeting.
The BBC has now issued a statement denying the claims that Thompson was "unhappy" with the London 2012 coverage, and also accusing the media of being "mischievous and wrong" to make the suggestion.

A BBC spokesman said: "We emphatically deny that the director-general has made any complaint about the nature of our news coverage of the Olympics and to suggest otherwise is mischievous and wrong."

In a statement, Thompson also refuted the reports and said that the BBC was "right" to focus on the sporting achievements that the "whole country has been celebrating".

"I am as delighted as our audiences and the whole BBC team about the brilliant performance of Team GB - and it is quite wrong to suggest otherwise," he said.

"The BBC has been right to focus on sporting achievements which the whole country has been celebrating and we will continue to do so with pride.

"We can do that while at the same time making sure that our news programmes fully reflect some of the other great sporting achievements and human stories of the London Games."

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