BBC inflates Top of the Pops figures

Staff asked to make up the numbers in studio audiences

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Staff at the BBC have been asked to form studio audiences for shows such as Top of the Pops after they were found to be breaking the rules by filming shows at Television Centre.

The BBC is in the process of obtaining a premises licence to cover the West Complex after being informed by Hammersmith and Fulham Council that the television studios need to be licensed if the public is admitted to events featuring live music.

The situation came to light after Red Hot Chili Peppers played in the forecourt of Television Centre, as part of a recording for Top of the Pops.

A BBC statement said most programme production at the Shepherd's Bush complex would continue as usual. "The majority of BBC programmes will be entirely unaffected but we may need to make some changes to a few studio shows involving audiences," it said.

Staff members are being asked to make up the studio audience for shows such as Top of the Pops and Strictly Dance Fever until the situation is resolved.
"We're asking for your help, and also hoping we can offer you some fun at the same time," director general Mark Thompson told staff in an e-mail.

May 24, 2006