Ant and Dec Let Off The Hook

After Serious Fraud Office decides not to investigate phone in scandals

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The Serious Fraud Office has decided not to investigate a number of TV phone in programmes and competitions including Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. The announcement comes after “full and careful consideration” by the SFO who found that none of the cases put before them met their criterion for investigation.

Earlier this year, ITV, who broadcast 'Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway', 'Ant & Dec's Gameshow Marathon' and 'Soapstar Superstar', was fined £5.7m by Ofcom. The watchdog discovered that viewers were paying to enter competitions on certain programmes but their entries were not counted.

It was also revealed that 'Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway' was wrongly declared the People's Choice at the British Comedy Awards when viewers had in fact voted for 'The Catherine Tate Show'. The votes were said to be rigged to secure Robbie Williams as a presenter at the 2005 ceremony. Ant & Dec returned the award saying they were ‘appalled’.

The BBC also avoided investigation over £100,000 meant for charity. The money was generated by viewers of 'Eurovision: Making Your Mind Up 2007' who paid 25p per call to vote after phone lines had closed. The BBC subsequently paid the money to the charities.

October 9, 2008