ITV has been accused of employing dirty tactics in order to win the Best Serial Drama gong for 'Coronation Street' at the National Television Awards.
Bosses at the BBC have reportedly questioned the tactic of rescheduling Corrie, moving it into 'Emmerdale's slot at 7pm, so that viewers saw it moments before the awards ceremony coverage started.
It's thought that the tactic, coupled with voting for Best Serial Drama being kept open for the duration of the ceremony, gained crucial extra public votes for the long-running soap, meaning it beat 'EastEnders' to the prize.
A BBC insider told the Daily Mirror that 'it seems ITV will stop at nothing to win NTAs. The stars tweet reminding people to vote – then they put a big Corrie episode on moments before the show starts'.
“It is such an obvious tactic and not the first time they have played unfairly when it comes to the NTAs,” the source added.
[Related story: Coronation Street actress loses battle with cancer]
The 2010 awards saw a six-minute tribute to Corrie to celebrate its 50th anniversary during the ceremony,which saw another win for the show.
Another TV boss from a rival channel told the paper that 'I don’t bother going to the NTAs anymore, it’s an ITV thing. They invent new categories so they can win more awards'.
But an ITV source has refuted the accusations, saying 'these claims of a fix are just sour grapes. The best soap won and our ratings are better than EastEnders too, averaging 9.2 million'. [Daily Mirror]
Also in today's press
A lawsuit is being brought against 'American Idol', with nine former contestants claiming they were forced off the show for racially motivated reasons. Lawyer James H. Freeman claims that the show is in violation of employment law in asking contestants about their arrest history, and that the show used private investigators to obtain arrest records in order to humiliate black contestants and 'perpetuate destructive stereotypes'. Producer Nigel Lythgoe said: “We treat everybody the same ... no matter the race, religion or sex.” [TMZ]
'Doctor Who' is to return at Easter. The new series will start on March 30 on BBC1 for an eight-episode run. Tamzin Outhwaite and Warrick Davies are among the stars set to appear alongside Matt Smith and new assistant Jenna-Louise Coleman. [Metro]
Shane Richie is host a new gameshow on BBC1. 'Reflex' will see family teams taking part in physical games based on speed and reaction. Winners could take home up to ￡20,000. [Digital Spy]
Watch a round-up of what's happening in this week's soaps