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Big Brother investigated for housemate's insertion

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Forget pop bottles filled with liquid dynamite on aeroplanes, the explosive situation which really has the nation talking has really blown up. ICSTIS has confirmed it will launch a formal investigation into Big Brother's voting operation.

The producers' plan to reintroduce a previously evicted housemate has reduced the show's disciples to paroxysms of bile-spitting fury. 2,700 social voyeurs have registered their displeasure at the latest oh-so-clever wheeze.

ICSTIS' code of practice (paragraph 4.3.1a, for all Big Brother and regulatory authority lovers) states: "Services and promotional material must not: mislead, or be likely to mislead, by inaccuracy, omission or otherwise"

The premium phone regulator is not investigating Channel 4 or the show's producers Endemol, rather it has sent letters to the premium rate providers: Minick Ltd for SMS and ITouch UK for phone votes.

ITouch UK MD Andy Ford told The Register the firm was awaiting ICSTIS' approach, and would cooperate fully with the investigation. He said the firm has 20 years as a "white knight" in the premium rate industry, never falling foul of regulators. Minick said it would be cooperating too.

The firms will have five working days to respond to the letters. Their response, together with a summary of the complaints will go before a three strong adjudication pannel at ICSTIS, who will decide if there is a case to answer. A decision should be made within 12 weeks. Penalties can range from a formal reprimand to enforced refunds and a fine of £250,000.

For the employed, Big Brother is a bafflingly successful Channel 4 cash cow whereby a squawking gaggle of future ex-z-listers are put in a cage for what seems like a decade, and stared at by idiots.

We'd like to give a full run down of the compelling ins and outs inside the pigpen that have led to the current crisis, but we really can't be bothered. Public service broadcaster The BBC has kindly swallowed that mind-jellifying pill for us here

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