Friday, November 30, 2007

Three weeks ago a national newspaper exposed another Blue Peter deception which took place in 2005. A competition winner told The Sun that two other "winners" of the competition to put questions to Jon Culshaw were actually from an agency.

The first time this year that Blue Peter was caught cheating, Richard Deverell, Head of CBBC spoke to BBC News (14 March 2007): I'm apologising unequivocally to viewers - particularly children - that this has happened. It's a clear breach of the relationship of trust with audiences. We have to ensure that all our dealings with audiences, particularly with children are open, honest and straightforward.

In response to the latest newspaper allegation, the BBC failed to apologise to Blue Peter viewers and claimed that it often used unpaid volunteers from drama groups.

Richard Deverell said: Our presenter should have made it clear that only some of the children on the show came via the website.

He explained that it was standard practice for producers to form relationships with local schools and drama groups to help pad out audiences and to help prevent other children featured on the programme from being too shy to contribute.

It's something which we'll keep on doing because we need articulate, confident children who will contribute something to our shows, Mr Deverell said.

So in future we expect Zoe or Gethin to say "Here are the six competition winners, but two of them didn't really enter the competition and are just pretending they did," or words to that effect.

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