Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan publicly apologised live on their C4 show on Monday night to viewers who had felt conned by the You Say, We Pay phone quiz.

The TV couple, who unwittingly urged punters to call the £1 premium rate number AFTER the players had been chosen, promised refunds over the fiasco.

Both Richard and Judy have maintained since the start of the row that they knew nothing of the ‘con’.

Judy told viewers: “Richard and I knew absolutely nothing about this. We were very shocked and also angry on your behalf. We’re very sorry.”

And Richard said: “Yes, a huge sorry. We promise we will sort it out ASAP.”

He added: “A full investigation has been launched 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.”

According to reports in the Mirror, leaked emails revealed that in the week of February 5, more than 32,000 people were tricked into believing that they were in with a chance of competing for the cash prize.

Cactus TV, the production company behind The Richard & Judy Show, admitted that viewers has been ripped off and blamed phone provider Eckoh.

A spokesperson for C4 confirmed: “If it’s been found that viewers have been encouraged to enter the competition after the cut-off point has passed for selecting a potential winner, then the channel will offer a full refund.”