Brainteaser

Brainteaser

Five today issued the following statement following Ofcom’s adjudication on the channel’s daytime quiz series Brainteaser.

Five’s Chief Executive, Jane Lighting, said: “Five has always accepted that breaches occurred with regard to Brainteaser. However, we are disappointed with the very high level of the financial penalty imposed, especially as we believe Five took all reasonable and appropriate steps to ensure the programme complied with the Ofcom Code.

“We welcome Ofcom’s acknowledgment that: Five acted in good faith at all times; did not intend to deceive the audience and took comprehensive steps to remedy harm and that it was not Five’s intention to cause financial harm to viewers nor procure greater financial gain.

“It was Five who notified Ofcom of these issues and we have co-operated fully with the regulator since. We have also conducted our own review, as the relationship of trust between a broadcaster and its audience is absolutely paramount to us.

“Five notes the acknowledgement by Endemol, the makers of Brainteaser, that it made mistakes and fundamental errors of judgement on the occasions highlighted.”

Five has also confirmed that Brainteaser, which the broadcaster took off air in March, when these issues came to light, will not be returning to the channel’s schedules.

Five has been working with Endemol to ensure that winners are found for the affected competitions and will donate all profits from these competitions to a cancer charity.

More than 1,100 episodes of Brainteaser were transmitted on Five between August 2002 and March 2007.

Five has suspended all its programming involving premium rate telephone services after Endemol UK informed the channel of issues with its daily quiz show Brainteaser, it was announced today (THURS).

As well as Brainteaser, produced by an Endemol UK subsidiary, the suspension will affect Quiz Call on Five and Five US and competitions in and around programming.

Five’s Chief Executive, Jane Lighting, said: “We are shocked and disappointed and wish to apologise unreservedly to our viewers. The production company involved has failed to meet the high standards we demand of our suppliers.

”We have decided to suspend any output which involves any premium rate services and to appoint an external auditor, though we have found no evidence of any issues involving any programmes other than Brainteaser.”

Responding to recent public concerns Five has been reviewing its premium rate services to ensure producers comply with the law and ICSTIS and Ofcom codes.

As part of this on-going review Five wrote to all its production companies and suppliers reminding them of their legal and regulatory obligations in this area.

Following this communication Five was contacted yesterday (WEDNESDAY) evening by Cheetah Television, a production subsidiary of Endemol UK and maker of Five’s afternoon quiz series Brainteaser, who raised an issue regarding this programme.

Endemol UK then confirmed to Five that irregularities had been found regarding the newly introduced, “Quickfire” element of the quiz where viewers are given a set time, approximately five minutes, to solve a word jumble puzzle.

Endemol UK outlined five separate incidents, dating from January until Tuesday this week. When the five minute window and the phone lines had closed, Cheetah Television, working through a list of callers supplied by the phone service provider, were unable to find a caller with the correct answer before the winner was due to be announced on air.

Instead of informing viewers that no winning caller had been found in the time period available the production company put fictional names on screen as “winners” and on one occasion a member of the production team went on air as a “winning” contestant.

Five is currently ascertaining how many callers have been affected on these five separate occasions and will be giving them a full refund of the cost of the call.

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