Says Channel 4's Tower Block of Commons used actors
Nadine Dorries with inset of Acton tower blocks used during filming
Ealing Central and Acton MP Rupa Huq has called on Nadine Dorries to “set the record straight” after the production company behind an Acton-set reality TV show Dorries starred in denied her claims that she appeared alongside paid actors.
The Culture Secretary – who has unveiled plans to privatise Channel 4 – told Huq during a session of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that she had discovered that actors were hired to play poverty-stricken people on the South Acton housing estate.
But Channel 4 said that it had received no previous allegations relating to the contributors to the show, Tower Block of Commons, which was produced by Love Productions and broadcast in 2010.
Now a spokesperson of Love Productions has told Dr Huq that it “does not use actors to impersonate contributors in any of its documentary or constructed factual series.”
The documentary show featured four MPs, including Ms Dorries, spending time living on deprived housing estates around Britain
The spokesperson added, “Nadine Dorries took part in the making of Tower Block of Commons for Channel 4 alongside other genuine contributors, and we are confident that her claims are unfounded.
“Nevertheless, we take the allegations seriously and will investigate thoroughly. We also await Nadine Dorries’s reply to Channel 4’s request for evidence to back up her comments.”
The issue emerged after the local MP raised Dorries’s appearance on Tower Block of Commons during a session of the Commons Culture Committee on Thursday, which she described as “jolly good viewing.”
To the surprise of the local MP, Dorries claimed the residents of the Acton estate in the programme were “actually actors.”
“The parents of the boys in that programme actually came here to have lunch with me,” Dorries added, “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.
“There’s a pharmacist or somebody that I went to see who prepared food – she was also a paid actress as well.”
Rupa Huq has now called on the Culture Secretary to respond to Love Productions and Channel 4’s statements immediately and provide evidence that actors were used during filming.
She told us, “Dorries’s serious allegation has the potential to cause significant reputational damage to Channel 4 and Love Productions. She therefore needs to set the record straight and provide substantive evidence to back up her claims.
“If the Secretary of State is found to have misled the committee, she must correct this in Parliament as soon as possible.
“I was shocked to hear the claim that one of my favourite reality shows ever had been fabricated, and I hope Nadine Dorries has not inaccurately described some of my constituents on the South Acton estate as being actors.”
Channel 4 has said it is ready to investigate any evidence which Ms Dorries is able to provide.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the channel said, "This is the first suggestion we have heard that viewers were misled about contributors on Tower Block of Commons.
“We will be contacting the secretary of state to seek further details so that we can investigate it thoroughly."
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May 22, 2022