Archive for December, 2009

BBC dis-Reef-spects daytime viewers

December 1, 2009


The BBC Trust has ruled against production company Reef Television after “serious and repeated” breaches of editorial guidelines during several recent daytime programmes.

Shows such as “Sun, Sea And Bargain Spotting” and “Trash For Cash” were found to include faked scenes and numerous other deliberate attempts to mislead the viewing public.

Suspicions were initially raised after one scene from a recent episode of “Trash For Cash” appeared to show an antiques dealer happily paying £5 for a potato found at the back of a contestant’s kitchen cupboard. It was later discovered that this had been staged, and that the £5 note was handed to the merchant by one of the crew before filming began.

Another episode of the show from February showed footage of a contestant’s vase appearing to fetch £420 at an auction in Yarm. It was later discovered that the entire auction had been staged and that all participants – including the contestants – were actors, and that the scene had been recorded as a replacement for the original auction. This was due to the production team missing the original auction after becoming lost on the journey there.

Further investigation by the Trust revealed that the programme “Sun, Sea And Bargain Spotting” was also involved, containing several instances of production staff rigging purchases, which in some cases affected the overall result of the show. An episode of the show from September last year appeared to show a dealer paying £500 for a piece of Victorian tree bark to the astonishment of one of the contestants. Upon closer inspection it was found that the “shop” had been created inside a Luton van and that the “owner” was actually a scarecrow stolen from a nearby field.

The Trust found that the most serious breach occurred in another episode of the programme, in which two contestants appeared to buy a 14th century pocket watch for £15 from a market stall in Shepton Mallet. Unfortunately, the inquiry later found that timepieces weren’t invented until the 16th century, and that the contestants had been replaced with mannequins. Their voices had been dubbed over the entire section and the stallholder was later found upon closer inspection to have been a football with a face drawn on the front sat on top of a beanbag with cardboard tubes fashioned into “limbs”. The “stall” was revealed to be nothing more than an abandoned shopping trolley with a flattened box stuck to the top with sellotape, and the entire piece was actually filmed in a Swindon warehouse against a background picture of a field.

The BBC have currently suspended all projects involving Reef Television and are expected to broadcast a pre-recorded apology voiced by an actor later this week.