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April 22, 2024

Huw Edwards resigns from BBC ‘on medical advice’

Edwards has been off screens since July 2023 after allegations made against him.

By Charlotte Tobitt

Huw Edwards officially resigned from the BBC on Monday “on the basis of medical advice”, the broadcaster has announced.

Edwards has been absent from screens since July last year when The Sun reported a BBC presenter was alleged to have paid a young person for sexual images.

After several days Edwards was named as the previously unidentified presenter by his wife Vicky Flint, who also said he was hospitalised due to a serious mental health episode.

A BBC spokesperson said: “Huw Edwards has today resigned and left the BBC.

“After 40 years of service, Huw has explained that his decision was made on the basis of medical advice from his doctors.

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“The BBC has accepted his resignation which it believes will allow all parties to move forward. We don’t believe it appropriate to comment further.”

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The BBC did later confirm Edwards had not received a payoff of any sort as part of his departure. Of his time off-air, the BBC reported it is “normal policy” to receive “full pay while suspended”.

It does not appear there will be any public statements from the BBC about the actions of Edwards which were originally highlighted by The Sun.

Edwards story brought criticism both to BBC and Sun

Before the scandal hit Edwards was the BBC’s highest-paid journalist, earning between £435,000 and £439,999 for his roles anchoring BBC News at Six and BBC News at Ten. He also frequently anchored the BBC’s election night coverage and other major events such as the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022.

He topped a Press Gazette reader poll as the “best UK late evening TV news presenter during the pandemic” in 2020.

The Metropolitan Police assessed the claims made against Edwards last year and said there was “no information to indicate that a criminal offence has been committed”.

The story brought intense scrutiny both to the BBC and The Sun.

In July former Times editor James Harding suggested on a Tortoise podcast that Sun editor Victoria Newton should resign, arguing that if the BBC “had published a report alleging that a prominent person had received sexually explicit pictures from a minor on the basis of a single source, without sight of the pictures, without proof that the person was underage” and repeatedly referring to the young person as a child, the editor responsible would have to step down. Private Eye subsequently reported that the young person in The Sun’s story had been a legal adult by the time money was allegedly exchanged for pictures.

MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee also wrote to Newton asking for clarification on how it verifies its stories.

The Sun stood by its reporting throughout, saying that it “at no point in our original story alleged criminality and also took the decision neither to name Mr Edwards nor the young person involved in the allegations…

“From the outset, we have reported a story about two very concerned and frustrated parents who made a complaint to the BBC about the behaviour of a presenter and payments from him that fuelled the drug habit of a young person.”

Newton also wrote back to the CMS Committee saying that the Edwards story had been “the subject of significant scrutiny pre-publication”.

In February this year meanwhile the BBC apologised for how it handled the parents’ original complaint about Edwards, saying it was not escalated quickly enough and pledging to improve the non-editorial complaints process.

But the corporation has stood by its reporting on the Edwards scandal, which was alleged by some complainants to have been disproportionate. BBC journalists themselves broke some news on the story, writing about messages Edwards sent to colleagues that allegedly made them feel uncomfortable and threatened.

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
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