Campaign group Republic has called for an investigation into the BBC's cosy relationship with the royal family.  The call follows accusations that the corporation cancelled a documentary 'for fear of upsetting the monarchy'.

The documentary about Princess Diana was to be broadcast in 2007 but was never shown.  Film maker Kevin Sim has been reported in the press as saying the BBC's official reason for cancelling the documentary was untrue and that it was to avoid upsetting the royals.

The accusation is made in the BBC's most recent documentary, Reinventing the Royals, which itself was postponed to allowed the BBC to negotiate the content with Clarence House.

Republic's CEO Graham Smith said today:

"The BBC's track record on reporting on the royals is appalling.  Despite the good work of some excellent journalists the overall output is timid, deferential and celebratory."

"The BBC has lost its independence and impartiality when it comes to royal reporting - all too often repeating the palace line and falling into line with the royals' agenda."

"The BBC has a duty to report the monarchy without fear or favour.  If by reporting on the royals they upset the royal household then so be it - they must not allow their reporting to be influenced by those they report on."

"The BBC sets world-class standards in broadcasting and journalism.  Yet their cosy and deferential relationship with the royals seriously undermines their independence and integrity."

"This isn't a problem with individual journalists but with the culture at the BBC - an institutional bias in favour of the monarchy and a fear of upsetting the royals and audiences."

"The monarch is head of state, just as the prime minister is head of government.  The head of state must be held to the same standards of scrutiny and accountability as the prime minister."

"We are calling for an investigation, an independent, open and honest, warts-and-all look at how the BBC handles its reporting of Britain's head of state."

Republic has long accused the BBC of bias, specifically:

Celebrating, rather than reporting on royal events

Overestimating enthusiasm for the royals

Manufacturing celebration

Letting myths and factual errors go reported unchallenged

Lack of serious discussion on the issue, in favour of trivial chatter and idle speculation

Marginalising dissenting views, which represent a large proportion of the population