Sir Cliff Richard has suffered 65 per cent reduction in UK airplay of his songs since his home was raided over child sex allegations
- Sir Cliff Richard’s Berkshire home raided in child sex probe in August
- BBC covered raid live and it emerged had struck up a deal with police
- Broadcaster given advance notice of search in exchange for holding story
- Coverage appears to have had negative effect on airplay of Sir Cliff songs
- Analysis found 65 per cent drop in airplay in 3 months compared to 2013
Sir Cliff Richard suffered a 65 per cent drop in airplay of his songs on UK radio stations since his home was raided over child sex allegations
Sir Cliff Richard has suffered a ‘significant drop’ in the number of times his songs have been played on the radio in the UK since his home was raided as part of a child sex abuse investigation.
The BBC filmed the raid of Sir Cliff’s Berkshire mansion and broadcast the coverage live after striking a deal with South Yorkshire Police over the planned search. A reporter had contacted the force weeks before the planned search in August about the top secret investigation.
However the pop star’s reputation may have been damaged by the very public revelations about the search – because his airplay has dropped by around 65 per cent in the UK since it took place.
An analysis of radio airplay, by BBC Radio 5 Live using figures from Radio Monitor, found that there has been a 65 per cent drop in the number of times Sir Cliff songs have been played on BBC and commercial radio stations in the last three months.
A friend of Sir Cliff told MailOnline: ‘The BBC identified Sir Cliff in collusion with police, flouting the guidelines that people should not be named before they are charged. By stopping playing his records they have caused him further serious harm and are happy to compound it by highlighting the damage they themselves have caused.’
Since August 14 – when the raid took place – records by the number one singer have been played 1,800 times by UK radio stations. This is a 65 per cent drop from the more than 5,000 times his records were given airtime during the same period the year before.
Even taking into account Sir Cliff’s album release last year, the figures suggest his success has been hampered by the raid. In 2012 his records were played around 4,500 times during this three month period – a 60 per cent fall to today’s figures.
A representative for Sir Cliff, 74, said they ‘acknowledged the BBC has confirmed the unlawful naming of Sir Cliff Richard and disproportionate coverage’ of the raids at his £3m mansion has caused him ‘serious harm.’
The corporation was heavily criticised for its live coverage of the raid, which appeared to show BBC cameras ready at the gates of Sir Cliff’s Berkshire mansion before police arrived. The Home Select Committee described South Yorkshire Police’s handling of the raid as inept.
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It later emerged a reporter from the BBC had contacted the force asking about a planned raid and police said they felt they needed to strike the unusual deal to prevent the corporation reporting the facts anyway, and potentially jeopardising the investigation into allegations that Sir Cliff had sexually assaulted a boy at a 1980s concert.
South Yorkshire Police admitted striking the ‘unprecedented deal’ for the BBC to show live coverage of the raid in return for them holding their story until it took place.
Sir Cliff – who strongly denies all the allegations – also expressed anger that the BBC was tipped off about the search before he was. At the time of the search he had been at his villa in Portugal.
BBC reporter David Sillito is shown covering the raid by police of Sir Cliff’s Berkshire Mansion in August
The BBC was criticised after it appeared to be ready to film the raid in Sunningdale before police arrived
Sir Cliff was in Portugal when his Berkshire mansion was searched and was angry the BBC were tipped off
The singer has never been arrested or charged in respect of the claims.
The BBC said the Home Select Committee had already endorsed the way the broadcaster covered the raids.
A spokeswoman said: ‘There has been no change to our music policy and Cliff Richard’s songs have been played throughout the year across BBC stations.’
Sir Cliff has sold 250 million records worldwide and won countless awards, including a lifetime achievement Brit Award. He has also achieved number ones throughout five decades with The Young Ones, Summer Holiday, We Don’t Talk Anymore, Misletoe and Wine and Millennium Prayer.
He returned to the studio in October – the first time since the raid was broadcast live by the BBC- to record his 101st album.
After the revelations the police criticised the BBC for its ‘disappointing’ failure to make it clear the police had not been the original source of the story. However the broadcaster said it had followed journalistic practice in agreeing not to broadcast a story that could jeopardise an inquiry.
Following the raid a producer at BBC Radio Solent sent an email to staff instructing them to delete from their playlists any of the pop legend’s songs to ‘avoid embarrassment.’ This was criticised by MPs and the public.
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