They have claimed that the corporation has made at least two films containing ‘unsubstantiated and fictional portrayals” of the founder of modern nursing, reports the Telegraph.
The academics from University College London and the University of Manchester have written to Lord Patten, chairman of the BBC trust, to withdraw the two films – ‘Florence Nightingale: Iron Maiden’ (2001) and ‘Reputations: Florence Nightingale’ (2008) – from distribution.
They have also criticized “the BBC’s persistent, hostile and greatly erroneous treatment of Florence Nightingale” in the films.
The first film is being described in one newspaper as “a manipulative, neurotic, sexually repressed woman” under whose leadership “10 times more men perished at her Scutari hospital near Sebastopol from illness than from wounds”.
The second resulted in press coverage that she was “the kiss of death to thousands of men in her care”.
“We ask the BBC to (preferably) withdraw the two hostile films, at the very least to identify them as including unsubstantiated and fictional portrayals of Nightingale,” the letter said.
“Of course scholars may differ in interpretation, but still the BBC’s record is appalling. Not one of the academics used to attack Nightingale ever published his/her accusations in a peer-reviewed book or journal, it added.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the BBC has defended the programmes, saying they contained “a broad range of sources, giving a broad range of opinions”.
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