C4 is to refund callers to Richard and Judy’s You Say, We Pay competition if it’s found they have been cheated out of their cash, the broadcaster announced on Monday.

They’ll get their money back if an investigation concludes they were encouraged to enter the competition without any prospect of winning.

Presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan apologised on Monday’s show and say they are ‘very shocked and also angry’ about the allegations, which came to light in a Sunday newspaper.

The phone-in competition has been suspended.

An average of 15,000 viewers per day are said to call the £1 a time premium rate number.

An email leaked to the Mail on Sunday alleged potential winners were selected in the first few minutes of the show, but callers were still encouraged to phone in.

In Monday’s programme, Judy said: “Before we go on, many of you will have read over the weekend and today that some problems have come to light with the You Say, We Pay competition. It seems some callers have not been properly entered into the competition.

“Richard and I knew nothing about this until late on Friday afternoon – we were very shocked and also angry on your behalf. We’re very sorry.”

Richard will add: “A full investigation has been launched to find out exactly what’s happened, and we won’t be running You Say, We Pay for the time being.

“Once we know the full extent of the problem, we’ll be making arrangements for any viewers affected to get their money back.”

There is no evidence to suggest the couple had any previous knowledge of the alleged problem.