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Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 19:14 GMT
Cheriegate film angers Foster
Peter Foster
Foster: Wanted to be consulted about the film
Convicted Australian conman Peter Foster is trying to stop the BBC from airing a fly-on-the-wall documentary about him and his girlfriend Carole Caplin.

He claims the programme's producers have gone back on a verbal agreement that he would be consulted before it was broadcast on television.

We even have footage of him in the bath

BBC spokeswoman
Lawyers for Foster say they have sent a letter to the BBC and are considering taking out a High Court injunction to prevent it being shown.

But the BBC dismissed Foster's claims, stressing that he and his girlfriend had consented to the film.

The Conman, His Lover and the Prime Minister's Wife follows the Australian and his partner Ms Caplin during the latter stages of the Cheriegate storm in December.

The row resulted in an unprecedented apology from Mrs Blair for the embarrassment she caused by buying two flats in Bristol with the help of the convicted fraudster.

Consultation?

In the film Ms Caplin - Mrs Blair's personal trainer - claims that Foster was treated like a "terrorist" by UK immigration and it was the "mysterious powers that be" that ensured he was deported from Ireland back to Australia.

The lifestyle guru later claimed that her friend, executive producer Lynn Alleway, "betrayed" her by editing the film to portray Foster in a bad light.

David Janes, Foster's solicitor said: "Mr Foster says a verbal assurance was given by the producers that he would be consulted prior to broadcast and be shown the film in return for giving up his rights of privacy.

Carole Caplin
BBC has written to Foster and Ms Caplin
"That has not happened and we have written a letter to the BBC on Mr Foster's behalf stating that he has a right to be consulted.

"We are awaiting a response from the BBC's legal department and if that is not forthcoming then we will consider the issue of an injunction."

But the BBC dismissed Foster's account, insisting there had been no such verbal agreement existed.

'Happy to be interviewed'

A spokeswoman said: "Both Carole Caplin and Peter Foster fully consented to the making of the film.

"The producers spent 10 days filming with Carole and longer than that with Peter, and they were both perfectly willing.

"Mr Foster gave fully of his time and was happy to be interviewed. We even have footage of him in the bath - he didn't even stop us at the bathroom door.

"He also let one of the producers stay at his flat and travel to Ireland with him to interview him and his mother."

The spokeswoman said Ms Alleway had spoken to Foster about the film only last week.

"She had a very friendly conversation with him at the end of last week and he was absolutely fine. He told her not to worry about it and that there was no need for him to see it."

Overseas interest?

The BBC have sent him a tape, although Foster will not have seen it because of the time it takes to send something to his native Australia, she said.

The BBC said it had reminded Foster and Ms Caplin in a letter that the Corporation retained editorial control over all its output.

The spokesman admitted the BBC was in talks with Australia's Channel 9 and retained the right to seek as wide an audience as possible - a move Foster is said to be unhappy with.

His lawyer stressed: "He was told the film would only be shown in the UK and we understand it is being negotiated for sale to other countries, which is in breach of the agreement."

But David Janes admitted that Foster may have no objections to the film being screened once he has seen the footage.

The Conman, His Lover and the Prime Minister's Wife will be shown on BBC One on Thursday at 2100.


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