THE BBC’s crisis over chair Richard Sharp is fuelling the notion there is something “profoundly wrong” with the way the broadcaster is governed – and his resignation would not solve the issue, an expert has said.

Reports have suggested the Tory ­donor – who was installed at the top of the BBC by Boris Johnson’s ­government – could be forced to step down after the findings of an ­investigation into his appointment are published, which is expected this week.

A review was launched by the ­office of the Commissioner for Public ­Appointments after it emerged Sharp helped Johnson secure an £800,000 loan facility.

But Simon Potter, professor of ­modern history at the University of Bristol and author of This Is The BBC, said replacing the chair would not be viewed by many as dealing with issues for the broadcaster that generated the crisis in the first place.

He said: “A lot of the allegations relate to the way that [Sharp] was ­appointed and that is ultimately something for the Prime Minister.

“So in many ways, it’s more of a question about Boris Johnson’s ­behaviour and decision making.

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“But what I think is a problem for the BBC is that it relates to the way the BBC is governed and the ­structures under which it operates under the Royal Charter.

“It fuels ideas that there’s ­something profoundly wrong with the way that’s been set up and that some more ­significant change is required.”

Potter pointed out allegations of government influence can be found throughout the history of the BBC right back to its inception.

One example was the ­appointment of Lord Hill of Luton in 1967 by then prime minister Harold ­Wilson, who felt the BBC was biased against Labour.

“The most notorious case of where there have been government ­appointees who were clearly put in to have a have a political effect was when Margaret Thatcher put in Stuart

Young as a chairman, and then he when died Marmaduke Hussey was put in,” Potter said.

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“They were both Thatcher loyalists, with William Rees-Mogg going in as the vice chair.

“I think it was pretty clear that they were there to sort out the BBC after it had not towed the line on the miners’ strikes, the Falklands and Northern Ireland.”

Potter said allegations over ­political influence were damaging for the BBC’s efforts to promote it as being a trusted news source.

“So much of the BBC’s ­continued survival rests on the fact that ­people believe it is trustworthy and it is ­providing that sort of curated, ­careful journalism, investigative ­journalism and political coverage that is ­increasingly rare in the contemporary news media,” he said.

“So anything that undermines that sense of trust is clearly a big problem for the BBC.”

Under the current system, the BBC board has half of members selected by the broadcaster while the other half – including the chair – are ­appointed by the Government.

Other controversial appointments include Robbie Gibb, the board ­member for England – a pro-Brexit former Downing Street aide who was accused by former Newsnight ­presenter Emily Maitlis of being an “active agent” of the Conservative Party inside the corporation.

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Potter said: “Historically the BBC has been very under regulated and it’s only in the last sort of 10-20 years that there’s been, for example, a drive to finally put the BBC under the ­regulatory purview of Ofcom.

“Before that the trust and the board were meant to be regulators as well as cheerleaders and decision-makers, which is a very difficult role to pull off. We haven’t really got beyond that that – what’s the role of the board?

“Is it there to be to make the BBC accountable? Is it there to promote the BBC? Is it there to take major ­decisions that have to be made by the executive level?

“It’s just not clear, so ­whatever happens, clarity of purpose is ­something that’s really important, but also thinking about what is in a very rapidly changing news ­environment and a sort of public ­debates which are perhaps more ­polarised than they have been for a long time in British politics – how can the BBC be governed in a way that doesn’t generate controversy after controversy?”

He added: “I think probably many people would say that if you just say the solution to this problem is to ­replace the chair that’s not dealing with the issue that has generated this crisis in the first place.”

On the Sharp controversy, the BBC has said the appointment of the chair is a matter for the Government.

Speaking at a Broadcasting Press Guild event last week, chief ­content officer of the BBC Charlotte Moore, was asked whether Sharp will ­continue as the body’s chair.

She replied: “So Richard … continues to be chair of the board and he’s doing a really good job, business as usual. He’s really supportive of what we’re doing.”