Children's TV show Blue Peter has come under attack yet again amid allegations of deliberate audience deception.

The BBC1 programme is accused of deceiving viewers into thinking they had the chance of being one of six viewers given the opportunity to interview impressionist Jon Culshaw.

According to reports, a 13-year-old boy who appeared on the programme has said two of the six children appearing on the September 2005 show were from a drama club.

"None of the children were paid, the item in question was not a competition and no prizes were offered or awarded," a BBC spokesperson said.

But BBC children's programmes controller Richard Deverell said the programme would continue to use children from local schools and drama groups.

"It's something which we'll keep on doing because we need articulate, confident children who will contribute something to our shows," he said.

The incident is the latest in a series of negative news stories for Blue Peter. The programme was fined £50,000 by regulator Ofcom for asking a teenage visitor to stand in as a phone-in competition winner.

And in September it emerged that the name of the show's new cat, which should have been Cookie according to those who voted in an online poll, was changed to Socks by The Producers.


09/11/2007 16:01:57