BBC offers refund for Strictly Come Dancing voters

The BBC has caved in to demands to refund viewers who voted in last weekend’s Strictly Come Dancing show after a flawed scoring model meant all three contestants went through to next Saturday’s final. The u-turn comes after the broadcaster received thousands of complaints.

The issue arose when two of the celebrities, singer Rachel Stevens and presenter Lisa Snowdon, were awarded the same score by the judges. This meant that no matter how much public support actor Tom Chambers received he could not be saved from the “dance-off”.

The broadcaster received 1,687 emails and 193 calls of complaint, with further complaints made to media regulator Ofcom. Initially, the BBC refused to sanction refunds, saying that the votes would be rolled over to the final.

An Ofcom spokesman says it is assessing the complaints against its broadcasting code to ensure the audience had not been misled. A statement from the BBC says it worked with an independent adjudicator to decide the fairest way forward.

The furore comes a year after the broadcasting industry was stung by a raft of allegations surrounding premium rate phone voting. The BBC was brought into account over a “rigged” Blue Peter competition while ITV, Channel 4 and Five were also fined for abuses in a number of their top-rating shows and quizzes.

In February, regulators Ofcom and PhonepayPlus unveiled tougher measures to strengthen viewer and consumer protection in participation TV programmes following the industry-wide scandal.

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