C4 axes premium-rate phone-ins

Richard & Judy

Channel 4 is dropping all premium rate phone-in competition’s except Deal or No Deal after an investigation into Richard & Judy’s You Say We Pay quiz. It will donate profits from Deal Or No Deal to charity from August 13, when the show returns for its next series.

The inquiry, which was launched in February, has confirmed that “problems with the competition date back to September 2004” although it says there is no evidence that any members of staff at Channel 4 were involved.

The investigation followed allegations that viewers were encouraged to continue calling a premium rate telephone service (PRTS) to enter the competition after potential winnings has been chosen.

It has now axed phone-ins from a number of shows including the Paul O’Grady Show, due to return on September 17, although it will continue to use phone voting for Big Brother. It says it will charge viewers “sufficient cost to cover the cost of the call and any charitable donation”.

It has also extended its refund to You Say We Pay callers back to September 2004, when the problems began. It says that about £2.2m revenue was generated from “improperly entered calls” and that any money left after the refund, administrative and prizes have been deducted will be donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

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