BBC defies lottery critics

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BBC GOVERNORS have given their full backing to a controversial new lottery game show, The Big Ticket, writes Paul McCann.

The corporation unveiled details of the show yesterday and insisted that it was "giving information" about scratchcards, not "promoting" them and so was not in breach of its charter. A claim that was immediately dismissed as "a load of cobblers" by Gerald Kaufman, chairman of Parliament's media select committee.

MPs are unhappy that The Big Ticket will require contestants to purchase the new pounds 2 "TV Dreams" scratchcards to win places on the show and that viewers who wish to play at home will also need to buy the cards. There has also been concern that the contestants for the show are chosen by Camelot, the National Lottery operator and that the prize money comes from Camelot - which seems to contravene the BBC's guidelines.

The new show - to be presented by Anthea Turner and Patrick Kielty - is thought to be the most expensive game show ever on British television. The 16-week run is thought to have cost pounds 500,000 an episode and involves celebrities playing action-packed games on behalf of scratchcard winners.

Mr Kaufman wants the show to be banned and the issue will be debated in the Commons tomorrow night.