BBC U-turn: Strictly vote refunds available

Strictly Come Dancing voters will be offered refunds after the BBC received thousands of complaints when two couples tied, the broadcaster announced.

Angry viewers bombarded the BBC with emails and calls after all three couples were allowed through to next weekend’s final.

The furore was sparked when singer Rachel Stevens and presenter Lisa Snowdon were awarded exactly the same score by the judges. This meant that no matter how much public support he received, Holby City actor Tom Chambers could not be saved from the ‘dance-off’.

Viewers sent 1,687 emails and made 193 calls of complaint at the decision to let all the couples stay.

A statement from the BBC said it worked with an independent adjudicator to decide the fairest way to tackle the controversy. The contestants’ scores will be carried over to next week, and will be disclosed on a leaderboard at the beginning of next Saturday’s show.

This is the first time voting figures for the couples have been made public, the BBC said. Once one pair is eliminated, the two remaining couples will start from scratch for Saturday’s final.

A spokesman added: “We have worked in consultation with the production team, the remaining contestants and an independent adjudicator to determine the fairest outcome. During this process, fairness to the viewers who voted and the contestants themselves has been the guiding principle.

“The BBC recognises that this has been an unprecedented situation and would like to thank viewers and the contestants for their understanding. We will be offering refunds to anyone unhappy about their votes in the semi-final who would like to be reimbursed for their calls. Details for how they can do this will be available on the Strictly Come Dancing website from Tuesday and on the usual BBC audience service numbers.”

Watchdog Ofcom has also received complaints about the matter, which a spokesman said it would assess against the Broadcasting Code to ensure the audience was not misled.

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