Sponsorship Backlash For Ant and Dec Show

Ant and Dec are facing criticism over the sponsorship of the new series of Red or Black.

It is sponsored by payday loan firm Wonga, which Labour MP Stella Creasy claims amounts to legal loan sharking.

Ms Creasy has launched an online campaign calling for Wonga to be dropped as the show's sponsor.

She said: "They could show some leadership and say this is nothing to do with us and we aren't happy about it.

"I've been running a campaign for the last two-and-a-half years to get the cost of credit capped in the UK."

A spokesman for the duo said: "Ant and Dec are the presenters of Red or Black. As presenters, the sponsorship of the series has nothing to do with them.

"They are not executive producers of Red or Black."

Wonga's website says its loans carry a typical APR of 4,214%, although the lender points out borrowers usually pay the money back in a short period of time - usually a month.

But the firm, whose catchphrase is "straight-talking money", was criticised by the trading watchdog in May for using aggressive and misleading debt collection methods.

An ITV spokeswoman said: "Wonga is a well-known brand and the sponsorship of Red or Black is fully compliant with Ofcom regulations."

This is not the first time the ITV game show has run into controversy.

TV bosses changed the format to give contestants "more control" over whether they win or lose, after the first series of the skill-free show - where success was based on pure luck - ran into trouble over concerns that it glamorised betting.

Officials from the Gambling Commission, which regulates the industry in the UK, met ITV bosses to discuss the show, which offered a £ 1 million prize to contestants who chose between red or black.

ITV said the show will now see contestants "use their judgment and skill to battle it out to win big money prizes".

The first series was also the subject of controversy when it emerged the first jackpot went to a contestant who had been jailed for a violent attack and several other contestants were removed from further shows after investigations into their backgrounds.