Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Saturday, 20 October 2007 16:49 UK

Ant and Dec profits go to charity

Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly
McPartlin and Donnelly are executive producers on the show

TV presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly are to donate the profits from their next series of Saturday Night Takeaway to charity.

Their show was among several on ITV found to be rigging competition phone lines, a report commissioned by channel boss Michael Grade stated this week.

They said they received no financial benefit from phone lines and that their donation was a "goodwill gesture".

They added they were "deeply upset" by the report's findings.

Scotland Yard said on Friday it would consider investigating ITV if media watchdog Ofcom discovered any wrongdoing.

But Mr Grade insisted on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Friday that no evidence of criminal behaviour was found.

ITV SHOWS SINGLED OUT
Soapstar Superstar - Production team put wrong contestants up for eviction and over-rode song choices chosen by viewers
Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway - Contestants supposedly chosen at random were selected on basis of geographical convenience and other factors, including their health and fitness
Ant and Dec's Gameshow Marathon - Winners picked on basis of geographical convenience and whether they would be entertaining on screen, not at random
The X Factor - Some votes cast via red-button voting and SMS text during 2005 final and three episodes of 2006 series arrived too late to be included
Dancing on Ice - Some red-button and text votes received late on one occasion
I'm a Celebrity... - Voting promoted for three and a half minutes on one edition after lines had closed

McPartlin and Donnelly said in statement: "It is important to us that people understand that none of the shows highlighted in the findings of the ITV's independent review were made by our production company, Gallowgate.

"Our roles as executive producers on Saturday Night Takeaway are purely creative ones. We are not involved in running the phone lines, the logistics of the competitions or selecting winners."

They added that they welcomed the report disclosing the rigging, "not least because we can be sure that our viewers have the opportunity to get their money back".

McPartlin and Donnelly apologised for how their viewers and fans were treated, saying "it simply isn't acceptable and we are truly sorry".

They said they had spoken personally with ITV chairman Michael Grade about the review's findings and were "confident" that ITV would not allow the problems to be repeated.

Winners of contests on their show, such as Jiggy Bank and Grab The Ads - supposedly chosen at random - were selected on basis of geographical convenience and other factors, including their health and fitness.

On other occasions, only viewers who lived in a particular part of the country were shortlisted - meaning callers from other areas were wasting their money.

Michael Grade
Michael Grade ordered the audit of ITV's programmes

Ofcom has already launched an investigation into the programmes highlighted by the report.

The audit, carried out by city firm Deloitte, identified "serious" failings within ITV after the company made 7.8m from uncounted votes.

Some 10 million telephone calls were affected by the premium rate errors and more than eight million callers are now eligible for refunds.

Any money not claimed will be donated to charity.




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