DOES anyone get sacked for anything anymore? Earlier this week I commented on BAA's failure to dismiss anyone for the Terminal 5 disaster because “it would not be appropriate in the heat of battle”. Now we learn that despite gross dishonesty over the rigging of TV voting results at ITV the managing director Michael Grade decided that “the threat of the sack would prevent full disclosure”. What about after full disclosure?

The results-rigging at ITV revealed by the regulator Ofcom yesterday went far beyond tampering with the telephone voting, although there was plenty of that too. In the case of the People's Choice prize at the 2005 British Comedy Awards broadcast by ITV the outcome was settled long before the public voted; according to a report by the legal firm Olswang, Robbie Williams agreed to accept an invitation to present a prize at the awards provided that the recipients would be Ant and Dec. On the night the BBC's Catherine Tate Show got more votes than Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway but they were announced as the winners anyway. Olswang found no evidence that WIlliams or Ant and Dec were aware that the vote was fixed. The TV regulator Ofcom fined ITV a record 5.7 million pounds for repeatedly misleading viewers over the conduct of the phone-ins on three other Ant and Dec shows, and said that ITV was guilty of “institutional failure”.