The BBC has dropped plans for Planet Relief, a TV special on climate change.

Ricky Gervais and Graham Norton were said to be among the celebrities who could be taking part in the proposed day of programmes tentatively scheduled for broadcast next year.

Last month, Newsnight editor Peter Barron said it was “not the corporation’s job to save the planet”.

Planning an entire day of programmes dedicated to highlighting environmental worries was going beyond the BBC’s remit, he said.

“If the BBC is thinking about campaigning on climate change, then that is wrong and not our job.

“People are understandably interested in this, but it is absolutely not the BBC’s job to save the planet.

“There are a lot of people who think that, but it must be stopped,” he said at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.

Head of TV News Peter Horrocks, writing in the BBC News website’s editors’ blog, also commented that it was not the BBC’s job to lead opinion on the subject.

A BBC spokesperson said Planet Relief had never been formally commissioned.

She said the BBC had decided to cut the special because audiences prefer factual output.