The BBC has apologised for a news report which contained the N word after it received tens of thousands of complaints.

Director-general Lord Tony Hall said the broadcaster "made a mistake".

He said: “Every organisation should be able to acknowledge when it has made a mistake. We made one here.”

During a report last month on a suspected racially-motivated attack in Bristol, social affairs correspondent Fiona Lamdin repeated a racial slur which was allegedly used during the incident.

The story ran on the BBC News Channel and local news programme Points West on July 29, however later that day the broadcaster stopped running the report which featured the offensive language.

The corporation received a total of 18,656 complaints.

READ MORE: BBC is hit with 18,000 complaints over use of the N-word

Lord Hall said in an email sent to all BBC staff: “This morning I brought together a group of BBC colleagues to discuss our news coverage of the recent shocking attack on an NHS worker. I wanted us to look at the issues raised by the reporting and the strength of feeling surrounding it.

“We are proud of the BBC’s values of inclusion and respect, and have reflected long and hard on what people have had to say about the use of the n-word and all racist language both inside and outside the organisation.

“It should be clear that the BBC’s intention was to highlight an alleged racist attack. This is important journalism which the BBC should be reporting on and we will continue to do so.

“Yet despite these good intentions, I recognise that we have ended up creating distress amongst many people.

“The BBC now accepts that we should have taken a different approach at the time of broadcast and we are very sorry for that. We will now be strengthening our guidance on offensive language across our output.

“Every organisation should be able to acknowledge when it has made a mistake. We made one here. It is important for us to listen – and also to learn. And that is what we will continue to do.”

On the day of the broadcast a spokeswoman for the BBC said the report related to a “shocking unprovoked attack on a young man”.

She added: “His family told the BBC about the racist language used by the attackers and wanted to see the full facts made public.

“A warning was given before this was reported.

“We are no longer running this version of the report but are continuing to pursue the story.”

In a further statement last week, the BBC said: “We believe we gave adequate warnings that upsetting images and language would be used and we will continue to pursue this story.”

The statement added that the decision to include the term was taken “by a team of people including a number of senior editorial figures”.

In June the broadcaster received 23,674 complaints over an episode of Newsnight in which Emily Maitlis delivered an introduction about the Dominic Cummings lockdown row.