The production company behind the Channel 4 documentary show Tower Block Of Commons has said Nadine Dorries’ claim that the program used paid actors was “baseless”.
Appearing before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Thursday, the Culture Secretary accused the 2010 reality show, in which she appeared as one of the MPs who went to live in disadvantaged communities, for allegedly hiring actors to play real people.
Ms Dorries was asked during the committee session about the government’s decision to sell Channel 4 after recently announcing plans to pursue its privatisation.
In the reality show, Ms Dorries was sent to live briefly in the South Acton estate, west London, to see how the other half lives.
She told the committee on Thursday that after appearing on the Channel 4 show she “later found out that they were actually actors”.
Ms Dorries added: ‘The parents of the boys in this program actually came here to have lunch with me and contacted me to say, in fact, that they were in drama school and they were not living not really in an apartment, and they weren’t it’s not real, they were actually actors.
“And there’s a pharmacist or someone I went to see who was preparing food, she was also a paid actress.”
Love Productions, the production company behind the programme, said it believed its claims were “baseless” but was taking “the allegations seriously” and would “investigate thoroughly”.
A spokesperson for the company, which also creates The Great British Bake Off, said: “Love Productions does not use actors to impersonate contributors in any of its constructed documentary or factual series.
“Nadine Dorries was involved in the creation of Tower Block Of Commons for Channel 4 alongside other genuine contributors, and we are satisfied that her claims are unfounded.
“Nevertheless, we take the allegations seriously and will investigate thoroughly.
“We are also awaiting Nadine Dorries’ response to Channel 4’s request for evidence to back up her claims.”
Channel 4 has been publicly owned since its creation in 1982 by the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher, and is entirely funded by advertising.
Ms Dorries told the committee she “does not see a scenario” in which a private Channel 4 would become partly or entirely subscription-based.
She said: “As a public service broadcaster it’s not on the table, it’s just not on the cards at all. I don’t see a scenario in which this would happen.