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Don't Count on it..; COUNTDOWN STARS ARE FED ANSWERS.

STAR guests on TV's Countdown

get help with their answers, it was revealed yesterday.

Channel 4 bosses admitted experts in the show's control room give words to the celebrities via earpieces.

The revelations came as ITV sparked a furious row last night when it insisted that the BBC's Vanessa show was the only villain in the scandal over fake TV guests.

The Mirror has exposed bogus participants on both channels.

But ITV boss Dianne Nelmes said staff on Vanessa Feltz's show knowingly took part in deception, while the commercial network's Trisha programme had merely been a victim of hoaxers.

ITV rejected an offer from the Beeb to join forces in a bid to stop the TV rot.

The BBC's daytime programming chief Jane Lush approached Nelmes this week about collaborating on how to handle

the escalating problem of TV fraud.

But she was told: "Forget it - you're the ones in trouble, not us."

Nelmes said the Feltz team stands accused of deliberately booking fake guests from agencies and telling them what to say.

Last night Jane Lush said: "It's a shame ITV don't want to share information - it would be in the television industry's interest."

BBC chiefs have suspended five of Vanessa's 28-strong production staff following The Mirror's revelations.

Voice of Mirror - Page 6
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 19, 1999
Words:214
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