Anorak News | BBC In TV Phoneline Jam Bust

BBC In TV Phoneline Jam Bust

by | 17th, March 2007

“CBEEBIES cheat,” announces the Mirror.

The BBC’s children’s channel is accused of pre-recording a ‘live’ TV show. As the paper reports, junior Saturday morning TV watchers were invited to dial a 10p phoneline to apply for CBBC’s Jam Buster game.

The chance to five a cannon at moving lumps of mush was intoxicating. Children dialled in, although the Mirror omits to mention how many.

But they didn’t stand a chance. It was not that the cannon was calibrated badly, offering the shooter more chance of hitting their toes than the target. It was that the winners had already been selected.

And not just any winners, but winners from the Stagecoach drama school agency. As the agency’s website says: “The Stagecoach Agency (UK) Ltd represents young performer’s aged between 4 – 19 years currently attending Stagecoach Theatre Arts schools and wishing to be represented by an agent.”

“It was such a shocking betrayal,” says a whistleblower who used to work at Stagecoach.

“The agency children were guaranteed prizes advertised on the show and went up to the London studio on the Friday beforehand. They got in at 9.30am and practised the game, blasting bubbles of splat. They were in another room when the presenter said ‘Who have we got on the phone?’ as if it was all a surprise.’”

There is no little skill in acting surprised on the telly, a talent made no easier by the tension of then being invited to fire gun at a moving lump of splodge. Many nascent and experienced showbiz careers have foundered on less. Was not Noel Edmonds in the TV wilderness for too long? Did the Phantom Flan Flinger ever work again?

A spokesman for the show explains: “Stagecoach fed us children through its drama group but no money changed hands.”

But there were prizes. One would-be Little Orphan Annie girl won an iPod and a robot dog. A boy did the same.

More from the Stagecoach website: “The Agency’s overriding aim is to generate opportunities from multiple entertainment platforms to be able to continue offering Stagecoach students a wide range of opportunities and life experiences.”

Indeed. With the spate of reality TV shows offering the chance for the untrained and the un-pushed to appear on the magic box, the BBC has tapped into a vein of talent.

They who will do whatever the script demands….

Posted: 17th, March 2007 | In: Tabloids Comment (1) | TrackBack | Permalink