'Ground Force' may sue Australian 'copy'

The makers of the BBC1 programme Ground Force yesterday accused an Australian television channel of producing a "carbon copy" of the show.

GMG Endemol is seeking legal advice about Backyard Blitz on Kerry Packer's Nine Network, which it regards as "a blatant rip-off".

A spokesman said: "Their show is exactly the same format as ours and even has a Charlie Dimmock. The only difference is that she is not as good-looking and keeps her bra on."

Anger over the gardening show comes as the Nine Network's main rival, Rupert Murdoch's Seven Network, prepares to start broadcasting a legitimate Australian version of Ground Force next month.

The programme achieves audiences of up to 12 million in the UK.

Peter Van den bussche, head of sales for GMG, said: "This shows a complete disregard by the Nine Network of all existing international format trade practices."

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