Prankster upsets viewers with his particular points

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The Independent Online
The BBC is investigating how a prankster could have placed a hoax message on the Points of View answering machine, outraging dozens of callers to the television show.

Instead of a polite recorded message from the producers of the programme, which is hosted by Anne Robinson (right), inviting them to leave their opinions, viewers phoning yesterday were greeted with a more direct response.

"This is the BBC, and quite frankly we are sick to death of your points of view," said the message. "Our view is that you should keep your thoughts to yourself instead of pestering us and keeping busybody Anne Robinson in a job at the licence-payers' expense."

Jim Wilson, 65, a retired florist, was shocked by the bogus message when he called to complain about the number of repeats screened over Easter.

"I thought it was an April Fool's joke at first - until I realised we were still in March," said Mr Wilson, of north London. "I was so shocked that I called back in case I'd misdialled. But there was this voice again, telling me to keep my thoughts to myself.

"Mind you, it did have a good point about Anne Robinson who, in my view, should be replaced by someone who doesn't come across as so high and mighty."

Ms Robinson, 53, cut her teeth in journalism on the Daily Mail before moving to, among others, the Sunday Times and the Daily Mirror. She has presented Points of View since 1988.

The prankster's message on the answering machine was erased but the joker later replaced it with noises of a cow mooing.

The BBC was last night looking into the possibility that the prankster had hacked into the system and altered the message.

"We're sorry if viewers heard unauthorised hoax messages when ringing Points of View," a spokeswoman said. "We've taken immediate steps to correct the message and we'll be looking into how this could have happened."

She said that it could be possible for a caller to tamper with the recorded message if they knew how to crack the right code.