June 6, 2000 10:18
BRIBERY SCANDAL HITS UK CLUB SHOW
[b]Club@vision[/b] is taken off the air and now angry club promoters and DJs are set to sue the show's producers...
According to a front page report in Saturday's edition of UK tabloid The Daily Mirror, LWT bosses acted immediately after allegations of bribery were made to the Independent Television Commission (ITC), the body that regulates the conduct of independent TV companies in Britain.
The Mirror yesterday (June 5) reported additionally that angry club promoters and DJs are set to sue the show's producers for money they handed over in good faith. The paper cites club owners, managers and DJs from Wolverhampton's Mezzanine, the Brunel Rooms in Swindon andThe Rooms in Hull who are ready to take legal action to recover their money. The paper quotes Swindon promoter Tony Turbo as saying: "These people were on a double-earner, once from us then again from ITV. But now everyone knows we should never have paid, a lot want the cash back."
According to the paper's allegations, Club@Vision's producers asked each club for a fee of around #2,000, in addition to charging hotel bills back to the clubs, in return for coverage in the show's late Friday/early Saturday slot. The club promoters insist that they believed this was normal practice, and didn't realise the money they were handing over allegedly constituted a bribe.
An LWT spokesperson told nme.com the company had acted immediately to halt broadcasts of the programme when they were contacted in writing by the ITC on May 26. The edition of Club@Vision scheduled for that night was not broadcast, and LWT are presently conducting an investigation into "a possible breach" of the ITC code governing sponsorship of programmes by Club@Vision's producers, independent company Prolific Pictures. LWT hopes to present the results of its investigation to the ITC by the end of the month.
The ITC will not reveal the identity of the complainant, but their spokesperson confirmed that they had been contacted with a complaint regarding clubs paying for coverage on the show. "We have a duty as regulator to ensure that there is a distinct line between programme content and commercial messages," the ITC's Helena Hird said.
The ITC's regulations expressly forbid any type of payment in return for coverage. The scandal over Club@Vision follows allegations in recent months of documentary shows "faking" evidence and of guests on chat shows being actors rather than members of the public, as claimed by the shows.