The BBC was today forced to admit to another phone-in scandal in which £106,000 that should have gone to charity was in fact banked by the corporation.
Viewers who called to take part in fundraising phone-ins but whose calls were made just after the lines had closed, were still charged for the call but a BBC subsidiary hung onto the money.
Sir Michael Lyons, the chairman of the BBC trust, which uncovered the practise, said that this was "a serious failure". He added: "This did not help the BBC or the people we serve."
Sir Michael ordered the corporation to hand over the cash due to the charities with interest resulting in a payment of £123,000, and said that disciplinary action could follow.
The phone calls were handled by a BBC subsidiary called Audiocall, part of the BBC's commercial arm. It organised phone-ins for the majority of the BBC's fundraisers - which include programmes such as Children in Need. It is understood that there were problems with over a dozen programmes.
The BBC also had to admit that it had left out £6,000-worth of phone-in votes in this year's British heat of the Eurovision Song Contest. One of the programme's presenters - Sir Terry Wogan and Fearne Cotton - mistakenly called for votes before the phone lines had opened and while callers were charged, their votes were not counted.
Sir Michael said that the mistake did not affect the results of the competition, which was won by boy-girl band Scooch. However, it is a further embarrassment for a programme which saw Sir Terry mistakenly announce the wrong winner at the end of the show.
The BBC's revelations come just a day after ITV admitted that a comedy award was wrongly presented to Ant and Dec when viewers had voted for Catherine Tate instead. ITV was also fined £5.7million by regulator Ofcom for a string of other phone-in breaches.
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