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New TV probe on phone-ins.

PHONE watchdogs yesterday launched a major probe into premium-rate TV phone-ins.

The Ofcom move came after a series of high-profile problems with telly vote lines and phone-in competitions.

Ofcom said they had "serious concerns" broadcasters had broken consumer protection rules.

Premium-rate watchdogs ICSTIS have already launched a probe.

Ofcom will be looking at broadcasters, TV producers and phone line operators.

Any broadcasters who have broken the rules could be fined up to five per cent of their revenue, possibly tens of millions.

Dancing On Ice this week became the latest programme to get caught up in the storm.

Vodafone revealed that 11,500 text votes were not counted during the final on Saturday night.

Five suspended all their phone-ins after admitting some competition winners on the show Brainteaser were faked.

And the BBC admitted a child was roped in to pretend to be a competition winner on Blue Peter.

The scandal erupted when Channel 4 admitted viewers were urged to call Richard and Judy after competition lines had closed.

Other shows involved include Saturday Kitchen, The X Factor, Ant And Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, Soapstar Superstar and I'm A Celebrity.


CONTEST: Richard Madeley
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 23, 2007
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