Two contestants of the BBC’s National Lottery game show are fuming after being denied a £22,000 prize ($34,063), and have blown the whistle on the broadcasters for trying to dupe viewers with a re-filming of the show.
Friends Helen Griffiths and Rina Evans, who took part in a game show called “Break the Safe” which aired as part of the weekly televised National Lottery draw, told the British press that the ending of the show was secretly changed to reflect a different outcome, denying them a prize they state they would have won had the game been played properly the first time round.
“The episode is a fake,” said 40-year-old Evans. “It’s complete deception for the viewer. It is not something I would ever have expected from the BBC and people need to know the truth.”
The contestants who took part in the show were ordered not to tell anyone of the re-recording, but not surprisingly, Griffiths and Evans were not too happy about the change, so were never likely to keep quiet about the unbeneficial occurrence.
“We had no expectations of winning but what we did expect was fair play,” stated Griffiths, also aged 40. “Instead, they have made it look like this whole thing had been filmed on one day.”
Shortly after their return home from the original filming of the episode, the pair received a phone call from producer Stuart Harrison asking them to fly back to Glasgow, Scotland, from Ammanford in Wales, in order to reshoot the final stages of the general knowledge show, since the producers felt the rules were unfair.
Contestants that made it to the final round were both originally required to hit a buzzer to beat a hidden timer on a safe containing the prize money. However, the makers of the show, upon reflection, came to the conclusion that this was, in fact, impossible, and changed the rules so that only one player needed to strike the buzzer at the right moment.
Initially, the pair had walked away with nothing after losing out in the final round. However, under the new rules of the show, they claim they would have won a prize of £22,000.
The re-filmed ending was then attached to the original recording to make one complete show, with Griffiths and Evans losing out.
Recreating the Original
Adding to the “reality”, Griffiths explained that the contestants were required to even wear the same clothes and have their hair styled in exactly the same way in order to avoid viewers catching onto the trickery. “The whole thing was completely staged,” she added.
“The new rules meant we had won the first time, so we thought they just wanted to re-shoot the final scene to show that,” said primary school teacher Griffiths. “Instead they made us do the final round all over again.”
Griffiths contacted the BBC to express her discontent at the situation, and even requested that the BBC scrap the episode altogether. However, the BBC denied any wrongdoing and stated that the gameshow had complied with all editorial guidelines.
“This is absolutely not a deception of viewers or contestants. It was clear that the initial rule was unfair. We agreed with the producers that a rule change was necessary and that finalists could, if they wished, replay the final game under the new rule,” said a spokeswoman for the BBC.