BBC apologises after Today presenter plugs Brut aftershave on air

Jane Martinson
Garry Richardson on the Today programme. A BBC spokeswoman said of his Brut remark: ‘This was a mistake. It should not have happened.’ Photograph: Jeff Overs/BBC News & Current Affairs via Getty Images

The BBC has apologised after one of its longest-serving presenters appeared to promote Brut aftershave on Radio 4’s Today programme.

In a broadcast that prompted a flurry of complaints on social media, the sports presenter Garry Richardson, a 35-year veteran of the programme, ended an interview with the England cricketer Jimmy Anderson on Thursday with a line more typically heard on commercial radio.

“Jimmy Anderson, who was speaking to us in conjunction with Brut aftershave, who he is an ambassador for,” he said at the end of the clip.

The BBC was quick to distance itself from the remark. A spokeswoman said: “This was a mistake. It should not have happened. We apologise and the programme’s sport production team is being reminded of the editorial guidelines on product prominence.”

The guidelines say the BBC must “avoid any undue prominence which gives the impression that we are promoting or endorsing products, organisations or services”.

Anderson declined to comment but Twitter users noted the error, with the broadcaster Iain Dale and the investigative reporter Tom Bower both picking up on the breach.

@DavidMerson wrote: “Jimmy Anderson in conjunction with Brut! What next BBC R4 Today? Theresa May brought to you in conjunction with Toilet Duck.”

Another Radio 4 stalwart, Desert Island Discs, had to be re-edited last year after the castaway Michael Bublé picked a Rolex watch as his luxury item without disclosing he was a brand ambassador for the company.

The Evening Standard editor, Sarah Sands, is due to take over as the editor of Today later this year.