The UK’s Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has seemingly lost her latest battle with state-owned broadcaster Channel 4, after she claimed that one its shows included scenes that were faked.

Over a decade ago, long before she held a top job in government, Dorries took part in a show broadcast on Channel 4, Tower Block of Commons, which featured politicians spending time in UK tower blocks and council estates (mostly (state-funded accommodation).

In May 2022, Dorries told a government committee that she had “later discovered that they [the residents] were actually actors.”

She said: “The parents of some of the boys in that programme contacted me and came here to have lunch to tell me that the boys were in acting school. They were not really living in a flat – they were not real. They were actually actors.

“If you remember, there was a pharmacist I went to see who prepared food; she was also a paid actor as well.”

Channel 4 denied the claims at the time, but has since conducted a thorough investigation into the programme made by Love Productions company, which also makes the hit show The Great British Bake Off.

It now says it has found no evidence to support Dorries’ claims. In a statement released on Friday, the broadcaster said it “takes any allegations of misrepresentation extremely seriously and always rigorously investigates any such claims.

“The investigation, overseen by [Love’s] 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.

“Neither Love Productions’ investigation nor Channel 4’s internal inquiries revealed any evidence to support the allegations made about the programme.”

So far, the BBC reports it has received no response from Dorries over the findings.

This disagreement comes as Dorries continues to stick to her plan to sell off the state-owned broadcaster, despite chaos caused in government by prime minister Boris Johnson’s resignation, and also ongoing criticism from across the British television industry about the prospect of such a sale and the damage it would do to the independent production ecosystem in the country.

 

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