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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 January 2007, 14:16 GMT
Race row 'saved dull Big Brother'
Jade Goody and Shilpa Shetty
Jade Goody (left) was accused of bullying Shilpa Shetty (right)
The controversy over alleged racism in Big Brother saved the show from being dull, says Channel 4 chief Kevin Lygo.

"This was in danger of being the most boring BB that we'd had in many years, maybe ever," the channel's director of television told Broadcast magazine.

Lygo admitted wondering "what can we do?" before the race row "erupted into this extraordinary story".

More than 40,000 viewers complained to Ofcom over the alleged victimisation of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty.

Housemate Jade Goody was seen calling the Bollywood star "Shilpa Poppadom" while former model Danielle Lloyd declared she should go home.

Kevin Lygo
I think we made the right decisions all the time
Kevin Lygo, director of programmes, Channel 4

After her eviction last Friday, Goody admitted her behaviour was "nasty" but denied being racist.

'Right decisions'

Lygo, who was giving his first interview since the Big Brother row began, said he stood by the programme's producers.

"I think we made the right decisions all the time," he said. "I don't think looking back at it we'd say: 'If only we'd done that' or 'if only we'd done this.'"

Broadcast reported that no jobs would be lost over the situation.

Channel 4 chief executive Andy Duncan also stood by the programme, and denied it would harm the channel's campaign to secure new funds from the government.

"Politicians are more than capable of separating the furore about Big Brother from long-term policy decisions," he said.

Duncan has said Channel 4 urgently needs a new form government subsidy to replace the free broadcasting space it was given when it launched, and which has become increasingly redundant as viewers switch to digital.

Media watchdog Ofcom has received more than 40,000 complaints about the alleged racist bullying in the current series of Big Brother.

Duncan said Channel 4 regretted causing offence, but would not apologise for broadcasting the footage or sparking a debate on racism.

The broadcaster, which has faced calls to axe the show completely, was ordered to conduct a review of Big Brother by its board earlier this week.




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