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Blue Peter drops 'violent' book

Organisers of a BBC children's book prize have admitted that they had made a "mistake" by initially shortlisting a novel which contained swearing and violence.

Andy Mulligan's Trash has now been dropped from the Blue Peter book prize shortlist which will be announced to viewers later.

The BBC said the book was "not suitable" and should never have been included in the shortlist for books aimed at children as young as six.

The adventure story follows three young boys who work sorting waste on a Third World rubbish dump and has drawn acclaim from critics.

But its content has led to bosses of the BBC1 children's programme dropping it from the "favourite story" category of the awards.

Reacting to the decision to drop his book from the shortlist, Mulligan told the Daily Telegraph: "I'm sad because I thought when Blue Peter chose the book they were declaring their passion for literature. Sadly the fall-back position is one of fear. It's part of the insidious process that bans snowball fights."

The BBC said: "Trash, by Andy Mulligan, should not have been shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards because it contains scenes of violence and swearing that are not suitable for the younger end of our audience.

"We regret the mistake that was made in the initial judging but we do not believe the book is appropriate for children as young as six."

Three years ago Blue Peter caused controversy when it emerged that programme-makers overruled a public vote to name one of the show's pets.

That came just months after another incident on the programme led to a £50,000 fine for the BBC when one of the production staff asked another child to pose as a competition winner.

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