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BBC competition scandal

In an ironic twist, following its criticism of the quality of commercial channels, the BBC found itself at the centre of the premium-rate telephone scandal. Here you can see a short video on what viewers think about TV quiz lines and whether their trust in the BBC has been shattered by the revelations.

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In response to the phone scandal the BBC shot back and said it would establish an editorial standards board to oversee its response to the PR disaster over television quizzes after it uncovered six more instances of fake prize winners, writes Nikki Sandison.

The latest fake winners followed its £50,000 Ofcom fine for faking a phone-in on 'Blue Peter'.

The broadcaster admitted that production staff had passed themselves off as viewers or fictitious winners had been invented on the following programmes: ‘Comic Relief’ on BBC One; ‘Tmi’on BBC Two and ‘CBBC; Sport Relief’ on BBC One; ‘Children in Need’ on BBC One Scotland; ‘The Liz Kershaw Show’ on BBC 6 Music; and ‘White Label’ on World Service.

The BBC director-general Mark Thompson responded to the competition breaches by halting all competitions and suspending senior staff. He also addressed all BBC staff at an in-house broadcast telling them that the corporation needed to put its house in order after "unacceptable behaviour" from production staff. Thompson is introducing a mandatory training programme for all 16,500 programme and content staff, called "safeguarding trust" from the autumn.

BBC Radio 2 got round the ban on phone-in competitions by replacing members of the public with BBC employees. The station's mid-morning presenter, Ken Bruce, announced that he was bringing back his daily quiz, Popmaster, after complaints from listeners when it was pulled. Instead of inviting listeners to call in, the quiz went ahead with two of Bruce's colleagues, traffic presenter Lynn Bowles and lunchtime talk show host Jeremy Vine, and no prize on offer.

The BBC editorial standards board will be chaired by Mark Byford, the deputy director-general of the BBC, who will report to Thompson. 

The board will comprise directors of programme and content areas with other directors and senior staff and it will also be attended by an independent director from the BBC executive board, Samir Shah. The board will discuss key editorial standards facing the BBC and develop policy from it, to review the BBC's editorial compliance systems and ensure that the programme of action announced by the director-general is implemented as a matter of priority and in full.

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