BBC and Sir Cliff Richard in battle over compensation

Singer has sued the corporation over coverage of raid on his home during abuse probe

BBC bosses have staged a defence after Sir Cliff Richard took legal action in the wake of reports naming him as a suspected sex offender.

They deny that the singer is entitled to the compensation he is claiming following publicity about a raid on his home.

Detail of the BBC’s defence has emerged in paperwork lodged by lawyers at the High Court in London pending the start of any court hearings.

Sir Cliff Richard

The singer has sued the BBC and South Yorkshire Police in the wake of coverage of the raid – and says the BBC added “insult to injury” by entering its coverage in a “Scoop of the Year” journalism contest.

Lawyers representing Sir Cliff say he suffered “profound and long-lasting” damage.

Detail of Sir Cliff’s complaints had emerged in October in paperwork lodged by his lawyers at the High Court in London.

Earlier this year, Sir Cliff has said his life was “effectively turned upside down”, as he confirmed he was suing the BBC and South Yorkshire Police over live coverage of a police raid at his home.

The entertainer said in a statement he had instructed his lawyers to make formal legal complaints to determine whether or not the actions of the broadcaster and police force were “justified and proportionate”.

Sir Cliff Richard at Wimbledon earlier this week (Philip Toscano/PA)

Officers investigating allegations of historic sex offences were filmed searching Sir Cliff’s apartment in Berkshire in August 2014, leading to him being publicly named as part of the probe. The 75-year-old was never arrested or charged.

The Crown Prosecution Service dismissed the case on grounds of insufficient evidence in June and both the BBC and South Yorkshire Police have apologised to the star.

Sir Cliff called for police to follow guidelines in not naming suspects before they were charged, save for “exceptional circumstances”.

He said: “I chose not to comment during the active investigation for obvious reasons, but having suffered the experience that I have, I firmly believe that privacy should be respected and that police guidelines are there to be followed.

“That means that, save in exceptional circumstances, people should never be named unless and until they are charged. As everybody has accepted there were no such ‘exceptional circumstances’ in my case.”

Media outside the Charters Estate in Sunningdale, Berkshire where Sir Cliff has a home (Andrew Matthews/PA)

According to the Daily Mail, the claim is worth £1 million and reflects damage Sir Cliff suffered personally and commercially as a result of the incident.

It is understood Sir Cliff developed a cough which affected his touring schedule, an album release had to be delayed, sales of his popular calendars were affected and his winery business suffered.

Sir Cliff said the issue of whether the actions were justified or not was “important not only for me personally but much more widely”.

He added: “My life was effectively turned upside down and my reputation, worldwide, was unnecessarily damaged. I would not want the same to happen to others whether in the public eye or not.”

“Whilst the police of course need to properly investigate allegations made to them, it is clear to me that questions need to be answered by both the police and the BBC about their initial handling of my matter, which has rightly been condemned from so many quarters, including the Home Affairs Select Committee, the broader press, and, even the police themselves.”

Sir Cliff said his life has been "effectively turned upside down" (David Davies/PA)

The BBC, whose relationship with Sir Cliff stretches back decades, declined to comment. It previously said it was “very sorry” for causing the singer distress.

Last weekend, Sir Cliff met with former Commons deputy speaker and Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans in a bid to change the law to protect the anonymity of those accused of sexual assault and rape.

In 2014, a jury unanimously found Nigel not guilty of nine sexual allegations, including one of rape, following a five-week trial at Preston Crown Court.