December 16, 2008 / 11:42 AM / 10 years ago

BBC will offer "Strictly Come Dancing" refund

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The BBC said on Tuesday it will offer a refund to viewers unhappy about confusion surrounding the public vote for Saturday’s “Strictly Come Dancing” television show.

More than 1,500 people have complained after producers took the decision to put all three remaining contestants through to next week’s final on the dance contest show, which pairs celebrities with professional dancers judged by a panel.

Viewers can pay to phone in a vote for a contestant and the public vote has rescued losers from being booted off.

The four judges on the popular program had awarded the same points to Rachel Stevens and Lisa Snowdon, meaning the other semi-finalist Tom Chambers could not be saved from a dance-off whatever the outcome of a public vote.

The corporation initially said it would not offer a refund and said the millions of votes cast would be carried over to the final on Saturday.

But BBC head of entertainment production Jon Beazley told the spin-off show “It Takes Two” that the corporation had now decided to offer viewers their cash back.

“What’s also important to say as well is that if somebody is really unhappy about that and they feel very strongly that they want to have a refund from their voting last Saturday, then we will refund that call cost,” he said.

On Monday, the corporation said the show’s producers were examining how they could avoid the situation happening again.

The voting confusion follows the controversy caused when former BBC political correspondent John Sergeant quit the show last month.

Sergeant’s often inelegant dance steps earned him the derision of the judges but his sense of fun won him mass public popularity who voted to keep him on the show.

His decision to leave, amid mounting criticism from some of the ousted contestants, led to howls of protests from many of the program’s fans.

Reporting by Michael Holden, editing by Kate Kelland and Paul Casciato

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