'Harry Potter day' breached rules
Published 24/06/2010 | 18:01
A BBC Radio 1 "Harry Potter day" breached undue prominence rules, the BBC Trust has ruled.
Themed radio station and web coverage on July 15 last year coincided with the release of the movie blockbuster Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince.
Shows fronted by Chris Moyles, Sara Cox, Edith Bowman and Scott Mills all highlighted the phenomenon, which was accompanied by a micro website called Harry Potter Day On Radio 1 on the BBC website.
Andrew Harrison, chief executive of commercial radio body RadioCentre which complained about the coverage, said that the BBC had fallen "under the spell of celebrity".
The Editorial Standards Committee (ESC), which helps the BBC's governing body with guidelines issues, partially upheld a complaint that the coverage breached rules.
The BBC had rejected the initial complaint, describing the Harry Potter books and films as a "popular culture phenomena".
The Chris Moyles show feature "When Dom Met..." was changed to "When Dom met Harry" and on the Scott Mills show the regular feature "Oh! What's Occurring?" became "Hog! Wart's Occurring?" with Rupert Grint who plays Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films.
References made to programmes across the 12-and-a-half hours of coverage included 33 trails for Harry Potter Day specifically, which in some cases were voiced by actors from the film and/or included music from the film.
The Committee concluded: "It was the packaging of the programmes under the Harry Potter Day label, together with the way in which those programmes were trailed and promoted continuously throughout the day, which amounted to undue prominence."
In January, the BBC was found to have breached its own guidelines in promoting a U2 album and a Coldplay tour.