Contract corrections

February 18, 2005

Your article "Academics scorn TV lecture move" (February 4) contained several inaccuracies. First, it is not the case that "Channel 4 confirmed it was unlikely to renew its contract with the institution". We were in negotiations right up until the final decision was taken.

Second, the Royal Institution never discussed with the BBC the possibility of the lectures returning to them, nor has anyone expressed to us "hopes" that this would happen.

We are pleased to say that the concerns expressed by former Christmas lecturers are also unfounded. We can reassure Malcolm Longair that far from losing viewers, the move to Five will increase the audience significantly by providing a peak-time slot. We can confirm to Simon Conway Morris that part of the appeal of the new contract with Five is that it will maintain the traditional format that so many people love. In particular, the lectures will be more firmly anchored in the Royal Institution's historic Faraday Lecture Theatre.

Had you followed normal journalistic practice and contacted anyone at the Royal Institution, we could have helped you to avoid publishing an article based on errors, misunderstandings and misrepresentation.

Winston Fletcher,
Baroness Greenfield Director,
The Royal Institution

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