Stephen Nolan 'sent explicit images of Stephen Bear to BBC colleagues'
15th August 2023

BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Stephen Nolan ‘sent sexually explicit images of shamed Stephen Bear to work colleagues and threatened to send more if reality star wasn’t booked for his TV show Nolan Live’

BBC broadcaster Stephen Nolan sent several pictures of a reality star’s penis to colleagues, it was claimed today.

The Northern Irish star, 49, who earns £400,000-a-year, reportedly warned more images of Stephen Bear’s genitals would follow if they failed to book him for his TV show Nolan Live.

Bear was sentenced to 21 months in jail this year for voyeurism and two counts of ‘revenge porn’ featuring his former girlfriend Georgia Harrison, who has won £200,000 compensation from her abusive ex.

Texts and documents leaked to the Irish Times revealed Stephen Nolan had said: ‘I want Bear!’, adding in another: ‘If I don’t get Bear tomorrow night I’m sending more bear photos.’ 

One recipient called the penis pictures ‘beyond the pale’ and another source claimed Nolan is ‘untouchable’ within the BBC, who have made him the fifth highest paid star on their payroll.

Bear, who had just won Celebrity Big Brother, was successfully booked and stripped off on the show where both men posed in their underpants in front of a live audience in 2016.

The footage remains on the BBC website today. MailOnline has asked the BBC and Mr Nolan to comment.

Stephen Nolan and Stephen Bear dance in their pants in 2016 on his Nolan Live show after the broadcaster allegedly sent pictures of the disgraced reality star’s penis to colleagues to encourage them to book him 

Texts and documents leaked to the Irish Times revealed Stephen Nolan had said: ‘I want Bear!’, adding in another: ‘If I don’t get Bear tomorrow night I’m sending more bear photos.’ His team then managed to book him (pictured)

Stephen Bear, who won Celebrity Big Brother in 2016, was jailed for 21 months for sharing a private sex video of Georgia Harrison on his OnlyFans website. He must also pay her £200,000 compensation

Gregory Campbell DUP MP for East Londonderry said: ‘The scale and significance of the revelations printed today, were they related to any other area of life in Northern Ireland, would undoubtedly be headline news across the BBC. “Radio silence” just won’t cut it however in this instance.

‘Many people will obviously question the culture which appears to be prevalent within the programme where its presenter has sent unwanted sexual images to staff members.

‘This ultimately is an issue of how public money is used in Northern Ireland and it deserves the same level of scrutiny and questioning, both from the BBC and other sections of the media’.

Today’s investigation also alleged: 

  • Stephen Nolan faced a bullying and harassment complaint in 2018 – but it was rejected after current Nolan Show members defended him and his ‘banter’;
  • Star’s production company Third Street Studios has seen funds rise from £1.5million in 2018 to £4million in 2022;
  • He reportedly called BBC NI colleague and Talkback host William Crawley a ‘devious c***’. He also allegedly referred to the newsroom ‘more broadly in a similar way’, according to the Irish Times;
  • Two former staff members of Nolan’s received counselling for work-related stress. One was referred to a psychiatrist;

Mr Nolan was back on air this morning presenting his daily Radio Ulster show at 9am. He did not address the allegation in the Irish Times.

His radio show remains the most listened to in Northern Ireland. 

Stephen Nolan’s BBC NI radio show is the most listened to in the province

A spokesman for BBC NI told the Irish Times: ‘We don’t comment on individual staffing matters. The BBC has established processes in place to deal with any workplace-related issues and concerns. These are applied fairly, consistently and with all appropriate safeguards, including in relation to confidentiality.’ 

A 2018 investigation into Nolan is said to have centred on pictures of Stephen Bear’s penis and complaints about Nolan’s ‘tight knit’ team. 

Nolan had allegedly sent the pictures – including one of Bear aroused – to the colleagues in charge of booking guests for his Nolan Live TV show in November 2016. 

A complainant said the first picture of Bear’s penis was a ‘deliberate attempt to undermine and embarrass me’ by Nolan. The same person said ‘further distress’ was caused when a second ‘different explicit photo of Stephen Bear naked’ and aroused was sent to the group.

A disciplinary investigation was launched and ‘appropriate action’ was taken, the BBC said.

A document seen by the Irish Times said the matter was ‘managed internally. While the specific outcome of the process is private and confidential to Stephen, I can confirm that appropriate action has been taken,’ it said.

A BBC human resources manager sent to Belfast from England found Nolan did not have a case to answer, on most of the bullying and harassment claims.

One documents said: ‘All of the interviewees said that they found the show a very good one to work on…They acknowledged it was a tough show because of the nature of the subjects they covered and the fact it was daily and live.

‘They said they were a tight knit group who worked well together and all felt they could and did speak up when needed to when people disagreed.

‘Most said there was a level of banter in the team but it was not something that they found personally offensive’.

Text messages sent by Nolan show his apparent dislike for other parts of BBC NI, especially on news, and his rivals at other broadcasters.

In one he called William Crawley, one of BBC NI’s other big stars, a ‘devious c***’.  Another message called UTV’s Marc Mallett, ‘Timmy Mallet’. Nolan apparently chipped in and said: ‘He’s awful’.

It came as the BBC continues its ‘fact-finding’ investigation into the allegations about Huw Edwards.

Tim Davie has conceded the controversy has been a ‘difficult affair’ for the Corporation as it sought to ‘navigate’ the claims about the presenter alongside its ‘duty of care’ and ‘privacy’ issues.

He also revealed the inquiry team had now spoken to the family member who made the original allegations about Mr Edwards to the BBC. The star has been at the centre of claims that £35,000 was paid to a vulnerable young person for explicit pictures.

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