Quiz show contestant 'lost on purpose'

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The Independent Online

The BBC has denied that it cancelled an episode of its television quiz show Dog Eat Dog on Saturday because a contestant went against the ethos of the contest and unselfishly gave up a chance to win £10,000.

Rather than ruthlessly picking on each other's weaknesses, Tim Joyce, a fireman from Lincoln, and fellow contestants spent most of the programme being nice to each other. Then, in what a BBC source called an "extremely disappointing" undermining of the "spirit of the programme", Mr Joyce deliberately lost his lead to share his prize with his fellows.

One contestant said: "You would have to be a moron not to realise that the 'top dog' threw the game so that we would all go away with something. The final man – Tim Joyce – made sure the money was split between us by asking the remaining contestants questions he knew they could answer. We had all agreed beforehand that's what we'd do, no matter which of us came out on top."

The seven contestants were believed to have reached a pact during an activity day at a management centre last month before the show was recorded. The gruelling 24-hour session was supposed to expose each contestant's weaknesses to their competitors but, unfortunately for the producers of the programme, they got on rather well and agreed to share the £10,000 prize money. Each of the five winners would hand over £285 to the two losers so that everybody won.

A BBC spokeswoman denied that the show had been replaced by another episode because of the collusion. "It had been provisionally scheduled for this week but it is a regular practice to change the order of shows once they have been recorded. It will be shown in the next couple of weeks. If Mr Joyce has given up his opportunity to win £10,000 that was his choice."

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