BBC tensions ERUPT as presenter caught on mic in ‘p*ssy’ row

Ros Atkins invited former BBC colleagues Jon Sopel and Dino Sofos to discuss their new podcast for rival media company Global on The Media Show on Radio 4 on Wednesday. In comments not intended for broadcast, Mr Atkins was heard saying that Adam Fleming, who hosts the BBC’s Newscast podcast, was cross he had not been invited to take part in the chat.

Mr Atkins, known for his viral explainer videos, told his producers: “Just had a p*ssy message from Adam Fleming going, ‘Are you doing a programme about news podcasts without us?’”

An exchange then unfolds about how the BBC press office was approached to put someone forward for The Media Show.

A male producer says: “Well we did invite the BBC on, they had the opportunity.”

Mr Atkins replies: “Not quite.”

The producer adds: “They could have jumped at the chance if they were clued up.”

A female producer says: “Oh, you mean the press office could have . . . It would have been, I mean, it would have been awkward.”

The unguarded moment was included in the broadcast of The Media Show uploaded to BBC Sounds.

But the major blunder has since been corrected by the Beeb with the exchange edited out.

The awkward incident suggests there are tensions at the BBC over podcast rivalry.

A friend of Mr Fleming told The Times his message was intended to be “courteous” rather than “pssy”.

The BBC declined to comment.

It comes after Mr Sopel left the corporation earlier this year along with Emily Maitlis to co-host a new daily podcast, The News Agents, for Global. 

The former BBC North America editor and the ex-Newsnight presenter’s podcast launched this week.

Mr Sofos, who launched the Newcast and Americast podcasts for the Beeb, is producer of Mr Sopel and Ms Maitlis’ new show after quitting the corporation to start his own production company.

It comes after Ms Maitlis was recently at the centre of a row over BBC impartiality.

In a speech at the Edinburgh TV Festival last month, she claimed the Beeb “sought to pacify” Number 10 by issuing a swift apology for her controversial 2020 Newsnight monologue about Dominic Cummings which saw her say he had broken Covid rules with a lockdown trip to Durham.

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