The BBC is remaining tight-lipped about the sudden exit of Ric Blaxill, head of programmes at digital station BBC Radio 6 Music, following a crackdown on alleged editorial irregularities at the U.K. public broadcaster.

News of Blaxill's departure broke late yesterday. The BBC has recently been hit by a string of negative press stories about breaches of editorial standards in connection with phone-in competitions and viewer/listener polls which have allegedly been rigged. Blaxill is the most high-profile senior executive to leave the BBC following the broadcaster's moves to act on unsatisfactory editorial control within several radio and TV programs.

A BBC spokesperson declined to comment on Blaxill's departure, saying: "We're not discussing individual staff issues." Billboard understands Blaxill resigned; he was unable to be reached for comment.

Among the breach of editorial standards alleged to have taken place at 6 Music is the invention of non-existent competition winners on two shows: the Clare McDonnell Show and the Tom Robinson show. The disclosure comes after in-house investigations by the BBC into 10 TV and radio shows that aired during 2005 and 2006.

A BBC statement issued last night (Sept. 20) said of one McDonnell program, which originally aired in September 2006: "When the show was first broadcast, there were insufficient winning entries for a competition run, as a result of which a member of the production team supplemented audience winners with some fictional winners."

During a Robinson show the same month, the statement said: "a member of the production team invented a fictional winner for the competition, whose name was then broadcast."

In both cases, however, the BBC stressed that neither presenter was aware of the editorial breaches in their respective shows.