A TV quiz show contestant has accepted an apology and substantial damages from the BBC over an allegation that he was involved in a ‘scam’ to deceive viewers.

Solicitor Leigh Petters had brought libel proceedings in London’s High Court over BBC news reports about Five’s Brainteaser in March 2007.

His solicitor, Athalie Matthews, told Mr Justice Eady that Mr Peters
beat three other contestants to get through to the final round which he won, together with prize money, when he appeared on Brainteaser in January 2007.

Five later disclosed that on five occasions, when no member of the public had phoned in, the production company had put up the names of fictional winners and, in one case, a member of the production team went on air pretending to be the winner.

In June 2007, Ofcom fined Five £300,000 for the irregularities on Brainteaser and the show was axed.

But when reported on BBC’s Newsnight the report featured library footage of Brainteaser, showing Mr Petters taking part.

Ms Matthews said: “The juxtaposition of these pictures of the claimant with the reports of the admitted irregularities relating to Brainteaser was defamatory of him in its effect.

“Viewers would have understood that he was in fact involved in the Brainteaser scam.”

The BBC apologised for including the footage in a way that did not make this clear, and for the distress caused. It had agreed to pay Mr Petters substantial damages and his costs.