Nadine Dorries claims Channel 4 faked reality show by paying actors to play poor people

Culture secretary also admits she shares Netflix password with four other households

Nadine Dorries claims Channel 4 faked reality show by paying actors

Cabinet minister Nadine Dorries has claimed that Channel 4 faked a reality TV show she appeared on by hiring actors to play poverty-stricken people on a housing estate.

The culture secretary appeared on the reality documentary programme Tower Block of Commons in which she briefly lived on an estate in London’s south Acton neighbourhood.

“I discovered later, they were actually actors,” Ms Dorries told a committee of MPs on Thursday, referring to the residents she lived alongside.

“The parents of the boys in that programme actually came here to have lunch with me, and contacted me to tell me, actually, they were in acting school, and that they weren’t really living in a flat, and they weren’t real,” the minister said.

She added: “And even, if you remember, there’s a pharmacist or somebody that I went to see who prepared food – she was also a paid actress as well.”

The claim was made as Ms Dorries was grilled by MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee about plans to privatise the channel.

Asked what she thinks about Channel 4 News, Ms Dorries said she “gets on really well” with presenter Cathy Newman and had been asked on a number of times in the last two weeks.

But in an apparent reference to reports that ex-anchor Jon Snow shouted “F*** the Tories” five years ago, she said: “I have been on Channel 4 News a number of times. It is edgy.

“I am not going to justify a news programme whose anchor went out shouting obscenities about the Conservative Party.”

Ms Dorries added: “So they didn’t do themselves any favours sometimes on the news programme and I think that is probably as much as I want to say about that.”

The culture secretary also admitted that she shares her Netflix password with four other households during her appearance at the committee.

“My mum has access to my account, the kids do. I have Netflix but there are four other people who can use my Netflix account in different parts of the country,” she told MPs.

Laughing, Ms Dorries added: “Am I not supposed to do that?”

Last month, Netflix suffered its first subscriber loss in more than a decade, causing its shares to plunge 25 per cent in extended trading.

Ms Dorries said a potential move by Netflix into advertising, as opposed to subscription alone, would further negatively impact public service broadcasters such as Channel 4.

“I think for people to even try and paint a picture that Netflix is unsuccessful or struggling is probably slightly over-egging the pudding,” said Ms Dorries.

She added: “Netflix has done what many businesses do. It has reached the point of market saturation … and they will probably revise it in a way that will make it much more difficult for public service broadcasters who rely on advertising revenue.”

Ms Dorries also confirmed the review of the BBC’s funding model and the future of the licence fee will begin “considerably before the summer recess”.

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