Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"Come out with your hands up"

So Blue Peter's the latest TV show to point out that, yes, it did once fake a competition winner when its phone lines failed. Ask yourself this. If everybody's suddenly falling over themselves to confess to having done so in the light of the current premium phone lines scandal, how many of them must have done it over the years and are still keeping quiet about it? Live TV runs in a state of barely suppressed panic. They cannot afford anything to go wrong, which is why they take out insurance by fixing things. In my experience the producers of such things, while perfectly pleasant people most of the time, have the morals of Jeffrey Archer the minute they're under the cosh.


  1. Let me take advantage of the vogue to unburden ourselves by saying that I've known the odd magazine competition to be "massaged" in my time.
    Everything from swapping a winning overseas postcard for a British one to save on postage, to popping in a fake DVD winner because the Ad Manager really wanted one of the copies that we had in the office.
    I feel so much better now.

  2. Anonymous1:23 am

    A very strange Newsnight tonight. Kirsty Wark managed to talk to a very nice man from children's TV about the Blue Peter scandal, and it very quickly became clear it wasn't a scandal. What followed were three minutes of her grilling the poor man who kind of kept agreeing with her, (and they both knew there were more important things to talk about like that Channel 4 bollocks on Global Warming). There then followed a film about a public toilet closing down! It was Nationwide, I tell you.

  3. Anonymous1:30 am

    I missed the bit about producers of these live programmes as turning into Jeffery Archers, as I (genuinely) forgot that I used to produce a live TV programme that in its hayday got 11 million, and under the cosh I used just smile and leave it to the studio director! Really, producers are pretty useless once you are on air. We did have a competition once, and it consisted of our presenter doing a tombola (not my programme, I have to say). Oh, those were the days. And as for Archer, I have never met a man stand so like he had a poker up his arse as him. Sorry, it's late.

  4. The thing I'd love to see an investigation into is those competitions where you can also 'write in to get a packet opened for you' to see if you have won, without actually having to make a purchase. Companies are legally obliged to do this - but has anyone ever won anything from a competition they entered in this way?

  5. Does kids' TV really need phone-in contests in the first place?

  6. And once again, in that grand old TV tradition, it's the presenter who has to make the apology for something they had nothing to do with. Nobody more camera-shy than a telly producer, which says a lot.

  7. Anonymous2:05 am

    But, on the other hand, when Blue Peter's Richard Bacon was snitched on for taking cocaine, it was Lorraine Heggasey (formerly head of Children's) who came on air to appologise. There's a lesson there.