More shots have been fired in the Saturday night ratings war, with the BBC accusing ITV of ‘blacklisting’ ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ from appearing on their chat shows in an attempt to bolster the ratings of ‘The X Factor’ through denial of exposure.

Celebrities taking part in the dance competition have allegedly been turned down and denied appearances on the likes of ‘Good Morning Britain’, ‘Lorraine’ and ‘Loose Women’ in order to stop them from promoting ‘The X Factor’s rival.

Peter Andre Kristina RihanoffPeter Andre and his 'Strictly' dance partner Kristina Rihanoff

The Press Association states that an anonymous BBC source told them: “It is such a pity that ITV bigwigs are denying their audiences the chance to enjoy catching up with the stars of ‘Strictly’. There is room on TV for both shows and everyone knows that their viewers like watching ‘Strictly’ just as much as ‘The X Factor’, so it is such a shame the bosses feel the need to punish their own audience.”

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In years gone by, ‘Strictly’ contestants and their dance partners have occasionally appeared on chat show sofas to talk about their involvement, but this year the BBC claims that this year the rival network has been giving anybody to do with the show the cold shoulder.

‘The X Factor’ has been criticised since it launched for its twelfth series a fortnight ago, and lost the first round of the ratings war when the two shows went head to head. ‘Strictly’ grabbed an average of 8.7 million viewers and a peak of 9.7 million, while on the same night ‘The X Factor’ averaged 7.5 million with a peak of 9 million.

A spokesman for ITV brushed off the accusations, saying simply: “We consider guests from all shows across channels for our programmes.”

ITV itself recently implied that it was the BBC that was stirring up a deliberate ratings war by scheduling ‘Strictly’ to overlap with the last ten minutes of ‘The X Factor’. Head of the network Peter Fincham said in August: “It feels a bit like, 'Let's try to see if we can clip ‘The X Factor’s wings. It's a game to them and it's business to us. Take a million or two off the audience of ‘The X Factor’ and that turns into income.”

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