Currie's spicy sauce was bait for Cook's confection

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The Independent Online
Debbie Currie's career as a pop singer has been revealed as a hoax designed to expose the alleged rigging of the charts.

The daughter of the colourful former Tory MP, Edwina, entered the national consciousness in a blaze of sleazy stories about her sex life and a salacious picture wearing little more than two fried eggs.

However, she claimed yesterday that although her first single, "You Can Do Magic", has reached number 36 in the charts, her ambitions are as a journalist rather than as a chanteuse.

It emerged that Ms Currie posed as a wannabe star for Carlton TV's The Cook Report to show that record companies are using teams of buyers to boost sales of CDs.

Major music companies flood stores with cheap or free singles and pay shop assistants to swipe through their CDs, registering fictional sales, according to the programme's investigation.

Ms Currie said: "I felt it was very important to show the things that happen in the music industry because it's a huge industry in this country and hundreds of thousands of people are being cheated by it."

Roger Cook said his company had deliberately manufactured Debbie as a pop star and printed 30,000 copies of her single, a remake of the Seventies hit.

The programme, which will be shown in two parts starting next Tuesday, had then sent out a team to "buy back" about 800 copies from some of the 3,000 supposedly secret chart return shops used to compile the weekly top 100, he said.

If true, the programme's claims would confirm rumours that have plagued the music industry for years.

Part of the creation of Ms Currie's image as a pop star involved tabloid revelations about her private life, in which she claimed she lost her virginity at 15 and once enjoyed a four-in-a-bed sex session.

However, Mr Cook denied the publicity had overshadowed a serious investigation.

He said: "As long as the point is still made, I think it doesn't matter. I think Debbie did a terrific job and I don't think of myself as a television personality at all."

Ms Currie, who had been working as a trainee news reporter at Central TV before joining The Cook Report, said she had felt "some bits" of the publicity were humiliating, although she regretted nothing.

"I wasn't surprised by the attention so much because I had to a certain extent grown up with that."

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