Letter: Offers the consumer shouldn't refuse

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The Independent Online
Sir: Frank Barrett's comments about BBC TV's Watchdog programme not tackling significant issues and concentrating on 'small-time operators' are simply untrue, as anyone who actually watches the programme knows.

Watchdog regularly investigates wider social issues. Among the hundred or so reports broadcast since last September, we have exposed the new limits on legal aid; the rights of those wrongly accused of shoplifting; the plight of ex-council- flat tenants under the right-to-buy scheme; the loopholes that allow company directors with failed businesses to change the name and do the same; the potential dangers of Britain's pounds 850m-a- year slimming industry; the inadequacies of the driving test to weed out lethal learners . . . It's a much longer list but I'll stop there.

Of course, we also look at traditional consumer issues, ones presumably that do not affect Mr Barrett and his family, but do preoccupy the 5,000 people who write to or phone the programme every week. Their problems are not 'burnt out'. I wish they were. And if it takes 'good television' to campaign about them (we try not to make bad television]), we're certainly guilty and unrepentant.

Yours faithfully,


Editor, Watchdog

BBC Television

London, W12

1 April