WITHOUT the finale of Happy Valley ahead, this Sunday was always going to be less dramatic than the last. Not for the want of trying in some quarters, though.

A round of applause to the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which published its report on the appointment of Richard Sharp as BBC chairman at 00.01 on Sunday.

Not that the media had to queue for it at midnight, Harry Potter-style. The report was released under embargo in plenty of time for the Sunday shows.

Adding further interest, committee member and SNP MP John Nicolson was punting the report wherever he could. As a former broadcast journalist, Mr Nicolson needs no media training. (Not that his proactive style always works: see the recent stushie when he tweeted parts of a private letter from Sir Lindsay Hoyle, much to Mr Speaker’s dismay.)

Mr Sharp, a major donor to the Conservatives, was named as the UK Government’s preferred candidate for the BBC job in 2021. The Commons committee backed his appointment. They were not aware, however, that he had acted as a go-between for a loan to then Prime Minister Boris Johnson from a distant cousin. This was only revealed by the Sunday Times in January this year.

On Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday, Mr Nicolson said: “The rules quite clearly say if you apply for a public service job like this you’ve got to be completely open about any conflict of interest.”

Ridge read out a response from Mr Sharp’s spokesman saying the BBC chair appreciated that there was information that the committee felt that it should have been made aware of in his pre-appointment hearing. “He regrets this and apologises,” said the statement.

Mr Nicolson said: “That’s a load of old flannel.” He could have apologised to the committee last week when it called him back, said the MP.

“He is apologising now because he sees how brutal the report is and he is fighting for his job.” Mr Nicolson accused him of being “haughty and entitled” during the committee session.

The MP said “scores” of BBC staff were writing to him, concerned about possible political interference.

Ridge asked Mr Nicolson, a former presenter on BBC Newsnight and BBC Breakfast, if he believed the corporation was impartial.

“I think the BBC aims to be impartial. There are always going to be questions over individual presenters or reporters but the BBC prides itself on its impartiality.” When he was a presenter “nobody ever tried to tell me what to do, what to say and what to ask”.

The committee did not call for Mr Sharp to resign, but Mr Nicolson said he did not see how he could carry on.

"John Nicolson with some pretty punchy words," said Ridge later.

Andrew Mitchell, Foreign Office Minister, said decisions on Mr Sharp’s future should wait until the report produced by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

“We need to be fair to all parties in this, including Richard Sharp,” he told BBC1’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg.

Put to him that it was a decision for the Government, not the BBC, Mr Mitchell said: “The BBC is not a silent part of all of this, the board of the BBC will need to consider what he’s said and reach their own conclusions.”

Former culture minister Lord Vaizey suggested Mr Sharp’s actions were not a “hanging offence”.

The Tory peer told BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House: “You can acknowledge it is a blunder without saying it is a hanging offence. The report doesn’t say he should resign.”

He added: “I get slightly irritated by the whole ‘scandal’ element of this and people pretending they have had an attack of the vapours and they need the smelling salts to be passed. What we are really saying is ‘should you know that someone who is appointed to a position like chairman of the BBC has a connection to the Tory party?'

At the time Mr Sharp applied he was working for Rishi Sunak, and he had made donations to the Tory Party, so it was known, said Lord Vaizey.

BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show made its contribution to the morning’s drama, although more for who it did not have on the programme than who it did.

Most of the show focused on the Scottish Government's Deposit Return Scheme. But the Minister responsible, Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater, declined to appear. As did any other Minister, or anyone from Circularity Scotland, the scheme administrator, or the Government-funded Zero Waste Scotland.

SNP MSP Fergus Ewing, who said the scheme was heading for disaster if nothing was done, said it was “quite extraordinary” that no minister or agency had appeared on the show.