Stretford , Urmston , Trafford Photographer

BBC to apologise to Primark

The BBC is to make an on-air apology to clothes chain Primark after a report found that it was “more likely than not” that it had used fake footage in a documentary.

The BBC Trust ruled that an edition of ‘Panorama’ looking at child labour showed “serious failings”.

The episode, which aired in June 2008 and was called ‘Primark: On The Rack’, investigated the fashion firm’s ethics. It included a scene with three boys in a Bangalore workshop ‘testing’ Primark clothes.

The BBC Trust launched an investigation following a complaint from Primark that the footage wasn’t genuine.

The Trust’s report read: “Having carefully scrutinised all of the relevant evidence, the committee concluded that on the balance of probabilities, it was more likely than not that the Bangalore footage was not authentic.”

Alison Hastings, who chairs the BBC Trust’s editorial standards committee, said: “The BBC’s investigative journalism is rightly held in very high regard, and for more than 50 years ‘Panorama’ has made a very significant contribution to that.

“But great investigative journalism must be based on the highest standards of accuracy, and this programme on Primark failed to meet those standards.

“While it’s important to recognise that the programme did find evidence elsewhere that Primark was contravening its own ethical guidelines, there were still serious failings in the making of the programme.

“The trust would like to apologise on behalf of the BBC to Primark and to the audience at home for this rare lapse in quality.”

A public apology is to be broadcast on BBC One before or after an edition of ‘Panorama’ at a date that has yet to be announced.

A Primark spokesperson commented: “Millions of people have been deceived by ‘Panorama’. Viewers who watched the programme, shoppers who were then fed the lie, sourcing experts who believed the lie, teachers and pupils who viewed the programme in lessons, have all been badly let down.”