Page last updated at 12:06 GMT, Saturday, 9 August 2008 13:06 UK

BBC sorry after TV data is stolen

Stefan Gates
Gastronauts is due to be presented by Stefan Gates

The BBC has apologised after a memory stick containing the personal details of hundreds of children who had applied to take part in a TV show was stolen.

Around 250 children had asked to be part of Gastronauts, a food programme aimed at eight to 12-year-olds.

It is thought the data pen was stolen from a vehicle belonging to a member of staff at Objective Productions, the independent company making the show.

The BBC said there was "no evidence" the information had been misused.

BBC Children's controller Richard Deverell wrote to parents to explain the circumstances behind the loss.

"I offer you my sincere apologies and my assurances that we are taking all action possible to mitigate the consequences of this regrettable incident," he said.

Deverell also informed parents they could call a free helpline if they had concerns about the lost data - which included names, addresses, dates of birth and phone numbers.

The BBC added it had temporarily suspended new commissions from Objective Productions when the incident was first discovered.

"We are now satisfied security of data is strong enough for production to resume," said a spokesman.

Gastronauts, which is being produced for BBC One, is billed as a factual show which will help children learn about the effect of food on the body.

It is due to be presented by Stefan Gates from BBC Two's Cooking In The Danger Zone - in which the presenter has been seen eating rats, baby seal and radioactive soup in Chernobyl.

Objective Productions other credits include Peep Show, Balls Of Steel and Derren Brown's Trick Or Treat.

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