Four years ago I published GLIMMERS OF TWILIGHT, the memoirs of Joe Haines, former Press Secretary to Harold Wilson. A few months later I also published Bernard Donoughue's memoirs HEAT OF THE KITCHEN. Both books alleged that Marcia Falkender, Harold Wilson's political assistant, had had an affair with him. Francis Wheen then went on to write a screenplay called THE LAVENDER LIST which the BBC broadcast on BBC4 in 2005. Wheen is now furious, according to Christopher Silvester Independent, because the BBC has capitulated to Falkender after threats of legal action by the libel lawyers Carter Ruck. Not only has the BBC capitulated, they have have paid her £275,000 in damages and costs despite not even receiving a libel writ from Carter Ruck.
I remember at the time being very concerned about being sued for libel over the books and taking every possible precaution. Haines and Donoughue were both adamant they were right, so I prepared to publish and be damned. We heard not a squeak from Lady Falkender. The BBC refuses to tell Francis Wheen the details of their letter of apology to Lady F. I feel an FOI request coming on.