BBC children’s show Blue Peter is to apologise after becoming the latest programme to be drawn into the TV phone-in scandal.

Viewers were invited to call a premium rate competition line during a live programme to win a toy.

But due to a ‘technical failure’, a telephone caller was not selected. Instead a member of staff asked a child who was visiting the studio to phone in and give their answer. That child was then awarded the prize.

The BBC was alerted following a complaint by a member of the public.

Blue Peter is to broadcast an apology on today’s show. BBC children’s controller Richard Deverell called it a ‘serious error of judgment’.

The BBC did not make a profit from the 10p calls – 3.25p from each call went to Unicef.

As a consequence of the Blue Peter incident, the BBC has set up a review of the process for conducting live competitions on Children’s BBC (CBBC) and ordered ‘intensive staff training’ on the issues involved.

Jana Bennett, director of BBC Vision, also announced a senior level independent review of the circumstances surrounding the competition.

“Blue Peter enjoys the highest reputation for its relationship of trust and respect for the audience. It is disappointing, therefore, that there has been a serious breach of editorial standards on a live edition of the programme,” she said.

“I believe the action that is being taken by BBC Children’s will help to reassure children and parents that we take this matter very seriously indeed.”