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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 March 2007, 16:33 GMT
Urgent meeting on TV phone calls
Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan
Madeley and Finnigan have apologised to viewers for problems
The premium rate phone lines watchdog is to hold an urgent meeting with broadcasters and programme-makers amid probes into viewers' calls into shows.

Icstis said action was needed "to ensure that viewers can take part in TV shows with confidence".

It is investigating reported problems with calls to Channel 4's Richard and Judy and BBC One's Saturday Kitchen.

ITV admitted that a mistake with an interactive vote on X Factor led to viewers being overcharged by 200,000.

Icstis chairman Sir Alistair Graham told BBC Radio 4's You and Yours: "Broadcasters and others should be looking as a matter of urgency at how the recent problems came about, and at what needs to be done to prevent them happening again."

Presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan have axed the You Say, We Pay quiz on their Channel 4 show following claims viewers were told to call to participate after a contestant had already been chosen.

Channel 4 launched its own investigation, while insisting it would not "knowingly mislead viewers in any way".

This type of practice is not acceptable
Sir Alistair Graham
Icstis chairman

Icstis is also investigating an edition of Saturday Kitchen which allegedly asked viewers to call for a chance to appear on the following week's show - despite the next programme being recorded just minutes later.

The BBC said it had been an honest mistake, adding that no profits were made from the phone calls.

Saturday Kitchen would always be broadcast live in future, it added.

Both Richard and Judy and Saturday Kitchen are made by production company Cactus TV, with Eckoh providing the phone services for the shows.

Sir Alistair said: "The allegations that have been made over the last 10 days are serious and highlight issues that need addressing as a matter of urgency.

"If what has been alleged is found to be true, our message to the industry is simple - this type of practice is not acceptable. Viewers deserve better."

An Eckoh statement said it would be attending the meeting, adding: "We are committed to working alongside Icstis and we are confident that, collectively, the group can identify ways in which to rebuild consumer confidence in the industry."


SEE ALSO
ITV admits X Factor vote mistake
28 Feb 07 |  Entertainment
BBC admits TV show phone mistake
28 Feb 07 |  Entertainment
Richard and Judy quiz scrutinised
18 Feb 07 |  Entertainment
TV phone-in quizzes 'a lottery'
28 Nov 06 |  Politics

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