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Sorry seems to be the hardest word for Mark Thompson, the director-general of the BBC, when it comes to its widely criticised coverage of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. The corporation is, however, happy to apologise over its treatment of one of its most controversial former employees.
Mandrake can disclose that the BBC has issued a mea culpa after one of David Icke’s followers complained that the former sports presenter had not been invited to be a panellist on Question Time.
After he left the corporation, Icke became an author and public speaker who propagates his conspiracy theories that the world is controlled by a secret group of reptilian humanoids, who include the Queen, the former American president George W Bush and Tony Blair.
One of Icke’s adherents wrote to the producers of Question Time asking why he had not been invited on to its panel. Brendan Miller, one of the producers, replied, in capital letters: “My masters from Planet Zog say no.”
Now, however, a BBC spokesman tells me: We acknowledge that the tone of our emailed response, from a member of the programme’s production team, was inappropriate and we apologise.”