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Hall's hope for Comic Relief probe

BBC director-general Tony Hall has said he "very much" hopes a Panorama investigation into how Comic Relief invests its funds will be shown after reports that it had been shelved by the corporation.

He told MPs that t he planned documentary, which reportedly examines some of the investments made by the charity and a substantial rise in staff costs over the years, is being looked at by the BBC's director of news James Harding.

Speaking at the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, Mr Hall said: "W hen you have a programme which is controversial, and right to be controversial, and making big claims and right to be making big claims about things... you shouldn't set a transmission date.

"You should absolutely ensure there's proper time for proper processes to be gone through."

He added: "I very much hope this programme will be transmitted but I don't know yet what the substance of the allegations that are being made are and are they right or wrong?"

The BBC paid out a six-figure sum and apologised to former Conservative Party treasurer Lord McAlpine after a Newsnight report last November wrongly implicated him in a child abuse scandal.

Speaking yesterday, a spokesman for Comic Relief said it kept costs under control, aimed to maximise the money given to good causes and kept within Charity Commission guidelines.

Mr Hall also told MPs the BBC was opening a support line for employees to report bullying and harassment.

He added that "a number of disciplinary hearings" had been carried out and in "at least one case" a member of staff had left the BBC because of their behaviour.

He said: "T his helpline is the latest example of what I want to do to make sure we have a workplace where people feel valued, people feel they are not been bullied or harassed, that they want to come into work."

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