The editor of BBC One’s Panorama has defended a documentary which has led to a bitter row with the Church of Scientology, after a veteran reporter shouted at a group member.

During filming, reporter John Sweeney lost his temper and shouted at Scientology representative Tommy Davis.

Footage of the scene was posted on YouTube ahead of the BBC’s broadcast of the documentary on Monday night.

The BBC has denied allegations that it orchestrated a demonstration against the group in which a ‘terrorist death threat’ was allegedly made.

Panorama editor Sandy Smith defended Mr Sweeney’s actions. Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he said he was showing the clip of the row because it had been on YouTube and the BBC had been criticised for it, not because they were proud of it.

He said he was ‘disappointed’ with Mr Sweeney. But he added he was showing a portrait of an ‘extraordinary organisation’ which would not accept any criticism whatsoever.

He said Sweeney had been shown an exhibition, which showed torture imagery, and his interviews had also been interrupted. It ‘all came to a head’ when he had been accused of being “too soft” on an interviewee.

CLICK here to watch the initial exchange between Sweeney and Tommy Davis.

CLICK below to watch Sweeney subsequently lose his rag…