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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 March 2007, 11:24 GMT
Phone-in scandal 'a wake-up call'
Mark Thompson
Mr Thompson stressed the BBC never profited from phone-ins

The BBC's director general has spoken of the need to "rebuild public trust" following the mishandling of phone-in competitions on two shows.

Mark Thompson told BBC One's Sunday AM he accepted there had been "serious errors of judgement", but there was no "intention to deceive".

Last week saw Blue Peter apologise to viewers after the results of the Whose Shoes contest was faked in November.

Cookery show Saturday Kitchen is also being investigated.

Mr Thompson said the mistakes were "very regrettable".

He blamed the Blue Peter incident on "blind panic on the studio floor"

Blue Peter
The BBC launched an independent inquiry into the Blue Peter incident

The competition "fix" occurred when a technical problem prevented callers from getting through to the studio. A visiting child was asked to pose as a caller, and won the prize.

The BBC did not profit from the calls and the competition has since been re-run, with a new winner chosen from the original callers.

Cookery show Saturday Kitchen is also under investigation by the premium phone line regulator Icstis, following an incident last month which Mr Thompson attributed to "sloppiness".

Viewers were encouraged to call in for a chance to appear on the following week's show - even though it was being recorded minutes after the live programme went off air.

James Martin, on Saturday Kitchen
James Martin is one of the hosts of Saturday Kitchen

A statement by the BBC blamed the mistake on "a lack of clarity" in scripting.

Speaking to presenter Andrew Marr, Mr Thompson called the recent slew of phone-in errors "a wake-up call to the industry".

"Across broadcasting we have to look very, very closely at the way we use phone lines."

"It's incredibly important that when people phone in one of these circumstances... it should be fair, and that we shouldn't even unintentionally mislead the audience," he added, stressing that trust lay at the heart of the BBC's work.

He also jokingly defended Saturday's Eurovision gaffe, which saw hosts Fearne Cotton and Terry Wogan announce different winners in the Making Your Mind Up contest, which decided this year's British Eurovision entry.

Pop act Scooch won this year's Eurovision 'sing-off'

"Obviously they were trying so hard to get the phone lines right that something else went wrong."

"Whoever's fault it was, I'm sure it wasn't Terry Wogan's."

Foursome Scooch beat soloist Cyndi Almouzni with the airline-themed Flying The Flag (For You), to win their place at this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki in May.

The BBC apologised for error, which it blamed on the mechanics of live TV, but has not elaborated further on the mistake.

Blue Peter sorry over fake winner
14 Mar 07 |  Entertainment
Gaffe mars Scooch Eurovision win
18 Mar 07 |  Entertainment


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