BBC Three, one of the public broadcaster’s digital TV channels, sent an email to the Bob Marley Foundation saying it wanted to do a documentary about his hit song No Woman No Cry.
It said the project would involve Marley – who died of cancer in May 1981 at the age of 36 – “spending one or two days with us”, and that “it would only work with some participation from Bob Marley himself”.
In a statement, the BBC said: “We are obviously very embarrassed that we didn’t realise that the letter to the Marley Foundation did not acknowledge that Mr Marley is no longer with us.”
Marley would have been 60 last February 6, a date that was celebrated with great fanfare by his legion of fans worldwide.
A BBC press officer, contacted by AFP in London on Friday, confirmed that the gaffe was not an April Fool’s joke.