Ryanair has accused the BBC of telling lies and “blocking the truth” in a Panorama documentary set to air tonight (Monday, October 12).

The programme, entitled ‘Why Hate Ryanair?‘, is expected to explore why consumers have strong feelings about the airline and the secrets of its success.

The low-cost airline has accused the programme of not agreeing to a “live or unedited” interview with O’Leary and has published its correspondence with the BBC on its website (pdf).

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary described the programme as a ‘hatchet job’. He said: “BBC Panorama know that it has no case in this ‘hatchet job’ programme. We have already rubbished its false claims about hidden charges.

“It is a pity that Panorama, with all its resources, investigative journalists and the power of the BBC, was not honest enough to agree to a live or an unedited interview with Ryanair. This would have provided viewers with balance and facts, instead of Panorama‘s false claims and fiction.”

A spokesman for the BBC told The Times that Ryanair had demanded editorial control over the interview. He added: “We do have a statement from Ryanair in the programme and a couple of clips of Mr O’Leary speaking in it.

“We wanted to interview Michael O’Leary, but he wanted editorial control and that is something no broadcaster would agree to. We urge viewers to make their own minds up by watching Panorama tonight.”