BBC star's history bestseller withdrawn after legal fears
By Andy Dolan
09th March 2009
Written to accompany his TV documentary series, it has been a
bestseller for Andrew Marr.
But all unsold copies of A History of Modern Britain are being
withdrawn after the BBC journalist allegedly falsely claimed in the
book that a women's rights campaigner had ties to a group of militant bombers.
Publisher Pan Macmillan has issued an 'urgent' stock recall notice on
the book, which has already sold around 250,000 copies.
It is believed the books will have to be pulped at a cost of tens of
thousands of pounds.
A letter from the firm's managing director, Anthony Forbes Watson, to
wholesalers and booksellers said the recall was necessary for 'legal
reasons' but refused to elaborate.
But it is understood the recall relates to Erin Pizzey, the women's
rights campaigner, who is believed to have complained about Marr
linking her to the Angry Brigade.
The publisher's memo reads: 'For legal reasons we need to immediately
recall all unsold copies of A History of Modern Britain.
'I should be grateful if, by return, you would let me know how many
unsold copies you have in your possession or control and return them
The letter said Macmillan needed the complete books to be returned -
not just the title page.
The book was launched in May 2007 at the same time as the five-part
BBC TV series of the same name, which the former BBC political editor
When asked about the withdrawal on the BBC's Andrew Marr show
yesterday, Marr told panellists they could talk about it if they
wanted, but he could not as it was a legal matter.
The BBC also declined to comment.
Miss Pizzey, who set up the first refuge for battered wives in 1971,
has told in the past how militant feminists hijacked the women's
liberation movement and used it to demonise all men.
She was driven out of the movement after threatening to go to the
police when she learnt the Angry Brigade were plotting to bomb a
London clothes store.
The 70-year-old activist, from Twickenham, South-West London, refused
to comment and referred callers to her solicitors, the libel
specialists Carter-Ruck. The firm had nobody available for comment.
The Angry Brigade was accused of carrying out 25 attacks on
government buildings, embassies, corporations and the homes of
ministers in the early 1970s. No one was killed. Five political
activists were convicted of conspiracy, but no one was ever found
guilty of planting the bombs.