Entertainment

Former TV channel boss takes overdose amid bullying allegations

A hand holding a television remote control (Myung Jung Kim/PA)
A hand holding a television remote control (Myung Jung Kim/PA) A hand holding a television remote control (Myung Jung Kim/PA)

The former chief executive of a television channel who was sacked over bullying allegations is recovering in hospital after taking an overdose, her family said.

Sian Doyle, who was in charge of Welsh language channel S4C, was found unresponsive on Thursday morning by her husband.

Ms Doyle had been dismissed last month amid allegations of bullying and on Wednesday a report commissioned by S4C board chairman Rhodri Williams criticised the culture at the channel.

In a statement, her husband, Rob Doyle, said: “This morning my wife, Sian Doyle, was rushed to hospital.

“She had taken an overdose during the night and was unresponsive when I tried to wake her.

“As her husband, I now have to speak up on her behalf,” he added.

Mr Doyle said the 24 hours since the publication of the report had seen Ms Doyle “torn apart in the media after an exceptional 30-year international career”.

He continued: “Sian was so proud to have been asked to come out of retirement to lead an organisation that, as a young girl, she campaigned to set up.

“But that pride turned into frustration, and then to disappointment, fear, and finally despair.

“Sian has spoken about the chairman’s role in this, but S4C’s board are also culpable; their complete lack of duty of care for Sian, and their lack of oversight or challenge of the chairman, must be answered for.

“The person represented in yesterday’s supposedly ‘independent’ report was unrecognisable from the woman I’ve loved for the past 37 years, or the woman her friends and former colleagues know.

“I have watched in horror and disbelief as my wife has been hunted over the last seven months.

“The treatment she has been subjected to has been appalling, with confidential medical details about her leaked to the media and constant attacks on her character and reputation.

“This has to stop.

“No organisation should be run like this, let alone one that is funded with public money.

Government building stock
Government building stock The Department for Culture, Media & Sport (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“Last week Sian called on Lucy Frazer, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who is responsible for S4C, to instigate an independent investigation into the governance of the organisation.

“Sian has tried on multiple occasions to flag the issues to the Government in Westminster, but the Secretary of State has done nothing.

“Today, I sit by my wife’s bedside wondering how this appalling situation was ever allowed to happen.

“The chairman and board of S4C, and the people who have hounded her, should hang their heads in shame.

“I am now insisting that the privacy of my wife and my family is respected so that she can, hopefully, recover and we can get on with our lives.

“We won’t be making any further comment.”

The report quoted S4C employees describing Ms Doyle’s leadership style as “dictatorial creating a culture of fear”.

An S4C spokesman said: “The news about Sian Doyle is very worrying and we are thinking about her and the family.

“We have offered our support to the family during this difficult time.

“Our hope is that she will recover quickly, and we wish her all the best for the future.”

Mr Williams had been due to give evidence about the governance of S4C before the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Committee next Tuesday but that has now been cancelled.

A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Ms Doyle and her family at this incredibly difficult time, and we wish her a speedy return to health.

“We expect the board of S4C to address the issues identified in the independent investigation by Capital Law as a matter of urgency.

“We have been in regular contact with S4C throughout this investigation and will remain so.

“Public service broadcasters, like every organisation, have a responsibility to uphold a duty of care to all employees.”