Cookery fans were duped into calling fake ‘live’ editions of the BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen on nine different occasions.
On Monday, it was revealed that host James Martin had urged viewers to phone into the ‘live’ February 17 show and put questions to the celebrity chefs. But those dialling the 10p-a-minute hotline were completely unaware that the show had been recorded the week before.
According to Tuesday’s Daily Mirror, Saturday Kitchen had pulled similar stunts eight times prior to this – on shows screened on July 22, August 12 and 26, September 16 and December 2 and 23.
On average, more than 500 viewers telephoned the pre-recorded shows, believing they were live.
The BBC has confirmed that neither it nor production company Cactus TV – makers of Saturday Kitchen – made a profit from the phonelines. All proceeds go to charity.
The BBC announced that it has ordered Cactus TV not to do it again and said, in a statement: “To avoid any future misunderstanding, the BBC has decided Saturday Kitchen will always be live from now on.”
Cactus TV also makes The Richard And Judy Show, which is currently being probed by premium phone line regulator Icstis over the You Say, We Pay phone fiasco.
Icstis said on Monday that it was ‘gathering information’ on Saturday Kitchen to see if a full investigation was required.