Great British Bake Off breaks BBC branding rules

Paul Hollywood, Sue Perkins, Mel Giedroyc and Mary Berry The Great British Bake Off is in its third series

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The production company that makes The Great British Bake Off has broken BBC editorial guidelines by taking loan of Smeg fridges on the show.

Rules state proper payment must be made to hire equipment visible on screen.

The issue came to light after a viewer wrote to the Radio Times complaining of "blatant product promotion".

The BBC said Love Production's loan agreement with Smeg did not meet editorial guidelines and was being revised for this series.

It added that hire payments would be made.

The kitchen appliance firm has loaned the independent production company a number of new fridges for the past two series of the BBC Two cookery show.

However, the corporation's guidelines say productions should "not accept free or reduced cost products" in return for "on-air or online credits, links or off-air marketing".

The BBC has asked Smeg to remove a notice from its website promoting its association with the The Great British Bake Off.

A spokeswoman said during the course of a general review of the show the BBC found other supply agreements needed "a clearer process".

"We are working with Love Productions to put in place additional measures to ensure that sourcing and supply of equipment is clear in relation to our guidelines and a consistent approach is adopted in future," she said.

The author of the Radio Times letter said he had counted the Smeg logo 37 times during one episode.

The BBC said that the nature of the show meant it was inevitable that some branded equipment would be seen in shot, but that efforts were constantly made to "minimise product prominence" where possible.

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