ALEX Salmond is set to take legal action against the BBC over a documentary about his trial, according to a front page Sunday newspaper report.

Hosted by Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark, the programme sparked a backlash from the former First Minister's allies, who called it a "TV retrial".

Salmond, who in March was cleared of 13 sexual assault charges, including attempted rape, is understood to have spoken to his lawyers about comments made by Wark in last week's documentary.

A source close to Salmond told the Mail on Sunday: "He is consulting his lawyers with a view to possible legal action." It is not clear whether any proceedings would be against the BBC alone, or the broadcaster and Wark.

Some 37 complaints have been passed to the BBC, via Ofcom.

The Mail on Sunday said Salmond is also set to make a formal complaint to the BBC about the programme before any legal action.

But a source close to him reportedly told the paper: "Why would he have any faith in the complaints process of an organisation which has shown such bad faith, not to mention such sloppy, biased journalism purporting to be impartial when it clearly isn't?"

It is five months since Salmond walked free from the High Court in Edinburgh, following a two-year "nightmare".

He warned that "certain evidence" he had wanted to lead in court would see the "light of day".

In the coming weeks he is due to give evidence to a Holyrood inquiry into the Scottish Government's handling of allegations against him. However, last week's BBC documentary took viewers right back to the midst of the trial in March.

Salmond refused to be interviewed for the programme but some of the complainants spoke to Wark anonymously.

The BBC has insisted it stood by the documentary.

However, it has refused to say why the programme was briefly taken off iPlayer for "minor changes" last week.

The documentary featured several references to Me Too, a movement which saw women speak out about abuse, often sexual, by men in positions of power.

Some of Salmond's supporters have claimed the documentary was an attempt to retry him after he had been acquitted.

In a Twitter post, Christopher McEleny, an SNP councillor, branded the programme a "documentary that omitted the defence evidence and attempted a retrial by TV by only presenting the side the jury rejected".

Jim Sillars, a former deputy leader of the SNP, who also appeared in the documentary, said: "I don't think there can be any doubt about it – implied in the story of the women was that the jury got it wrong.

"The jury were in a unique position. The journalists sitting in the court room, and Alex Salmond, could hear these women, but they could not see them. And, of course, body language is a big part of communication. They were in a unique position of seeing them in cross-examination, by the defence, and from that unique position, 13 times they did not convict."

He also questioned why the documentary did not attempt to investigate the evidence that Salmond had hoped to lead, and says that he still intends to reveal.

Sillars added: "If the programme had been journalistically correct, they would have said that in two preliminary hearings, his defence of conspiracy was ruled inadmissible. That should have been mentioned."

Last night, the BBC robustly defended the documentary. A spokesman said: “The programme is an accurate and fair reflection of events and we stand by it. This is a current affairs programme examining a major story about the former First Minister of Scotland “Alex Salmond was approached by the programme and did not respond to requests. Substantial figures including Jim Sillars and Kenny MacAskill were featured in the programme. The outcome of the trial was fairly reflected in the programme and would have been known to everyone watching."

Salmond successfully took legal action against the Scottish Government's handling of the claims against him, resulting in a payout of more than £500,000.

Salmond declined to comment on the documentary or any discussions with lawyers over possible legal action when approached by The National.