BBC cleared in wedding-snaps row

By Simon Rocker, May 2, 2008

Ofcom, the broadcasting watchdog, has rejected a complaint of unfairness made against the BBC by a pair of Salford wedding photographers. Hilary and Gary Segal had protested about stories featuring dissatisfied customers on the local news programme North West Tonight shown on April 3 and 11 last year. A number of brides had complained that they had not received the album of wedding photographs they had ordered from the Segals, owners of the Segal Studio and Memories in the Making. Some of the clients had received only prints and negatives, while others had got nothing at all. Amanda Hatton, one interviewee, told the BBC: “It’s cost the family in total around £1,000 and we don’t have anything to show for it, apart from a lot of bad memories.” The Segals lodged complaints with Ofcom on various grounds, including that the allegations were untrue and they had not been given appropriate time to respond. According to Ofcom, they “informed the programme makers that it was Passover from April 2 to 10 and that, as they were Jewish and this was an important festival, it was difficult for them to respond in the timescale provided”. But this week, Ofcom said that the couple had not been unfairly treated. “The information provided by Mr and Mrs Segal to the BBC did not provide evidence that the clients had received their albums or other pictures as ordered, despite the programme makers asking for such a number of times. Nor did the information provided give any reasons for this.” It also noted that they had been contacted by the BBC at least three working days before Pesach; and in the case of the second programme, “there were substantial periods prior to the broadcast when Mr and Mrs Segal could have responded without impinging on their observance of Passover”. The BBC had originally planned to broadcast the second story on April 10 but “delayed that until April 11 in order to avoid a broadcast during Passover”. The number listed on websites for the Segal Studio — and the same number for a service called “Hilary’s Studio”— was unobtainable this week.

Last updated: 10:27am, May 27 2008