BBC apologises for calling murderer Phil Spector ‘talented but flawed’


The BBC has apologised after describing music producer Phil Spector, who died in prison while serving a murder sentence, as "talented but flawed".

The corporation said the headline on the breaking news article "did not meet our editorial standards".

The BBC confirmed it had received complaints about the headline in the wake of the death of Spector, who was sentenced to a minimum 19 years in prison for murdering the actress Lana Clarkson.

The 40-year-old, known for starring in films including Barbarian Queen, died of a gunshot fired into her mouth while she was in Spector's mansion on the outskirts of Los Angeles in 2003.

In a magazine interview, Spector had claimed she had "kissed the gun" before pulling the trigger herself, however the jury unanimously agreed he had murdered the actress.

A statement from the BBC said: "The breaking news story on Phil Spector's death was published with a headline that did not meet our editorial standards.

"This was changed within minutes and we also deleted a tweet that had gone out automatically with the original headline. We apologise for this error.

Phil Spector
Phil Spector

"Our coverage of the story across BBC News has been clear that Phil Spector was convicted of the murder of Lana Clarkson and had a long history of violence and abuse."

His former wife Ronnie Spector, whose music he produced when she was in The Ronettes, claimed in a memoir that he would keep her prisoner in his mansion and threatened to kill her.

Writing on Instagram after his death, she said he was "a brilliant producer, but a lousy husband".

She added: "Unfortunately Phil was not able to live and function outside of the recording studio. Darkness set in, many lives were damaged."

Spector, who was born in The Bronx, New York, made his name as a record producer for what became known as the "wall of sound" recording technique, with its dense, layered effect.

When he was just 17 years old and performing with the Teddy Bears, Spector had a top 10 hit in the US with To Know Him Is To Love Him.

However he was best known for his role as a producer, working with some of the biggest stars in music, including John Lennon, whose 1971 hit Imagine he produced.

Ike and Tina Turner, The Ronettes, The Righteous Brothers, Cher, Bruce Springsteen and The Beatles all also worked with the producer.

Spector produced Let It Be, The Beatles' final album, which was released in 1970.