Bulger case surprise

Key role for former comic

One of the key figures in the decision to release James Bulger's killers is a former comedy performer.

The chairman of the Parole Board, which made the controversial decision is David Hatch, a former BBC controller who appeared on the radio show I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again alongside John Cleese and Tim Brooke-Taylor.

Three members of the board - a judge, a psychiatrist and an independent member, today allowed Jon Venables and Robert Thompson to be freed and take up new identities.

The identities of that panel is a closely-guarded secret, but it is likely that Hatch has taken an active role in the proceedings.

Hatch, now 62, spent more than 30 years at the BBC, where he devised and produced radio comedy shows including I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, Just A Minute, and Weekending.

He was later controller of Radios Two and Four and managing director of BBC network radio.

But he is best known to comedy fans as one of the voices of I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again, which ran for eight year from 1962 and helped make stars of Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Bill Oddie and John 'Otto' Cleese.

They had all been in the Cambridge Footlights together, alongside theatre supremo Trevor Nunn, actress Miriam Margolyes and another member of the Monty Python team, Grahame Chapman.

Hatch CBE, a former chairman of the National Consumer Council, took on his role with the Parole Board in November.

Published: 22 Jun 2001

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