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Thursday, March 4, 1999 Published at 12:13 GMT


Vanessa staff sacked

Vanessa Feltz: Hostess of controversial daytime show

Three members of the BBC's Vanessa Show have been sacked following an internal inquiry into the use of "fake" guests on the programme.

The BBC's Torin Douglas: "They have a fortnight to appeal"
A freelance researcher's contract has been terminated and a member of staff given a formal warning and moved to another job, according to the BBC.

The BBC1 daytime show has been at the centre of controversy since the Mirror newspaper reported last month that researchers had allegedly used an agency to hire actors to pretend to be members of the public.

Feuding sisters

One unmarried actress discussed her supposed plans to divorce her husband and, on another edition, two unrelated women pretended they were feuding sisters.

The presenter, Vanessa Feltz, said she knew nothing about the hoaxes.

The BBC immediately suspended five people and launched a three-week investigation.

The three sacked members of staff have been dismissed with effect from April 3, but have been told not to come into the office to work out their notice, according to a BBC statement.


The BBC statement said: "The investigation begun following allegations of booking fake guests for The Vanessa Show has been completed.

"As the BBC stated last week, the investigation has no evidence to support the allegation that BBC staff knowingly booked fake guests.

"On current evidence, it is not intended to initiate further disciplinary interviews with anyone else in the Vanessa team."

Neither the show's presenter Vanessa Feltz, BBC Production chief Matthew Bannister nor director-general John Birt would be making any further comment on the matter until the appeals procedure was exhausted, said a BBC spokeswoman.

The four members of BBC staff have the right to appeal against the decisions within the next 14 days.

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