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  1. ITV Report

‘Public interest responsibility’ over coverage of Sir Cliff Richard home search

Sir Cliff Richard arrives at the Rolls Building in London as he continues his legal action against the BBC. Photo: PA Wire/PA Images

The BBC’s director of news and current affairs has told a High Court judge that journalists had a public interest responsibility to cover a police search of Sir Cliff Richard’s home.

Fran Unsworth told Mr Justice Mann at a High Court trial in London that the BBC had a responsibility to report but also to be sensitive.

She said she took that view at the time of the search nearly four years ago, and still holds it.

Fran Unsworth, the BBC's director of news and current affairs. (Kirsty O'Connor/PA)

Sir Cliff, 77, has sued the BBC over coverage of the South Yorkshire Police search in August 2014 and wants damages at the “top end” of the scale.

He has told Mr Justice Mann that coverage, which involved the use of a helicopter, was a “very serious invasion” of his privacy.

The BBC disputes his claims.

Bosses say coverage of the search of the apartment in Sunningdale, Berkshire, was accurate and in good faith.