Ant And Dec Apologise After Phone-in Findingsby Contributor | 20 October 2007
TV presenters Ant and Dec have promised to donate profits from the next series of Saturday Night Takeaway to charity, after the programme was implicated in the ITV phone-in investigation.
ITV chairman Sir Michael Grade commissioned auditors Deloitte to carry out a review of the network's premium-rate interactive services, after allegations of unfair practices.
The Deloitte audit uncovered "serious editorial issues" with phone-in competitions including instances where phone-lines were left open despite winners having already been selected.
And producers of the 2005 and 2006 series of Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway were culpable in what Sir Michael called "a serious cultural failure within ITV".
In a statement, the award-winning pair said: "It is important to us that people understand that none of the shows highlighted in the findings of the ITV's independent review were made by our production company, Gallowgate, and that there was no financial benefit to us from the phone lines within those shows.
"Our roles as executive producers on Saturday Night Takeaway are purely creative ones."
ITV programmes criticised in the report also included Soapstar Superstar 2007 and Ant and Dec's Gameshow Marathon 2005, while technical problems with interactive voting on The X-Factor were noted.
Sir Michael cancelled all premium rate phone-ins, interactive votes and competitions in March while Deloitte carried out its investigation.
Though phone voting eventually returned to most programmes, quiz channel ITV Play has been abandoned after call volumes declined dramatically.