Anger as Mellor film footage cut

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The Independent Online
Carlton Television yesterday agreed to a request from the Conservative MP and former minister, David Mellor, to cut footage of his home from a programme on consultancies.

The chief executive of the television company says the footage of Mr Mellor, which was to have been used in a networked documentary shown last night, did not infringe industry guidelines protecting invasions of privacy.

Last night, the production company which made the Carlton documentary, 20/20, was so incensed that it refused to allow its logo to be shown at the end of the programme.

The Big Story set out to contrast politicians who have multiple consultancies with poor wage earners who had to moonlight in second jobs. Mr Mellor, who has more declared consultancies - 10 - than any other MP, and supplements his MP's salary with various newspaper columns and radio shows, declined to be interviewed, saying he was too busy.

A television crew was sent to 'doorstep' his Putney home. A camera crew was told by Mr Mellor's wife, Judith, that he had already left for work. Later they filmed Mr Mellor leaving. .

Mr Mellor telephoned Paul Jackson, managing director of Carlton, who agreed not to use the footage. Mr Jackson then left colleagues to arrange the changes with 20/20.

In a memo sent to Mr Mellor yesterday, Andy Allan, chief executive of Carlton, hinted that he had not agreed with the decision. It said: 'The assurance given to you by Paul Jackson . . . will be honoured. I shared Marion Bowman's (deputy editor of Carlton) view that The Big Story did nothing which has breached Independent Television Commission guidelines, and the extra footage did not depict you or your wife as shifty or evasive.

Nevertheless a promise by Paul Jackson is a promise.'

Mr Mellor told the Independent in a statement last night: 'A television crew from The Big Story rang our doorbell before 7.30am. They had not made an appointment, nor do I think they seriously wanted an interview. It subsequently transpired they had nothing of substance to put to me. They just wanted some footage of being turned away, over which to run a tendentious commentary.'

Carlton said last night that the changes had not altered the thrust of the programme.