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BBC chief resigns over false child abuse report

world Updated: Nov 12, 2012 02:09 IST

George Entwistle announces his resignation from post of director general of BBC on Saturday night, 54 days into his tenure. The BBC has been plunged into the deepest crisis in its history with the dramatic resignation of its director general, George Entwistle, after just 54 days in the job.

Entwistle fell on his sword after being engulfed by a crisis that escalated following confirmation on Friday that the BBC had wrongly implicated Lord McAlpine, a former senior

Tory politician, in a story about paedophilia. It was the second scandal to hit Newsnight.

In an extraordinary scene outside Broadcasting House, in central London, just after 9pm, Entwistle, flanked by the BBC Trust’s chairman, Chris Patten, said he felt it was the “honourable” thing to do.

His resignation was accepted by Lord Patten who said it was one of the "saddest evenings of my public life" to see Entwistle end his 23-year career at the BBC.

Looking composed, but battle-weary, Entwistle read from a prepared statement: “In the light of the fact that the director general is also the editor in chief and ultimately responsible for all content; and in the light of the unacceptable journalistic standards of the Newsnight film broadcast on Friday 2 November, I have decided that the honourable thing to do is to quit the post of director general,” he said.

Tim Davie, currently director of audio and music who was scheduled to take over as head of BBC Worldwide, was named as the acting director general while the hunt for a new boss takes place.

The pressure on Entwistle intensified on Friday morning when McAlpine broke cover after eight days of rumour and innuendo going viral on Twitter, branding the allegation as entirely false and threatening to sue the BBC.