The BBC is working on a Panorama special on the Dr David Kelly affair that could see it investigating the state of BBC journalism and potentially bring the corporation into further conflict with the government, write Leigh Holmwood, Colin Robertson and Paul Revoir

The BBC is working on a Panorama special on the Dr David Kelly affair that could see it investigating the state of BBC journalism and potentially bring the corporation into further conflict with the government, write Leigh Holmwood, Colin Robertson and Paul Revoir

In a move that is bound to raise eyebrows among government ministers, controversial reporter John Ware is leading the investigation. He came under fire last week from home secretary David Blunkett, who angrily dismissed his Panorama special on asylum as "poorly researched and overspun".

When contacted by Broadcast, Ware refused to comment.

Sources said that the team is looking to interview key players in the affair, including BBC director general Greg Dyke and chairman Gavyn Davies, as well as government ministers. However, it is understood that lack of access to any of these figures would not stop the programme going ahead.

To guard against accusations that the investigation could be partial to the BBC, a source said the corporation would be treated as if it were an "outside organisation" and that there would be no attempt to spare its blushes if it was found to be in the wrong.

"We would follow the same procedures and approach as we would to any story," a source said. "If the evidence showed the BBC was at fault or weak or sloppy we would say so. The fact that it might be embarrassing for the BBC is no consideration."

The programme, which would not be handled by anyone connected to the current row, is expected to look at the whole Kelly affair, from his original meeting with BBC Radio 4 Today reporter Andrew Gilligan through to the findings of the Hutton inquiry. It is expected to air after the Hutton inquiry reports in early September.

The BBC was this week putting the final touches to its submission to the inquiry, which starts on Friday (1 August). Broadcast has learnt that Dyke has received unanimous support from the BBC executive committee, the senior decision-making body made up of key figures such as Jana Bennett and Alan Yentob. Executives have not been presented with any tapes of BBC journalists' conversations with Kelly but backed Dyke based on wider evidence.

The corporation's Hutton submission is expected to include both notes and tapes of Gilligan's and Newsnight reporter Susan Watts' conversations with Kelly. It may also include notes from Kelly's briefing to BBC journalist Gavin Hewitt. A fourth reporter, Panorama's Jane Corbin, has also been linked to Kelly.

However, as Broadcast went to press, it was still unclear whether the inquiry would be televised. Lord Hutton decided last Thursday to allow only the opening and closing remarks to be televised. ITN, Sky, Channel 4 and ITV are continuing to lobby. A lawyer representing the broadcasters will attend Friday's preliminary hearing to put forward their case directly to Lord Hutton.