Huw Edwards named as BBC presenter in ‘explicit photos’ storm and now in hospital due to poor mental health

Huw Edwards named as BBC presenter in ‘explicit photos’ storm and now in hospital due to poor mental health

Newsreader Huw Edwards has now been named as the BBC presenter facing allegations over payments for sexually explicit images as the Metropolitan Police and a second force announced no criminal offence has been committed.

His wife Vicky Flind indentified him as the presenter at the centre of a media furore in a statement issued on his behalf on Wednesday evening.

In it, Ms Flind said her 61-year-old husband was “suffering from serious mental health issues” and is now “receiving in-patient hospital care where he will stay for the foreseeable future” as she asked for privacy for her family.

She added that the first time Mr Edwards was informed of the allegations was last Thursday.

Mr Edwards, a married father-of-five, announced the late Queen’s death on the BBC last September and is one of the most recognisable faces on British television.

On Friday, The Sun newspaper made serious allegations regarding an unnamed high-profile BBC presenter and alleged they had seen evidence of them paying a teenager up to £35,000 for explicit photos of them.

The Met Police has assessed the claims and say “there is no information to indicate that a criminal offence has been committed”. South Wales Police said in April it looked into an issue around the welfare of an adult and “no criminality was identified”.

In a statement, Ms Flind revealed: “In light of the recent reporting regarding the ‘BBC Presenter’ I am making this statement on behalf of my husband Huw Edwards, after what have been five extremely difficult days for our family.

“I am doing this primarily out of concern for his mental well-being and to protect our children.

Huw Edwards meets Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to officially open the BBC’s Portland Place headquarters in central London (Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA) (PA Archive)
Huw Edwards meets Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to officially open the BBC’s Portland Place headquarters in central London (Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA) (PA Archive)

“Huw is suffering from serious mental health issues. As is well documented, he has been treated for severe depression in recent years.

“The events of the last few days have greatly worsened matters, he has suffered another serious episode and is now receiving in-patient hospital care where he’ll stay for the foreseeable future.

“Once well enough to do so, he intends to respond to the stories that have been published.

“To be clear Huw was first told that there were allegations being made against him last Thursday.

“In the circumstances and given Huw’s condition I would like to ask that the privacy of my family and everyone else caught up in these upsetting events is respected. I know that Huw is deeply sorry that so many colleagues have been impacted by the recent media speculation. We hope this statement will bring that to an end.”

The BBC has suspended a male member of staff (PA) (PA Wire)
The BBC has suspended a male member of staff (PA) (PA Wire)

In its statement the Metropolitan Police said: “Detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command have now concluded their assessment and have determined there is no information to indicate that a criminal offence has been committed.

“In reaching this decision, they have spoken to a number of parties including the BBC and the alleged complainant and the alleged complainant’s family, both via another police force. There is no further police action. As such, the Met has advised the BBC it can continue with its internal investigation.

“We are aware of media reporting of further allegations against the same individual. No specific details or information about these allegations have been passed to us and therefore there is no police action at this time.

“Should evidence of criminality or safeguarding issues be identified at any point we would expect matters to be referred to the relevant police force.”

After the Metropolitan Police statement, a spokesperson for the BBC said: “We have seen the statement from the police confirming they have completed their assessment and are not taking further action. We’re grateful to them for completing this work at speed.

“The police had previously asked us to pause our fact finding investigations and we will now move forward with that work, ensuring due process and a thorough assessment of the facts, whilst continuing to be mindful of our duty of care to all involved.”

Sources have made clear to the PA news agency that suspended Mr Edwards, who has been with the BBC for almost 40 years, has not resigned.

South Wales Police said in a statement it had remained in contact with the Met and BBC following a meeting on Monday, adding: “Information was initially received by the force in April 2023 regarding the welfare of an adult. No criminality was identified.

“Following recent events, further enquiries have been carried out and officers have spoken to a number of parties to establish whether any criminal allegations are being made.

BBC newsreader Huw Edwards (Chris Jackson/PA) (PA Archive)
BBC newsreader Huw Edwards (Chris Jackson/PA) (PA Archive)

“At this time, there is no evidence that any criminal offences have been committed. There are no ongoing enquiries being carried out by South Wales Police.”

On Tuesday, the BBC published an investigation after speaking to an individual in their 20s who said they said were sent abusive and menacing messages by the presenter.

The Sun then published another story claiming the presenter broke Covid lockdown rules in February 2021 to meet a 23-year-old he had met on a dating site, and sent what they described as “quite pressurising” messages.

The newspaper also published what it says is an Instagram chat between the presenter and a 17-year-old, where the presenter sent messages including love heart emojis.

A spokesman for The Sun said it has no plans to publish further allegations about Mr Edwards, adding: “The Sun will cooperate with the BBC’s internal investigation process.

“We will provide the BBC team with a confidential and redacted dossier containing serious and wide-ranging allegations which we have received, including some from BBC personnel.”

Former BBC News North America editor Jon Sopel sent his best wishes to Mr Edwards after saying earlier on Wednesday that he did not agree the then-anonymous presenter should come forward.

Sopel later tweeted: “This is an awful and shocking episode, where there was no criminality, but perhaps a complicated private life.

“That doesn’t feel very private now. I hope that will give some cause to reflect. They really need to.”

In a message sent to staff the BBC’s director-general Tim Davie said this will “no doubt be a difficult time for many after a challenging few days” and added: “I want to reassure you that our immediate concern is our duty of care to all involved.”

He added: “As you know, we were asked to pause our fact finding investigations until that assessment had been concluded. It is important we now continue with this work. I want to be clear that in doing so we will follow due process.

“This remains a very complex set of circumstances. As we have done throughout, our aim must be to navigate through this with care and consideration, in line with the BBC values.”

Mr Edwards has anchored coverage of major national events and presented the BBC’s News At Ten.

He has fronted the flagship nightly news programme for the last 20 years, earning a reputation as a respected veteran broadcaster.

Edwards was one of the first reporters to break the news of the Queen’s death on September 8 (Guardian News/YouTube)
Edwards was one of the first reporters to break the news of the Queen’s death on September 8 (Guardian News/YouTube)

Mr Edwards is the corporation’s highest paid newsreader, with a pay bracket of £435,000 – £439,999, up from £410,000 – £414,000 last year, putting him fourth on the list of the BBC’s hghest paid stars.

Mr Edwards, who was born in Bridgend and brought up in Llangennech, Carmarthenshire, joined the BBC as a trainee in 1984.

In four decades at the corporation, he has been among the broadcasting teams leading coverage of historical events including the late Queen’s funeral in 2022 and most recently the coronation of the King in May this year.

After Her Majesty’s death, an image of the flag at Buckingham Palace was shown at half mast, he told viewers: “A few moments ago Buckingham Palace announced the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.”

He then read out the statement from the Palace while dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and black tie, in line with the BBC’s dress code for when a member of the royal family dies as a mark of respect.

Mr Edwards is the BBC’s go-to presenter for big news events and has been front and centre in live broadcasts of election coverage, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and Platinum Jubilee in 2022, the wedding of the then Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2018, and the funeral of the late Duke of Edinburgh in 2021.

He was also the BBC’s voice at Trooping the Colour and the Festival of Remembrance.

Mr Edwards was a Westminster correspondent for 13 years, and has played a key role in the BBC’s political reporting, taking over election coverage from the long-serving David Dimbleby in 2019.

Mr Edwards revealed in a documentary in 2021 he had bouts of depression which have left him “bedridden” since 2002.

 (Dave Benett)
(Dave Benett)

Speaking on the podcast hosted by BBC journalists Jane Garvey and Fi Glover, “Fortunately…with Fi and Jane”, he said he he decided to share publicly that he has depression as he felt it was “complete hypocrisy” to support organisations such as the Shawmind Foundation or Mind without explaining why.

“I also felt that it might be someway helpful to people if I opened up about it and say, ‘You can do a job and you can be successful’, whether it’s just reading a bit of autocue or doing whatever it is… while also dealing with issues like that,” he told the podcast.

In 2018, it was reported he agreed to take a pay cut following revelations over unequal pay for men and women at the BBC.

The presenter shared with BBC Radio Cymru that he had lost weight and started training with former professional boxer Clinton McKenzie as he tried to get himself in shape in 2019 at the age of 58.

“The truth is that I lost weight because I felt unhealthy. It’s simple enough,” he told the radio station.

“I was physically and mentally in the wrong place. I was far too heavy and I wasn’t happy with that. I wasn’t happy with my own appearance, and I realised that I wasn’t being fair with my own body in terms of my general health and wellbeing.

“I just felt pretty low to be honest, and it got progressively worse. Losing weight and getting fit have been a transformation for me.”

Edwards said in 2021 that he was considering his future presenting News At Ten as he approached his 60th birthday.

“A time comes when you’re bound to re-assess what’s in front of you,” he told Radio Cymru in a Welsh-language interview.

“Now that a big milestone is here, which is 60 years old, it’s natural for a man to think ‘am I going to continue in this job for another five years, or do I want to do something different?’

“The nightly news business, after 20 years, that can be taxing, even though I still enjoy the job.”

Just last month, Edwards picked up the best live event honour at the Tric Awards for being among those to cover the state funeral of the late Queen, and in February he received the Broadcast Awards special recognition award.

In May, it was announced that Edwards had joined the TV presenting line-up for the Proms 2023.

He is listed as a vice president on the website of the National Churches Trust and has appeared on Songs of Praise.