U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 and Comcast-owned TV production company Love Productions have hit back against the British culture minister’s claims that a 2010 docuseries, “Tower Block of Commons,” was faked.
“Neither Love Productions’ investigation nor Channel 4’s internal inquiries revealed any evidence to support the allegations made about the programme,” the network said in a statement.
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“Tower Block of Commons” was a four-episode docuseries in which British members of Parliament (MPs) were invited to live with residents in some of the most deprived areas of the country. It was made by Love and broadcast on Channel 4.
The allegations of fakery date back to May, when culture minister Nadine Dorries – who was one of five MPs who took part in the docuseries – claimed she had been told some of the participants in the show were actors and their real lives did not reflect what they were portraying to the camera.
“The parents of the boys in that programme actually came here to have lunch with me, and contacted me to tell me, actually, they were in acting school, and that they weren’t really living in a flat, and they weren’t real,” Dorries reportedly told the Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) committee. “And even, if you remember, there’s a pharmacist or somebody that I went to see who prepared food – she was also a paid actress as well.”
Dorries’ claim was rubbished by DCMS committee member Rupa Huq, who also happens to be the MP for the area in which the show was filmed. Huq, who described Dorries’ fakery comments as a “blurted-out afterthought,” suggested the culture secretary may have confused “Tower Block of Commons” with another show.
Regardless, Channel 4 vowed to investigate and today has published its findings, saying it has found no evidence to support Dorries’ claims.
“At the DCMS Committee meeting on 19 May 2022, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nadine Dorries MP alleged that contributors to the 2010 Channel 4 series ‘Tower Block of Commons,’ in which she appeared, were paid actors, in acting school and/or not living in the homes in which they were portrayed in the series as living,” reads Channel 4’s statement.
“Channel 4 takes any allegations of misrepresentation extremely seriously and always rigorously investigates any such claims. In keeping with standard practice Channel 4 asked Love Productions, who produced the programme, to conduct a thorough investigation into the concerns raised. The investigation, overseen by their external lawyers, encompassed contributors who were ordinary members of the public and with whom The Secretary of State had significant interaction. It involved speaking with many of those involved in the making of the series, including contributors and crew, and retrieving and reviewing relevant documentation and footage, including 85 hours of raw footage filmed for the series.”
“Channel 4 then reviewed Love Productions’ findings and undertook its own internal document searches and review,” the statement concludes. “Neither Love Productions’ investigation nor Channel 4’s internal inquiries revealed any evidence to support the allegations made about the programme.”
Love Productions are best known for creating “The Great British Bake-Off” (or “The Great British Baking Show” as it’s called in the U.S.). It is owned by Sky Studios, whose parent company is Comcast.
Variety did not hear back from Dorries’ representatives by press time.
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