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Fake but Accurate - The BBC sets a new low
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What's up at the Beeb?

First we had this. Then this. Now this:
The BBC suspended all phone-in competitions today after admitting that it had put fake winners on air during its flagship charity appeal programmes, Children In Need, Comic Relief and Sport Relief.

On each occasion, the "winning caller" heard on air was a member of the production team posing as a viewer.

The World Service pop programme White Label, the TMi show on CBBC and BBC 6 Music’s Liz Kershaw Show also duped viewers in a similar way.

Mark Thompson, the corporation's Director General, tonight confirmed that some staff had been suspended from their editorial positions while each breach was investigated.

The six new cases follow the recent disclosure that Blue Peter persuaded a child to pose as a competition winner, which resulted in a £50,000 fine imposed by broadcasting watchdog Ofcom.
Has anyone any confidence that what they see or hear on the BBC has any credibility anymore? Says Andrew Billen:
"The variety of sleights of hand by the Corporation that has been uncovered in the past seven days is what hurts it."
Nah. You think?
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Ha! I’m amazed that people are ever surprised by this.

It’s not unusual for broadcasters to dummy things up for’s Standard Operating Procedure. You know those Jerry’s Kids telethons? Well, when they go to local stations, they invariably have large phone banks of volunteers, local celebs, local businesspeople, etc, and they invariably do some sort of "we want everybody to call when we say go" thing.

"Ready? 3, 2, 1...GO!" (followed by all the phones ringing!) It’s amazing!

Except, they rig the phones to all ring simultaneously. There’s nobody on the other end of the line. And they tell the volunteers to pretend like they’re talking to people - both then, and other times.

Broadcasters do that kind of theatrics all the time. Obviously, faking winners is worse if it deprives legitimate contestants of a prize...but it’s far from uncommon.
Written By: Jon Henke
Yeah Jon, but it comes at a time where the Beeb (and other media orgs) really can’t afford to take the hit, common as it is. The pile on effect you know
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Ha! I’m amazed that people are ever surprised by this.
As am I.

It’s called not having any serious competition. The approximate chances of the BBC going out of business because they’re not doing it right, is approximately the same as a full and unconditional surrender of al-Qaida happening tomorrow. Similarly, an employee of the Beeb to get fired, would have to be an axe murderer. (Of course, the given reason for his being fired, would be not following the dress code regulations) The BBC, in my view, as far too much leverage both from a governmental and a societal point of view, to be held accountable. Ironically, in the end, it’s this leverage which makes them more prone to their incredibility.

As for Jon’s comments about the fund raising, I had occasion to do some volunteer work along those lines a few years ago, (my radio station’s staff was asked to volunteer... good PR, ya know... gave those voices a face... which in my case may or may not have been a good thing) and frankly, saw none of what Jon describes.

Certainly, the phones started ringing more often when we cut to local, but there was always somebody on the other and when I picked up, local breakout, or no.

My assumption is that the reason the call volumes increased during the local breaks, was that only the local number was being keyed in on the screen during those local breaks, as opposed to the major market numbers across the nation, being keyed in on the bottom of the network feed. That may work differently in more major markets than is Rochester, I don’t know.

Written By: Bithead

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