The UK’s growing controversy over TV phone-ins triggered by Channel 4 flagship talkshow Richard and Judy has engulfed the BBC, whose Saturday Kitchen cookery show is also produced by All3Media’s Cactus TV.
Catcus is currently facing allegations that its Richard & Judy show encouraged viewers to enter a competition via premium-rate telephone lines after the winner had already been selected.
Channel 4 is currently investigating the claims, which also involve the telephony service provider Eckoh. Both Cactus and Eckoh are behind BBC1′s Saturday Kitchen, which is now facing similar allegations.
In an episode broadcast earlier this month, Saturday Kitchen viewers were prompted to call the show to take part, even though this wasn’t possible since it was prerecorded, according to the News of the World newspaper.
A BBC spokesman said today: “The BBC has been crystal clear with Cactus that recorded material should not be presented as live. We are in ongoing discussions with Cactus to make sure this does not happen again.”
Meanwhile, C4, which is conducting its own internal investigation into the Richard & Judy ‘scam’ claims and has pledged to repay any viewers affected, has been hit by fresh allegations that management were aware of what was going on.
The Mail on Sunday paper reported yesterday that it had email proof of this, but C4 maintained today that senior management were unaware the competition was being run in a “non-compliant fashion” until the issue was raised last week. C4 said it had not seen a copy of the email on which the newspaper based its report and so could not say whether it was genuine.