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Baby Reindeer: true story or false accou…

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This is the media show from BBC Radio 4.

This week we're going to talk about the Netflix series baby reindeer with Piers Morgan with Chris Bannock valo former head of standards are often and with the former BBC legal affairs correspondent turned scriptwriter.

Clive Coleman

and you'll also know this music.

The BBC News theme is 25 years old.

It's composer David Lowe will break down what makes great music for news.

And we'll also talk to the man with a larger collection of news themed tunes in the world.

That is not just me saying it by the way he holds the Guinness World Record also the journalist who broke the story of sports Illustrated allegedly publishing AI generated stories while pretending they'd be written.

by people

has more on how AI generated news is spreading.

And here in the studio is Caroline Wheeler political editor of the Sunday Times welcome back to the media show Caroline thank you.

We want to talk to you about your long running reporting of the infected blood scandal, but this weekend.

You were part of the reporting team looking at Natalie elphick.

the Tory MP turned labour MP and now the former Justice secretary, Robert Buckland

Has accused her of approaching him before the trial of her ex-husband the former MP Charlie elfiky.

Just tell us- about your scoop.

So I think within about 15 minutes of nationalities defection.

To the Labour Party I had my phone pinging.

As you can imagine, what's up? I'm assuming it was WhatsApp and one of the first tips that came to me was this extraordinary story.

That nationally Alfred had tried to intervene in her husband's case as well at the time.

by trying to influence the Lord Chancellor

into trying to move the trial

of Charlie elfiky

and fairly explosive stuff given that there appeared to be a bit of a pattern of behavior here.

In the Natalie had been suspended.

From the House of Commons previously for having tried to influence.

At the judge by providing sort of character references for Charlie and getting other MPs involved in that.

So it's a fairly sort of explosive tip.

Which obviously I then followed up by speaking to?

All of those that were present at this meeting including Robert Buckland himself.

Who appeared to confirm the story now? There's been lots of sort of?

Question marks about why he only-- came forward after Natalie had defected well.

I was going to say is one of those tips that they would have.

Absolutely wanted to keep this quiet while she was one of their MPs but once someone crosses the floor the gloves are off absolutely and you know it's it's extraordinary seeing these defections because in both instances.

both Poulter and in this particular instance immediately the kind of

the the black files came out and was sort of liberally distributed across the lobby.

And but I mean it's fair to stay on this instance.

I mean as it was described to me, Robert Buckland

Did give I think the Chief Whip Who at the time?

Was Mark Spencer a bit of a dressing down over the fact that this meeting had been allowed to happen?

It had been-- suggested to him that this meeting was going to happen, but it absolutely wasn't going to involve this case.

and indeed when I spoke to sources close to the Chief Whip

He was rightly that as far as the kind of Fallout of that had been concerned that Robert had god about as far as disciplining the chief whippers can be done okay given the sort of seniority of both their role, so he did try to kind of raise the alarm I think with.

the sort of chief witnessing charge of the discipline of the party

because I think there's been many questions about why.

It wasn't raised with any other authority at the time but indeed it was it was raised with the individual that should have taken action okay good story Caroline stay with us because we'll be talking much more about another very good story later.

But before that we're going to talk about baby reindeer and Katie you're at the baftas on Sunday night my invite must have got lost in the post.

And baby reindeer was coming up a lot alright.

It really was I mean for a start the stars which are gad and Jessica gun and gave her an award out and I was in the room when that happened and

there was a bit of confusion in the room.

They were announced on stage and and you could just feel a little bit of a flutter of across the room of how do we respond and then there was a great deal of warmth and a lot of clapping.

But then afterwards you know backstage at the you know after party.

There was a lot of conversation about

Baby reindeer clearly you know a program that is such a hit but so marred in controversy and the main things people were talking about was.

How could Netflix have called it a true story?

if indeed

it isn't.

Which connects to this word we've heard an awful lot in the last few days compliance which is perhaps not a word that would come up in.

All BAFTA after parties but this year I imagine people wanted to get into the details of of compliance.

It's exactly that and they're being quite a lot of conversations about how the BBC oh that you know.

Public service broadcasters, they wouldn't have.

Ever let this happen the compliance teams in these places are so much better that was.

You know so there was a little bit of people feeling quite smug about.

the fact that it might not have happened if it wasn't Netflix if it was on the BBC or iTV

but yes compliance is something we're going to talk about a lot later.

Now some of you listening would have seen baby reindeer so you know exactly what we're talking about some of you listening will not have seen it.

So let's just quickly run through what this series is it tells the story?

of how the Scottish comedian, Richard Gadd Who

Katie was referring to their was stalked and Harris by a woman after serving her in a pub.

His stalker who's named Martha in the series.

Allegedly sent him more than 41,000 emails and left 350 hours of voicemails to his phone.

Martha also turns up at his home and it is workplace.

And baby reindeer if you're wondering where the name came from that's the nickname that is stalker.

Gives him and in the opening sequence of the first episode we're told.

Not that this was inspired by true events.

You'll recognise that phrase because it's used a lot in programs and films.

Instead we're told that this.

Is a true story?

And according to Netflix it's become a worldwide hit.

With 60 million views globally in one month.

Here's a clip from the series.

Every day now Martin would be outside- this ticking time bomb on my life.

I would leave first thing in the morning and she would be there.

Come back sometimes there's latest 11 or 12 at night.

And she would still be there.

And everyone understood what she got from it.

Well, we contacted Netflix and it declined to comment but Benjamin King Netflix is senior director of public policy.

UK and Ireland appeared before the culture media and sports select committee last week.

and MP John Nicolson

asked him about the series.

Baby reindeer is an extraordinary story.

and it is obviously a true story of the


abuse that the writer and protagonist, Richard Gadd


at the hands of a convicted stalker

we did take every reasonable precaution in.

Disguising the real life identities of the of the people you know involved in that in that story in the in the making of the show she's been identified while she also striking a balance with the veracity and authenticity of Richard's story because we didn't want to anonymise that or make it generic to the point where it was no longer his story because that would you know that would that would undermine the you know the in the intent behind the show.

That was Netflix is senior director of public policy in the UK and Ireland talking there.

In Parliament now as roles was saying the series is about its creator Richard Gadd being stalked.

He also in the program is groomed and raped by a male TV comedy executive now, Netflix and Richard Gadd haven't named either that person although names have been doing the rounds online.

or the female stalker but a 58 year old woman from Scotland Fiona Harvey says it is about her after being identified and named on the internet as the real Martha

she gave an interview to Piers Morgan which is being watched more than 11 million times.

Here's a little bit of it.

You chose to confirm the identity.

Because she wants to have a right of reply.

And so in her first television interview.

She joins me now.

in the studio

well, thank you for joining me Fiona first of all.

Why have you decided to go public the internet slew of striked me down and hounded me and gave me day threats so it wasn't really a choice.

I was forced into this situation.

The interview was labeled by unheard as the lowest form of television and I have been talking to Piers Morgan about his interview.

What was going on here was a lot of confusion about whether this really was a true story.

Or not it was at that point.

But one of my book is got hold of a phone number.

For Fiona Harvey who would be an identified?

In other media and social media.

as the real life Martha

and she was very willing.

immediately to come on and talk to me about all this because

she felt she had been.

exploited by

the series by Netflix by Richard Gadd by Clark and Wilson what was the process you already a pretty good reason to do it and how much assessment, what was the process your end how much assessment did you do before?

You decided yes absolutely we're going to have our own.

Roughly because of course I was still under the impression.

from Netflix and Richard Gadd that she was a convicted stalker

Now I've interviewed a lot of serious criminals in my time for crime documentaries from serial killers to Psychopaths so I don't take any of these things lightly if she was a convicted stalker who had gone to prison.

And put his life through hell.


We had to think long and hard about the public interest justification.

In giving her the platform.

but I felt that there was enough of a

question mark surrounding

that part of the story.

To justify her at least giving her side of the story.

She is in fact he.

That there was no.

court case

there was no convictions you certainly never played guilty you says

and there was no prison sentence and did you do check on her head of that did you check that out and her mental whether she has mental health issues, whether she had indeed stalked people.

Yeah, I mean listen there were obviously other reports of her having stalked other people but again.

Nothing that led to any apparent conviction.

And I think that is a crucial distinction of a drawer here.

Which is there's a big difference?

Legally didn't mind anything else between somebody.

Who may have been obsessive to towards people they have even harassed them?

But if it hasn't crossed the bar of a crime.

Then to call them in a series where they've been immediately identified.

a convicted criminal

is a serious


I Netflix now, I would I would.

Count to that by Simply saying we don't know yet.

All we do know is that the world's journalists have been looking at this now for nearly a month.

And nobody's found any evidence whatsoever.

Does she has any criminal record let alone for anything to do with your dad?

I suppose there's a difference between having a criminal record and somebody who may have mental health problems.

Who may have been accused of stalking may have indeed sent?

You know thousands and thousands of emails.

I'm just trying to work out how much you can considered all that side of things.

All right.

Oh, yeah those let me listen.

We had long conversations about it.

But I I actually have no.

I have no.

qualms at all about offering her the platform because

I certainly didn't get the feeling when she came in I was dealing with.

Somebody who was a vulnerable person.

If anything she was pretty combative with me.

I'm going to come to the mental health issue, Richard Gadd has been

Very very seriously honest about his own.

mental health issues

and yet that doesn't seem to have been factored into people's concerns.

He was allowed to platform.

To tell what he said was his story.

He has got self-confessed.

Mental health issues he had heavy drug abuse issues.

He had very promiscuous.

Sex life issues and so on which he talks about very frankly.

And to his credit.

But if he's going to be allowed to do that.

And I think the person that he has put up there as a convicted stalker who's gone to prison for harassing him.

Should be allowed to have her say.

If as she says none of that is true.

And you've been celebrating the ratings you've got huge numbers on that interview.

In hindsight, as it feel appropriate to be celebrating that.

In this these circumstances.

Well, I've seen the BBC celebrate a lot less than this.

I have to be honest and

other thing I'll take any lectures about boasting about how.

Things have done successfully or otherwise you absolutely not I'm asking you a question.

I would say this I would say this at the reality is.

As everyone knows I pivoted to a full.

digital show

several months ago

and the reason I did that is we were getting gigantic numbers anyway.

On our YouTube channel appears more gonna sense of YouTube channel and this was a perfect illustration of why I wanted to do this.

And I think it is a it is a story that many people in the media.

Are going to be pursuing?

for themselves because

last week we had for example.

200,000 plus new subscribers to our YouTube channel

taking us to nearly 3 million subscribers okay, so you don't see am I going to be?

Boy it does do a question am I going to be regretful that we did really well.


Why would I my whole job is to get people to watch the content?

I suppose some people would say.

If you have a yeah and business model where everything is about clicks and hits and it's understood that it is because that's the model.

Then this is where potentially you end up potentially with somebody.

Who other people are suggesting you've explored by putting on television?

But the irony of that is the whole point of a doing it was that she felt exploited.

and who is

Throwing these bricks the Guardian have done about 18,000 columns so far.

steaming with rage about this and of course those columns are all getting click Bay

and you know the previous Fiona Harvey is Now suggesting.

That you didn't pay her enough that she feels used she says.

You paid her $250, is that right?

Well, we don't discuss individual payments what I would say is.

She got paid the same as 95%

of all I guess and was completely happy.

To be paid that amount before she sat down with me we also now worried a million pounds.

Hang on we also we also paid to have a very nice expensive haircut and we got a very nice car to bring a tours from her home, so I think we treated a extremely reasonably and fairly and certainly in Keeping with how we treat most of our guests we don't pay big money for any interviews.

With anybody so there's nothing unusual about the way she was treated.

And I'm not going to apologise.

For it being well watched.

I mean I just think it's indicative.

Of the global phenomenon that baby is become.

The interview went around the world.

and for everyone squealing like The Guardian

about it being exploiting well.

They gave a big platform to Richard Gadd

and allowed him to repeat.

all this stuff about

being a Harvey

Is that not exploiting her?

I mean, where does the exploitation line?

go okay, why is it the Richard why is it Richard Gadd

is allowed to have his say?

With all his troubles.

and is allowed to

effectively exploit her and have her out there with that any control or approval by her.

But she's not allowed to respond and let's talk about the Financial work.

You've had a career in tabloid journalism.

You would know the financial worth of an interview like this.

When you were a newspaper editor, obviously you had a checkbook to buy stories like this.

How much do you think her story is worth to the media?

I don't know I'm innocent.

I've done I mean I'm look the biggest interview.

I've had probably in my life was Cristiano Ronaldo I paid him not pence.

so she got 250 pounds more than

Chris John Ronaldo if you believe the figures that have been

Put in the paper.

She said she wants a million pounds is she going to get it from you?

She's not going to get a million pounds from me.


Because she was perfectly happy.

perfectly happy with the agreed sum

and so you know and that was the conditions in which we did the interview so I've got this it was all done completely normally.

There's no question about that.

But in in the question of whether.

I should feel regretful that it's been successful.

I find that a very perverse charge to make.

I don't see the BBC apologizing when you do stuff which rates well.

I'm obviously it's just the babies see champagne Cook's popping.

Did you consider out of interest? Did you consider that you had a duty of care toward water?

Absolutely and I think we've fulfilled that due to care a damn site better than Netflix and what is evolved?

What it involved two of my my team?

Spending a lot of time with the before during and after and could currently.

Spending a lot of time talking to her aware that by doing this interview she would be putting herself out there.

to the world

And aware that you know clearly she might have.

And I say might have she might have.

mental health issues

But these are not any that she has admitted to.

they're not any that anyone's provided any actual evidence of

and the suggestion that she's a convicted stalker appears to be untrue.

So, I think we should before we leap to presumptions.

about the state of a mental health

I would argue that for a first time interview with somebody who's never given a television interview she equipped herself extremely well.

very combative

Very Direct in her answers, no, I didn't believe a lot of what she was saying.

But that that doesn't make a mentally vulnerable or mentally ill so you've done it all.

Before they say she was and you've since done a segment.

I think on your show you've titled it.

She's either lying she's truthful or has a disorder which is I know is a quote from somebody who you interviewed.

If there is a possibility that she has a disorder.

Are you at all worried about the impact of all this?

attention on her

of course

As it would be with any guess that's why I say we've been talking to a before during and after I'm making sure she's okay.

But again I come back to the fact that Richard Gadd by his own omission.

has had

serious mental health issues

Nobody seems to be asking the same question about why Netflix platformed him.

In a story about his life which now appears to not be entirely accurate.

Is that exploiting somebody with mental health issues given that God himself as emitted it?

So, I think there's a lot of hypocrisy here.

and double standard when it comes to

treating Richard Gadd and his life

and treating Fiona Harvey

and her life.

and just the clarify because I know Talk TV you obviously your used to be on Talk TV

the linear channel

you're now on line.


talk to TV

is still part is obviously part of News UK are you?

as Piers Morgan uncensored online still part of the news UK

codes when it comes to compliance processes around duty of care that sort of thing.

I am to my company when not off calm regulated now because

of course doesn't regulate.

shows like mine in the way that we're doing it on YouTube

but I'm certainly aware that YouTube

Have a code of practice News UK as a code of practice, so I'm very aware of that and we've had no complaints from anybody.

So I think that much as I may your persistence in pushing this narrative that somehow I've exploited a vulnerable person.

She doesn't see herself as vulnerable.

She doesn't think we've exploited her she would have liked to have been paid more money.

And when it comes to exploiting vulnerable people.

what about Netflix what about Clarke and we'll films what about Richard Gadd

did they ask all these questions?

before they decided to

paint a picture of this woman Martha which could only have been one person in the world.

and that was Fiona Harvey

I don't think they did and they also went further.

It looks like they may have completely invented.

the fact that she was a convicted stalker

Who had actually gone to prison?

For the Crime of harassing which again now?

If that is true.

How would you categorize that in this scale of exploitation?

and are you trying to divide the TV producer that in the program is accused of

grooming and raping which should get as well.

well, I don't know who it is but I do I'm very struck Again by

some very high profile people in the business saying they know who it is.

Well, why aren't you telling people?

Why aren't you telling the authorities? Why are you telling their employers?

If there is a rapist in our business.

And they know who it is but aren't doing anything about that information.


that surely should ask

some pretty serious questions of them.

So, I think they should stop a painting.

About my interview.

And start looking at themselves on the mirror of wondering if they're doing the right thing.

About the rapist allegation.

That was Piers Morgan speaking to me a little earlier.

No, you did that you recorded that case you just before we went on air so I hadn't heard that lots to to take in.

What did you make of it?

I mean, I would say first of all it's typically pairs Morgan isn't it? It's competitive.

He has no regrets.

Why would he in a sense? You know the interviews being a huge success?

That is given him spin-off shows to talk about.

And you know if I was being.

Tough I'd say his channel has had a bit of a sense of failure around it because of the Demise of talk.

TV as a linear channel and now here he is with these incredible numbers.

It's gone fully digital he's got these incredible numbers the profile of his new show has gone up dramatically as a result of the Fiona

Harvey interview but that doesn't mean there aren't questions of course and questions that will continue around exploitation.

Duty of care particularly, you know depends what emerges next well, let's get into those questions because with us is Clive Coleman former BBC News legal affairs correspondent also a trained barrister and now.

In PR and also writes plays and films higher Clive hello good to have you on the programme and Chris Bennett valer is an independent Media consultant and former head of standards it off gone Chris you're very welcome on the media show too and let me start.

with you from a point of view of standards & compliance Chris what's your reading of

how baby reindeer has gone about its work?

Well, I think sort of first responding to Piers Morgan I think this is become a bit of a media Circus to be honest with you and I think what we really don't know here is what the truth is behind all of this.

And what I would urge.

Netflix to do is to actually do an enquiry review into this and find out actually how this program was made how accurate it was.

And whether any farmers actually being caused so I'm starting to your questions just to reiterate before you do I just want to be absolutely clear at the beginning of this series it says without caveat.

This is a true story.

Yes, you absolutely right, but of course it is also a drama.

So, there's a bit of artistic licence there, so this is a true story you're watching a or drama.

And what expectations do you take as a view to that? What do you expect so for instance?

You've mentioned that that she sent allegedly 41,000 emails now if that was actually only 400 that could be potentially problematic if on the other hand it was 20,000 you might say actually it doesn't make a difference it would be an accurate.

But it wouldn't necessarily be unfair to her and that's really where the whole regulatory.

Um sort of spectrum comes in with regard to this program is.

Was it unfair to her and also did it unfairly so I did it printed fringe her privacy without justification and those are the two key questions.

Taken into account what the announcement said at the beginning of the program.

help me out here Chris as I'm listening to you list the questions that need to be answered whose responsibility is it to answer them as it's solely on Netflix or is Netflix having to

play by a set of Rules that applies more broadly.

to programmers makers in the UK


Netflix is not a broadcaster.

It doesn't have to comply with the off convord casting code.

It does have to comply with what is called a video on demand code which is

actually very low level such as no incitement no racism protection of under 18s.

It doesn't have to comply with rules of an impartiality Accuracy but in reference to this program.

fairness and privacy having said that

There is a new Media bill.

That is going through the House of Lords at the moment that will require them to comply with TV light regulation and that will include privacy and fairness.

Do you agree with that?

Yeah, I think it's inevitable that these streamers such as Netflix and Disney they're all as pervasive in people's homes.

As broadcasters are and there should be a level playing field and I think that's absolutely right.


in terms of how

Someone's experience translates into a drama, is it ever going to be possible to regulate it in a way that ensures that what?

The viewer has the impression of as what happened.

Is actually accurate that's going to be very hard to regulate, isn't it?

Yes, we're with all these things it's very difficult to regulate someone's perception but having said that there's a very you know in traditional broadcasting.

There's a very good set of Rules around fairness what you can and can't do and when the line is crossed and when you are being unfair to someone and it's goes to sort of factual accuracy has.

Two people trade in a way that is unfair to her so questions around digital.

Did you not go to prison? I actually don't know the answer to these questions and that's why I think it's so important.

To get to an understanding and the truth of this to find out actually whether it was unfair and you know for instance her infringement of privacy has there been in the fringe and the privacy was it the program?

That created jigsaw effect I lots of little pieces that people call identify or had she already identified herself online.

As being the potential stalker of Richard I don't know the answer to that so that the public the information might already be out there.

I know that Netflix has said that they didn't mean to identify our inverted commas.

But she may already identify herself before I don't know the answer to that.

And what just crisps before I bring in quite common? What do you give care does Netflix have to real people?

In dramas, well.

If she wasn't identified, if no one knew who she was then obviously was a made-up person and therefore that the duty of care.

Wouldn't really exist however whenever you make a program.

And you are dealing with potentially vulnerable people whether that's Richard Gadd or Fiona Harvey then there is a duty of care.

It's not a regulatory one at the moment.

For Netflix because often doesn't oversee it, but there is a general responsibility.

for an organisational Netflix which is

or should be very responsible.

Let me bring in now called live Coleman former BBC News legal affairs correspondent.

I've former colleague train barrister.

Now writing yourself plays in films.

What's your take both as a writer and a trained lawyer?

I'm so

As a writer it's interesting I brought with me a contract that was a writing contract that I had to sign the writer's are asked to give warranties.

and let me read this one this is from the duke which we was a film where the two principal characters actually were both dead the fantastic film about the

Left of the amazing artwork correct, you could Wellington's portrait and thank you.

That's kind of you, but some of the other characters were still alive so we had to.

Richard being myself who wrote it had to sign this contract and one of the clause is reads.

That to the best of the writers knowledge and belief after due enquiry.

The work will not contain defamatory or obscene or racially inflammatory or blasphemous matter of any kind.

So as a writer you take this incredibly seriously and you really do do your due diligence.

I take it maybe more seriously than

other writers because I've also sat in a few deformation cases and I would never want to be part of one myself.

But so you know you.

Of course Richard gardet is writing a story about terrible things that happen to him and you never want to stop.

An individual who has been the subject of abuse from from telling their story but there are boundaries and there are guidelines in the law of deformation.

Provides those and so what's so curious-- about this.

Is to have that statement?

That the Bold statement with no qualification that this is a true story.

You then have Richard Gadd saying later on that he in fact tweaked it slightly to create a dramatic climaxes.

and then he says that it is emotionally true well, that's

that's is emotional true the concept recognised in law no well.

It isn't in the law of.

Defamation we you say something about a character and it is either true or it is not true and I agree.

There's so much we don't know here.

But if it is the case that you know there were no 41,000 emails there were no 350 hours of but if there were 20,000.

if there were 20,000 then presses that then then I I think

it's there's much less of a case in terms of deformation.

I mean the keyboard I suppose here is

Digital didn't you go to prison because the program ends.

Sorry to be a spoiler for anybody hasn't seen it, but it ends.

With her being imprisoned for stalking yeah and that and she was adamant on pairs, Morgan show that.

That there was no conviction and as he said.

You know are not don't always agree with peers Morgan two things that he said is one that no one's been able to find a conviction.

so that at the moment you go towards her her Version Of Events

also, what mind you want one of the other observation? I would make about your interview with which was a pretty Sparky one with Piers not surprisingly.

Was that I would never confuse someone appearing to be very confident with the fact that they do not have mental health issues, because the two things are absolutely.

Not not one on the same thing.

We've all interviewed quite a lot of people that's that's a really key point.

So when peers Morgan says I don't think she had milk mental health issues.


I I have no idea where she has or has them? I don't think pierce Morgan

as a journalist is necessary qualified.

To say whether or not someone has mental health issues.

and I'll just remind everybody of the Jeremy Kyle Show

Where they said itb said none of times what wonderful compliance?

Regime they had in place to protect people and we know that wasn't the case.

These are very very sensitive.

Issues and people are very vulnerable and you're going to be very careful.

I I genuinely do not know about this woman, but I think I I refer to take a professionals view than a journalist or actually sometimes some compliance people.

Yes, I certainly know my experience and I don't know that he didn't do this his program.

Didn't do this was certainly in my experience with vulnerable contributors.

We have at times.

You know had psychiatric assessments done by independence psychiatrists to ensure that they are it is appropriate to put them on television even if they really want to go on television themselves.

It's a huge thing that as you will know I mean in the reality shows now.

There is massive support for people who are suddenly going to be thrust into the public.


there they work with psychologists they have you know they weren't before the program during the program at that and after the program so this concept of duty of care is critical.

I think they're three key issues here for me defamation.

Is is one they're all related duty of care and actually reputation because in terms of deformation it lets us assume that Fiona Harvey is a 100% right on everything just for the sake of of this example.

well, then she can bring a successful deformation action against Richard Gadd and Netflix

because all she's have to prove is that it was untrue she suffered serious harm and if they were death threats then that's that box ticked.

You know and that would lead to a successful claim.

You know it then you've got duty of Claire of care.

And there are really big question marks about that now Netflix might not care that they lose a deformation case because they've got hugely you know vast amounts of money.

But where I think it will bite is if they failed in their duty of care, then it becomes a big reputational issue.

For Netflix because people don't like that kind of stuff.

They don't like a vulnerable person being thrown to the Wolves

you know and and they do vote with their with their feet or their subscriptions and I think that's if and if there's been a kind of weird deafening silence from Netflix thus far.

Or on all of this.

But I think that you know if the public sort of.

Changed their views that there's a map or are of the view that there was a massive failure of duty of care.


and and you know and a half is life has been really impacted negatively as a result of that.

I think that's a big issue for Netflix

the Clive let's

turn this around again, and let's assume the

Everything that Richard Gerard has betrayed is accurate we don't know that but let's assume that it is.

Do you still have reservations about duty of care even if all of this?

Is true are there circumstances in which a drama shouldn't be made even if it is accurate.

Well, I think it should know I think you know you've always got a protect the rights of someone as I say to tell their story.

But I think the issue here is what did they do?

To hide the identity of Fiona Harvey and you know I've written things where you know you go to Great lengths.

You have you know to

to to to to to disguise the trail if you like.

Because you know.

Online smooth thing it's not exactly a national past time but there are a dedicated group of people for whom.

It is kind of an obsession.

And in the world we live in.

People are just going to find out stuff so you have to take enormous care.

Course tell your story and tell you a story about what someone.

Did to you that was awful, but if they are also vulnerable person then your duty of care kicks in and I think you need to do everything you can.

to avoid them being identified because

you know the consequences can be really dreadful and then no one would feel good about anything.

Clive thank you very much indeed.

That's Clive comment.

Thanks as well to Chris who is joining us and and I suppose Katie as we listen to this unfold some people listening might be surprised.

We haven't heard more.

From Netflix we heard One spokesperson answering questions from MPs but apart from that not very much at all.

We haven't we haven't heard anything from Netflix and I don't know whether that's going to change but at the moment.

It doesn't seem like it's going to I mean they click clearly two things for me.

to come out of this are one you know we've got to look at what else emerges whether a legal case does proceeded and also who it's going to be against is it gonna be against Netflix

or is it going to also be or only be against Clarke and we'll films which made the show?

And potentially were the ones who were checking through compliance obviously Netflix must have had a whole compliance team as well involved and it should have done.

worth saying carbon well films is owned by BBC Studios

I think also just more widely if you think about this program, you know at it's heart.


Are it appears to at least two damaged people one of whom Richard guide who apparently is gone through some pretty horrific experiences.

And you know should be having his moment in the sun and absolutely isn't and that must be.

You know devastating for him and awful and then I've also been wondering about whether.

There is a slight double standard it if it was the other way round.

If it was a program about a woman, who'd been stalked and the male stalker.

Would we be treating it in the same way?

Would pierce Morgan have had you know more doubts about having a man on the show whether you know whether we knew or not?

Quite what the ins and outs of it were so there's a lot you know there's lots of play here, but I think one thing we can say is it's going to continue to say it's not going anywhere sadly.

Not no, it's not thanks to Chris Bennett Vale of former of cam director of standards and Clive Coleman who's here in the media show studio also here in the media show studio is Caroline Wheeler

from the Sunday Times and Caroline we all know you from your political reporting but alongside your political reporting you've also spent 20 years.

Looking at something very different following the story of the infected blood scandal.

Yes, you were call that more than thirty thousand people in the UK were infected with HIV and hepatitis C after being given contaminated blood products during the 70s and 80s.

It's thought that about 2,900 people have died as a result.

well, Caroline's workers contributed to the establishment of the public inquiry into the topic which will be released its final report on Monday in Carolina wonder if there were moments a few doubted if

such a public inquiry would happen.

all the time

I mean absolutely all the time most of the time instead of 20 plus years.

I've been reporting it.

It has felt like kind of howling into the wind really and you know no matter how many.

Harrowing stories, we've told over those years.

Of the absolutely terrible suffering that this scandal has wrought on its victims.

Um you know it was often a story that was relegated to the back pages the middle pages of the paper and not something that.

people will kind of listening to and

and actually you know even talking about it today with campaigners the fact we got that public enquiry was more.

by accident and chance than it was by

kind of design in that it was a kind of political moment that kind of precipitated that and

largely was down to the fact that the the dup had

committed to a public enquiry in their manifesto.

And none of us could have foreseen that in 2017 when Theresa May lost her majority.

The dup would suddenly be holding the balance of power.

And I remember sitting in Port caylus house with dome Deanna Johnson who's obviously been honoured for her role.

In this scandal when we have this kind of penny drop moment and realised.

Gosh, there is now a majority of opposition parties in favour of this and indeed the dup.

Swaying the balance in favour of it and and we got to let it together.

at which ended up making about 400 words on page four of the Sunday Times

And little did we know that that letter at the time.

Would be used to ask for a debate.

in the House of Commons by Diana and

that about an hour before that debate was due to take place.

I got a phone call from Downing Street

Telling me that the Prime Minister was about to announce a public inquiry.

and and not to tell anybody so of course I found Deanna I found Andy Burden

I phone some of the leading campaigners and then I phone my mum.


it was definitely one of those moments in journalism that I don't think I'll ever have again.

Where they're kind of hairs stand up on the back of your neck and you just kind of go.

wow, we do we did something that made a made a real change in a real difference but

That was a long time ago now.

It feels like a almost half a career ago that.

That happened and when was that moment that you can you remember the moment where you when you encountered the the story and thought goodness.

Well, the story itself.

I mean even longer ago in fact my first week as a journalist.

I was working as a rookie reporter on the Sunday Mercury newspaper which was

the kind of West Midlands equivalent of the News of the World it was a red top Sunday newspaper.

At which had a kind of a great campaigning history?

and I was kind of put on duty to pick up the ring ins as they were called in those days where you had to engage with members of the public and

it often fell to the most junior members of the reporting team to kind of

differentiate between what was the story and and what was and and

I spoke to a chat called Mick Mason who I'm still in touch with today.

I'm going to meet him for the first time at the public enquiry.

We've only ever spoken over the phone before and

we what's up each other regularly.

And he's one of the characters in The Book I've written on this tragedy called death in the blood.

And he told me this most unbelievable story.

about how he had been-- infected with HIV with hepatitis C

and he just received a letter telling him that he may have been infected with.

varian CJD which at the time in old money was mad cows disease

and he was these wit certain and saying that he was still being forced to take treatment that was.

Risky for him to take he was going to go on a treatment strike.

As a hemophiliac as he was that was going to be very risky for him.

And he told me this story and and I remember thinking at the time.

He was some kind of conspiracy theorist and you know potentially was sort of making it all up.

But I I did some research and that was in the days where we didn't really have so much internet access so it was kind of really talling through the Archives online.

To find any history of this.

And and every word he told me turned out to be true.

You've done the research.

Not just then but in the years.

Subsequently is it?

a source of frustration that perhaps more of the media


Pay attention pay Close attention to the story earlier.

Of course say because certain.

fashions of the media

have dig on this and you know I'm very lucky to report for the Sunday Times which.

Had a campaign on this in the 80s.

And was taking this very seriously I think the BBC has done some fantastic work on it, too.

And lots of regional journalists who have had campaigners in their constituents of also followed the story.

But it's just taken so long.

And I think that that's been part of the problem.

Is that it's gone in kind of ebbs and flows.

Because we just haven't been able to get anywhere very quickly which means the momentum behind the story is often lost.

I think also there has been an issue around the fact that obviously.

When all of this was happening and the story was really at its peak in the mid-80s.

HIV was you know there was incredible stigma around HIV

and another one of the stories that I've followed very closely.

with the story of a Birmingham family they were all hemophiliacs they were Seven Brothers

Five of whom were infected five of whom are now dead.

and one of those brothers and I remember the story because I grew up in Birmingham

and was basically accused of having gone around recklessly infecting women with HIV

And as a consequence ended up on the front page of every national newspaper.

as a kind of paria, you know there were columns written about the fact that people with HIV

Who had been-- infected through this scandal?

should be rounded up and put on a kind of island in the middle of the you know in the middle of the North Sea

and there was just such stigma around that and you know hepatitis C has also had stigma around.

You know the types of people that suffer from that kind of illness.

That I think it you know it did make it a difficult story to report on for a lot of time.

And you know thankfully, that's now changed.

But I think it's been that issue around momentum.

That's been so difficult to just keep on going and keep on going and keep on going and Karen Carr because you know clearly incredible to get that phone call in your first week as a journalist.

And then to report research it and then to realize and then take it to every newspaper you move to you took the story and you moved it on.

And then we've got to the point where you know soon this week this week coming publication of the report.

Does it feel like a vindication of all that work you've done over the last 20 years?

Not really get to that point because that the community at the moment is so nervous and so anxious.

And I think you know when you look at the impact of this particular scandal and I think people.

Only see about it as kind of lives lost, but there's actually still.

people living with these illnesses and

you know they've had no financial security many of them have never been able to get mortgage.

They can't go on holiday, because they can't get travel insurance.

Some of them have chosen not to get married chosen not to have children.

You know that the toll of this is so phenomenal.

It's got Echoes for me as you're saying is your echoes of the Post Office I know ITV's green letter drama series about the infected blood scandal.

Do you think that's going to have will you hoping it's going to have the kind of impact that the

the post office one has oh absolutely and I think that's what the campaign is want more than anything is.

you know somebody to take their story and put it on the front page every single day for weeks and weeks and weeks and

you know they would never be a kind of hierarchy of suffering, but I think.

You know in their dark moments.

They do look at the Horizon scandal and they think.

you know why why haven't we been treated the same way and I

I really hope that on Monday and leading into the weekend.

They have that kind of moment and you know it has been building up I think.

you know most national newspapers most broadcasters have now picked this story up and of sausage to do a kind of

whole series of pieces on it and I think that that will be

incredibly welcome, but you know we're not out of the woods yet.

We we hope there's going to be a government statement.

I'm told there will be next week.

I'm told there will be a compensation package.

There's so many anomalies in this story.

You know people that have lost.

Children they've lost parents.

You know this there's just so many complexities of it.

I just hope that.

Whatever the government comes up with does deliver Justice to them in some way and that the findings of the enquiry.

Give them answers and closure Carolyn Wheeler thank you so much and congratulations to you on those tireless tireless years.

I think of looking at this story and you can find Caroline's reporting on the story on the Sunday Times website there's also more details on it on the BBC News website too now next here on the media.

Show we're going to talk about how the news.

Is packaged for us all to consume specifically?

We're going to talk about theme tunes.

Because the BBC News theme is 25 years old and David Lowe is here.

He composed it David

hello welcome to the media show and just tell me when they approached you.

What did they say they wanted?

Well, the idea was yes, thanks for having me on the show.

it wanted to be something completely different radically new something that hadn't been heard before that was were distinctive and instantly recognizable and completely getting away from any of the

previous sounds of news themes that we'd heard in the past.

And it had to also be a very recognizable sound instantly that you could I could use a cross all of them the news media You Know Radio TV online.

In different ways, but you still immediately recognise it as as the news and where did you start? What was your initial thought?

well, I


We would just talking about sounds that we'd heard that were sort of in the brainstorming type that meeting of

sounds and one of the sounds that came up is that as a recognizable sound was of course a great time signal pips that we all know.

that the BBC is used since 1926 on Radio 4 obviously so as soon as you hear that Pitt

if you're in the kitchen making a cup of tea, you know that it's coming up to four oclock five oclock and then users is going to be on.

Okay well, let's say as you talked about it.

Let's hear about it.

I think you're going to play some of it and talk us through it as we listen.

So, so this is the Pips sound.


I just thought yeah, that's a really good sign because it's pure.

and it's

singular and Direction it also gives an idea of accuracy in reliability and which is one of the things that we were looking for for the news.

So, I thought I could add a dance beat to it.

You know and create a piece of music using that sound.

So then I thought well and then I got back to my studio and I'd sort of got the idea in my head.

You know when I sat down so our next thing I did was a base line.

And the baseline gives the strength of the civilian strength.

and depth and it's also got a very sort of world field because it's a it's called a trisil Beat and you hear it in Latin America in Africa and India

so it gives a sense of a global to it.

and then of course having the

the bass drum

bringing in that sort of

feel the beat happening there and then and we wanted a big sound.

to Harold the headlines coming in

so I thought

big drums that's the way to go

and I want you to sound that.

you could use

any time it could be retriggered so no matter how long the headline is.

You can retrigger it.

And the way that you use it now.

It's quite random.

It's not actually musical.

They sort of bring it in.

Randomly, but that's still that gives almost a night a sense of urgency.

More than having it reliably sort of musical.

and then

the next part was quite a tricky bit because it was the chords.

And of course the chords for music or the most emotional bit they're the ones that give you the emotional.

Hit and so for news obviously, it's got to be quite neutral you can't have it too.

Happy or too sad.

And so I chose these two chords minus a major in very simple, but a beautiful sort of a chord change.

And the Pitt stays on the same note all the way through so it's got this singular Direction you know and then we've got the sort of anxiety.

With the make minor called they're going into a sort of.

major feel which is calmness and this is

this is fantastic.

I ought to say by the way, there's a version of you doing this online we've

We've stolen the idea you know that version has gone viral.

Hopefully this one will too but I do want to bring in.

Victor lamb who's a Dutch news journalist and news theme expert and founder of the website.

network news music just to tell us Victor

the impact of this sort of

a thing and the impact of the BBC News theme tune

it's been the huge you sometimes.

I jokingly say that pop music was never the same after The Beatles news music hasn't been the same since David Lowe

and the reason for that is because he's been very influential basically in the 1990 new music tended to sound.

The same it was very formulaic.

so there were lots of breasts instruments that played a short but recognizable Melody

there were some strings to add a sense of urgency and some timpan to give it some gravitas and that was the basic.

The basic ingredients for every single news theme and here along comes David Lowe who completely goes into a different Direction who essentially uses music that is most familiar from night clubs and adapts that as a new theme that was just revolutionary and the amazing thing is that a lot of European broadcasters and broadcasters around the world?

Have adopted this style, so there are lots of them are adopting for example the Pips even though they may not be familiar with the Pips in those countries.

But all the electronic elements are used in many different countries, so it's been very influential.

And in terms of David when you were making this, did you feel like it was revolutionary?


I sort of well, obviously.

Yes, I knew it was going to be different and

What was quite interesting was?

a big but that was the brief I was given basically and

what was quite interesting was I'd sort of

not got a lot of time to put it together because we've had a meeting about him.

We had the brainstorm and they said can you come back in a couple of days and meet the BBC team?

Who are going to be working on it and it's Martin Lamborghini was the creative director and amazingly.

incredible guy who's you know very

so many good ideas you know and

so he said come back and meet the team.

I'll introduce you as as the composer and just bringing an idea.

Just to get the ball rolling.

And so as I'm going to train on the way back thinking can I do the Pips with a dance beat you know and I thought well haven't got a lot of time to sort of think about it like so I've got back to the studio and literally put it together.

Fairly quickly, because I knew that all the layers are going to be and there are that many layers in it which is another part of the of the simplicity of it.

Is that the really aren't that many parts to it and but each part has got its own part to play and it tells its own story.

So I put it all together quite quickly and I went to that meeting.

On the Friday and Martin said, can you just play play the idea and this is David he's going to be doing the music and so I played it.

And they all looked at me and this sort of I thought a very strange way.

I thought well.

You know one thing what we thinking and they might just said.

That's fantastic.

You've done it.

You know that's the idea so.

It was it was a pretty amazing moment.

I'm sure it was and and David I should mention that we actually worked together on a separate piece of music a few years ago when I was presenting a programme on the world service and I was asked to come and meet you.

to work through

what we were going to replace our existing theme tune with and I remember you being very open to suggestions, which I didn't feel like I was really in a position.

to offer but you

were quite happy to we almost worked it out.

On the day it evolved through the couple of hours.

We spent in each other's company.

Absolutely and I often find that's the best way to work when you've got the client actually in.

The Studio with you and sometimes ideas have happened.

There and then like the countdown theme for example.

Was a was almost like a an afterthought in the afternoon.

They said oh by the way we need to countdown.

and so um

the best ideas are when you're interacting with the client and they're there in the in the Studio with you and you get an understanding of what they want because you can try things.

And be very creative and they can sort of give you the knowledge all.

You know the shape of the head and then you say okay, let's try something else so.

It's a great and it was great working with you as well brilliant.

Thank you very much.

I managed to I don't think it's used anymore because the programs not around anymore, but we managed to find it.

On YouTube and it's still sounding great I can say and Victor Brown I just have to ask you before we move on.

I have to say my favorite.

I'm going to be disillusion tune.

I would say that I would say that but it is it's based on a cowboy theme tune I believe in it's really great.

But viktor what's your favourite theme tune from the past.

It's quite hard to make it a decision about that.

I've 1876 hours of news music.

Yes world record holder for this man.

exactly, but if I had to pick one it's the iwitness news team that was used in the United States in local ABC stations in New York

LA and Chicago it's also used in Australia for nine news.

And essentially this is one of the first pieces of news music that was ever used in 1968 it debuted news music really didn't exist.

uh but some of the Producers we're just watching it move and they were watching the movie Cool Hand Luke featuring actor Paul Newman

and I heard a certain track and they thought to themselves.

Gee this sort of Sounds music and so they adapted it for their local eyewitness news.

And it became incredibly famous it was used for 25 years and even though it could the composer at leilo shiffrin was a nominated for an Academy Award it became famous as the eyewitness News team because later on many people were asking him.

Gee, why did you include the eyewitness news theme in your movie and obviously it's the other way around but that's how famous it became fantastic.

I have to say that was a time when people actually listen to these now.

Now everyone Falls to the title is going to miss the impact of all these wonderful sounds, but that's sounded like it was me cowboy film as well.

I'm wondering whether all early news music was from cowboy that was it news cowboy intersection.

Yes, I get it.

It'll be a crossover.

We didn't see coming.

Thank you very much indeed to both of you very good.

to have you on the media show now our last guest on the programme is the journalist Maggie Harrison

do pray Maggie welcome to the program and we've asked you back because

well back in November you ran a story about the us magazine sports Illustrated and how it was being accused of publishing.

AI written articles from writers

Who it turned out didn't exist and you've come back to this story Maggie so just tell us- where you've got to with it.

Yes, or first of all.

Thank you for having me but yeah, so you know.

Back in November we published a report about how yes indeed sports Illustrated has been publishing these you know review style articles, so you know.

If I as somebody who might be interested in like say a soccer ball.

I would go online I want the best soccer ball, so I Google you know.

best soccer ball for me it a bunch of you know SEO

powered links come up that say like best soccer ball of 2024.

This company at on commerce which we've been investigating first.

several months now

They had provided.

A bunch of these reviews dial articles to sort illustrated that you know.

What to look for in a soccer ball and here are a list of four or five soccer balls and you know here are the pros and concept each and here are why here's why they're different?

As it turned out, you know when we looked a little bit dug around a bit we realised that many of the writers are all the writers and the section of the sports Illustrated website were entirely fake they were fabricated.

And their headshots had even been AI generated they had made up BIOS and you know we kept following the story in you know in addition to that.

Sources we spoke to add advantage told us at the company was using AI to generate content as well.

We kept following that and we realised that.

It's in a lot of places and not just sports Illustrated and I'd like to hear about that just before I do let me read you this statement from sports Illustrated you'll be familiar with it, but we should share it with everyone listening.

It says an article was published alleging that sports Illustrated published AI generated art schools.

According to our initial investigation.

This is an accurate the articles in question with product reviews and were licensed content from an external third party company advanced, Commerce

a number of Advanced e-commerce articles ran on certain websites

We Arena websites we continually monitor our Partners and we're in the midst of a review.

when these allegations were raised now what I'm interested in mag is

you're saying that this is something that's happening much more broadly.

What have you discovered in that regard?

Yes, so we have found advanced.

You know fake byline and you know in some cases AI generated content.

really across the American media systems you know large regional newspapers and United States like the Miami Herald the la Times

we have found their content and you know national tabloids like us weekly.

We have found them.

USA today which is a major you know us newspaper so a lot of different Media large media companies and media providers in the US

and is your issue that you want this to be labeled or you believe these publications shouldn't in any beet circumstances be using content of this nature.

I think that's an interesting question because you know this style of review style content and you know what we call affiliate articles and affiliate content.

Has proven to be quite lucrative and in some cases has done really?

You know this is a good work for organizations and supporting newsrooms.

But at the same time if at any point you know.

the nature of how a piece of content was created whether it's by AA or not or whether it's by you know the writer that says it's being created by

that is not great for the publication or you know the rest of the media industry.

It's a time where you know we deeply fragmented.

Media environment that we live in and trust in the media is that

you know a very upsetting low and so yeah, so

I personally believe that all AI content should be marked as such and if something is you know but let's I'm sorry but my no not a tool but I just want to ask you before the program finishes if it is marked as such is there any research which helps us understand whether the consumer Minds or not perhaps the consumer?

As long as he or she knows it's generated by AA will still see it as having some value.

I think so.

I think consumers want a choice.

And I think I personally would argue that consumers are betrays.

I think that there are some people who they don't care if AI makes it as long as it's good, which I should note these articles were not good.

um I but I think that people want to know and in fact after we publish sports Illustrated there was a the aapi which is the Artificial Intelligence policy Institute did a they did a survey and

an overwhelming majority of participants said that they believed would happen in sports Illustrated was wrong.

And we have seen a lot of pushback is similar pushback since we published a second report as well.

Maggie thank you very much indeed for updating us on that that's Maggie Harrison do prey from Futurism

But thank you.

I think our time is almost up here on the media show thank you so much to all our guests for coming on.

no time to name them, but you know who you are and thank you to everybody else for their company today and if you want to listen back to this episode indeed any episode of the media show you can find them all on BBC sounds but for the moment for me and from Katie


I found a secret and it's behind a trap door.

We're looking for someone who controls on the largest Gangs of people smugglers.

He calls himself scorpion.

The top one impossible you can find them.

His gang has made millions from people coming to the UK in small boats.

I want to die.

Finding him won't be easy and it will be dangerous.

Oh, we need to get out of here.

So getting the car.

I'm seeing Mitchell and this is intrigued to catch a scorpion from BBC Radio 4.

listen on BBC sounds

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