C4 admits inaccuracies over Royal Mail documentary

LONDON – Royal Mail has dropped its official complaint about an investigative documentary screened by Channel 4 in April, after the broadcaster admitted the programme and its promotion contained inaccuracies concerning mail theft.

'Third Class Post', in the broadcaster's 'Dispatches' series, drew on filming by two undercover reporters working as casual labour for Royal Mail. One reporter filmed another casual worker, who claimed that he had stolen a credit card from Royal Mail's distribution chain.

In a joint statement issued by Channel 4, Hardcash Productions and Royal Mail, it was admitted that this claim was false. Channel 4 accepted that, following evidence supplied after broadcast by Barclaycard, that the credit card had not in fact been taken from the post as the worker had claimed, but had been fraudulently obtained and was being fenced by a temporary postal worker away from the premises.

Royal Mail also objected to newspaper advertisements for the programme that depicted an envelope containing a birthday card being opened and money taken from it by a Royal Mail worker. Channel 4 has now acknowledged that the photograph was a mock-up posed by an actor, and that during six months of undercover filming, no such acts were filmed.

According to Royal Mail, the undercover filming "took place at a time of massive change in the postal service".

The company said: "The number of temporary employees within the company was higher than normal. It has now been reduced from a high of 22,000 people to around 4,000 people.

"Royal Mail has now gained the right to vet new recruits for criminal records. This is an important step in making the postal service more secure, which the company had secured before the 'Dispatches' film, but which had not at that stage been made public."

If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.

Become a member of Campaign from just £77 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk , plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an alert now

Partner content