Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

BBC defends The One Show interview

Paul O'Grady was a guest on The One Show

The BBC has defended an edition of The One Show following complaints that Paul O'Grady's comments on benefit reform were not adequately challenged.

The chat show host was asked for his opinion, following the controversy over Channel 4 show Benefits Street, when he was a studio guest on the BBC One teatime programme this month.

Addressing the complaints, the BBC said that Paul was clearly identified as a Labour supporter and he was challenged on how he would reduce the benefits bill.

But it added that Paul's views were "forthright" and "on reflection more could have been done to put them into context."

The BBC concluded: "It is important to note that balance can be achieved across a number of programmes, and this is a subject that The One Show has covered before and hopes to revisit again in the future."

Benefits Street, a five-part documentary series set in Birmingham, has been criticised over its portrayal of benefits claimants.

But the broadcaster has called the popular programme a, "fair and balanced observational documentary".

Meanwhile, the BBC reports a live studio debate, chaired by broadcaster Richard Bacon and to include community members, is to take place after the final episode of the show has aired.

Channel 4 said the panellists would represent views across the political spectrum "and crucially those who claim benefits".

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