Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator, has upheld a complaint brought against the BBC by Monica Calvert in relation to the BBC1 investigative programme, “Old Dogs, New Tricks” hosted by Lynn Faulds-Wood and Esther Rantzen. In an important ruling, Ofcom concluded, among other things, that Lynn Faulds Wood’s ‘door-stepping’ of Mrs Calvert was an unwarranted infringement of her privacy. It has ordered the BBC to broadcast a summary of the decision.

Media regulator Ofcom condemns BBC consumer watchdog programme

10 October 2007

The BBC1 investigative programme “Old Dogs, New Tricks”, hosted by Lynn Faulds Wood and Esther Rantzen has been found in violation of Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code.

On 31 August 2006, BBC1 broadcast an episode on home working scams, which included the small business Kallimera, run by Mrs Monica Calvert who supplies ornamental cottage making kits. Ofcom found that the BBC had no evidence of serious customer detriment and, therefore, it was unfair for the BBC to portray Mrs Calvert in the way that they did. In addition, it was decided that Lynn Faulds Wood’s door-stepping of Mrs Calvert at her home, without any prior warning, was an unwarranted infringement of her privacy during the making of the programme.

Mrs Calvert said:

“The tactics used against me by Ms Faulds Wood and the BBC were unjustifiably intrusive and aggressive. I was deeply distressed by Ms Faulds Wood’s conduct and the BBC’s treatment of me in the programme and I am enormously relieved that Ofcom has condemned their practices. I would urge anyone who is the victim of unfair and aggressive media intrusion to fight their corner.”

The BBC will broadcast a summary of Ofcom’s decision following “Rogue Traders”, on BBC 1 at 9:00pm on Wednesday, 17 October 2007. A copy of Ofcom’s decision in this matter can be found here.

Carter-Ruck pursued Mrs Calvert’s complaint to Ofcom on a pro bono basis.

For further information, please contact Cameron Doley at Carter-Ruck on +44 20 7353 5005.

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