ITV has dropped its threat of legal action over a Channel 4 documentary alleging that Coronation Street stars promoted fake products in exchange for free gifts.
The Dispatches film – “Celebs, Brands and Fake Fans’ – was broadcast on Monday despite ITV’s threat to sue.
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ITV has dropped the threat after claiming that Channel 4 had not broadcast some of the more serious allegations, but Channel 4 said that it made no significant editorial changes were made before airing the film.
Channel 4 added that it had not intended specifically to target ITV or any of its stars.
A spokesman said: “We firmly stand by our journalism. It is worth noting that our investigation did not set out to target any specific celebrity or broadcaster. As ever, we followed the journalistic trail. Standard right to reply procedures were followed but no substantial editorial changes were made to the structure of the programme.”
It is understood that ITV had not seen the film before it was broadcast, with the threat to sue being made on the back of the allegations being put to it by Channel 4.
Channel 4 maintained that any minor changes made to the programme were not based on the threat of legal action but on the responses given to the allegations.
A spokesman for ITV said: “We took legal steps which resulted in Dispatches making changes to its final programme – a number of the most serious and defamatory allegations against those featured were not broadcast. If any Coronation Street viewers happened to be watching the last part of this hour long special they would have seen it for what it was – a stunt."
The film showed Coronation Street actors taking part in a “gifting event” at which they were offered a range of products from a fake brand called Puttana Aziendale, which translates from Italian as “corporate whore”.
Some of the stars of the soap later mentioned the products on Twitter, although ITV said they were only responding to tweets sent to them.