BBC boss defends Olympics coverage

BBC boss Mark Thompson has defended the corporation's Olympics coverage after reports he ordered staff to stop "focusing" so much on Team GB's success.

An email sent to staff from director of news Helen Boaden is reported to have said Mr Thompson was "increasingly unhappy that we are focusing far too much on Team GB's performance to the exclusion of all else".

But corporation sources said the email misinterpreted earlier comments made by the director general at a meeting of BBC executives.

A BBC spokesman said: "We emphatically deny that the director-general has made any complaint about the nature of our news coverage of the Olympics and to suggest otherwise is mischievous and wrong. In a statement released yesterday Mark Thompson made his position perfectly clear."

Mr Thompson said: "I am as delighted as our audiences and the whole BBC team about the brilliant performance of Team GB - and it is quite wrong to suggest otherwise.

"The BBC has been right to focus on sporting achievements which the whole country has been celebrating and we will continue to do so with pride. We can do that while at the same time making sure that our news programmes fully reflect some of the other great sporting achievements and human stories of the London Games."

The Games have been a ratings winner for the corporation since they began, with a peak audience of 26.9 million tuning into the opening ceremony and 20 million people watching Usain Bolt win gold in the men's 100m final.