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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 November, 2003, 12:14 GMT
Drama over dropped Wife Swap show
Erinma Bell and Liz Hughes
Erinma Bell and Liz Hughes say they got on very well during the swap
A black couple who took part in TV's Wife Swap have accused the show of exploiting them for ratings after their episode was dropped.

Erinma Bell, 38, from Manchester, was swapped with a woman with admittedly racist views for the show, but their experiences will not be screened.

Erinma and husband Raymond, 42, told The Voice newspaper the couples got on too well to make a good programme.

But Channel 4 said the tapes had simply been lost before editing could begin.

A spokesman for Wife Swap said: "We were all disappointed to learn the tapes had been lost because it would have made a fantastic show, we loved the bits of the film we had seen.

"We have hired a private investigator to track down the footage but with no success.

"We simply did not have enough material for a one-hour show."


Liz Hughes, 41, and Peter Hughes, 48, also of Manchester, admitted to programme-makers that they had racist views when applying to be on the show.

For the programme they swapped partners with Mr and Mrs Bell, who are both black, for two weeks.

Mrs Bell told The Voice: "If they mix people like that together they're just going to have arguments on TV which won't solve anything.

She added: "It's a fix, not reality TV."

But during their time in each others' homes, they said they had found many differences between them but had managed to get on and had learned a lot from the experience.


Mrs Bell said she had encouraged Mr Hughes not to use the terms "the black lady" and "paki".

Meanwhile, Mr Bell and Mrs Hughes bonded with each other and became friends.

The couples say they were only notified a day before the series began that their episode would not be shown.

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