Page last updated at 15:14 GMT, Monday, 22 June 2009 16:14 UK

Daytime shows fall foul of Ofcom

Alan Titchmarsh
Titchmarsh first found fame on his gardening shows

The Alan Titchmarsh Show, The Paul O'Grady Show and Five News at 7 have all been found in breach of Ofcom's codes on product placement.

The broadcast watchdog ruled that Five News at 7 had promoted a GPS running watch and given it undue prominence.

The Alan Titchmarsh and Paul O'Grady Show were both found to have promoted and given undue prominence to two different skincare products.

Unlike the US, product placement is prohibited in the UK.

Five News at 7 was found in breach of a rule which states products and services must not be promoted in programmes and another which rules that no undue prominence may be given to any programme to any product or service.

The Five news programme on 5 February included in a pre-recorded report and a live studio discussion included comments about the GPS device such as: "small but genius invention", "as easy to charge as a mobile phone and "you get what you pay for with these".

Ofcom took into account Five's statement that there was no commercial arrangement in place and acknowledged there was no evidence of product placement.

But the watchdog likened the gadget review slot to a teleshopping promotion.

The Alan Titchmarsh Show breaches related to two programmes - one on 23 March involving an interview with actress Jane Seymour, and another on 26 March featuring the actress Stephanie Beacham.

Titchmarsh and Seymour were seen discussing Seymour's commercial venture as the face of a clothing company.

Paul O'Grady
O'Grady joked that he felt like a presenter of a shopping channel

Ofcom noted Titchmarsh did not draw the conversation away from his guest's commercial interest but in fact initiated a conversation by saying, "You're as beautifully clad as ever".

There were several references to the clothing brand throughout the interview.

Channel TV, an ITV licence holder responsible for the compliance of the programme on behalf of the ITV network, said the references were justified by the editorial context in which they appeared.

But the programme was found to have given the firm undue prominence.

When interviewing Beacham later that month, Ofcom revealed its concern that skincare products were set out on the table in front of the presenter and Beacham in advance of the interview, which was pre-recorded.

There were then several references to the brand and viewers were also directed to the skincare range's website.

The actress had worked with the manufacturer to create the range of products shown.

DVD plug

Ofcom ruled the show had given the products undue prominence and that the products had also been promoted within the programme.

The Paul O'Grady Show was found in breach of the same rules. The incident on 24 March this year also involved a skincare product.

Channel Four said "the script was carefully drafted... and only made one verbal reference to the product".

But the presenter, Paul O'Grady, deviated from the intended script and the product was referred to on six occasions. O'Grady said: "I feel like I'm on QVC here" in reference to the shopping channel.

A UEFA Champions' League football match on ITV1 was also found to be in breach of rule 10.3, which states that products and services must not be promoted in programmes.

The commentator was heard promoting the release of a DVD of a football documentary Clough, accompanied by a full-screen shot of the DVD cover.

MTV Two's MySpace Chart was found to have broken a rule relating to sponsorship because the programme title accompanied by the channel logo remained on screen for the entirety of the one-hour programme.

Ofcom ruled this gave the sponsor "undue prominence".

FX police drama Dexter was criticised over its sponsorship credits for the film Angels and Demons during screening of the programme on various dates during May this year.

Ofcom showed concern that some of the credits shown before and after the programmes were "essentially no different to promotional trailers for the film - in other words, they closely resembled advertisements".

FX admitted the "credits are in breach of rule 9.13" - essentially that sponsor credits should not resemble adverts - and apologised.

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