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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 December, 2003, 13:27 GMT
MP attacks Christmas TV repeats
The Office Christmas special
The BBC's Office Christmas special is a new show on TV
Liberal Democrats culture spokesman Don Foster has criticised the number of repeats on TV this Christmas.

Broadcasters were relying on repeats as a cheap way of to "prop up" their TV schedules over the Christmas holiday period, he said.

And the major channels were guilty of looking like "wall-to-wall UK Gold".

An ITV spokeswoman told BBC News Online the network had a "very strong Christmas line-up", while the BBC said he was "lacking in Christmas cheer".

The schedules had also been slated by the Daily Mail newspaper, which said the number of repeats had soared to a new record.

It said that of the 138 programmes listed for 25 December, only 63 of them were new.

'Wide range'

But broadcasters reacted by saying the newspaper's findings covered a full 24 hour period, including early morning TV which was unlikely to show new or one-off programmes.

The BBC denied the allegations that the number of repeats had quadrupled over the past seven years.

"They must be lacking in Christmas cheer because they have failed to reflect the wide range of BBC programmes on offer for viewers over the festive period - particularly on BBC One," a spokeswoman said.

"On BBC One this year we are showing original drama productions such as The Young Visiters and Nina Bawden's Carrie's War; and entertainment specials including Only Fools and Horses, French & Saunders, and The Office," she said.

The ITV spokeswoman said: "We are happy with our Christmas line-up."

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