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Mallon fails in TV programme complaint

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Middlebrough’s mayor Ray Mallon has failed in a complaint that a TV programme unfairly branded the town the worst place to live in the UK.

Mr Mallon was unhappy about an edition in October 2007 of the Channel 4 property Location, Location, Location that drew attention to high levels of crime and ill health.

He claimed Middlesbrough had been unfairly treated and that its council had not been given an opportunity to contribute to the programme.

But Ofcom rejected the complaint, arguing that the programme used reliable statistics fairly to back up its claims.

It said it was not unfair for the programme to have included “details about smoking, drug misuse and physical exercise in the area” and used images of obese people.

No contribution from the council had been required because the programme made no allegations about it and, in any case, it was not solely responsible for the areas covered in the statistical analysis, Ofcom said.

Mr Mallon responded to the finding by telling the Guardian: “Our action should also send out a clear warning to others that we are proud of our town, proud of its history and we will not stand idly by when someone attacks us as Channel 4 did.

“No one is pretending that Middlesbrough doesn’t have its problems but we are tackling them.”

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