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Red or Black? contestants axed

ITV bosses have axed two contestants from £1 million game show Red or Black? after beefing up background checks.

The move comes in the wake of the uproar surrounding the award of the top prize to a man who was reportedly jailed for beating up a woman.

Programme chiefs announced that they were tightening up checks, and reviewing those who had made it through to the final stages of the show. The remaining editions will go ahead but two programmes will see the number of contestants reduced.

It is understood the two contestants were dropped because of criminal convictions. Show chiefs did not think it was appropriate for them to continue.

Nathan Hageman, 31, won the first £1 million prize on Simon Cowell's new entertainment show, but concern grew after it emerged that he had a violent past.

The bricklayer was initially reported to have been jailed for attacking a man but it has since been disclosed he attacked a woman, thought to be his ex-girlfriend.

An ITV spokesman said: "ITV has reviewed the background checks on remaining contestants from Red or Black?

"As a result of this we have asked producers to remove two contestants from this week's shows. Red or Black? will continue on these two occasions with seven, rather than eight, contestants."

He added that ITV Studios, Cowell's production company Syco and the ITV Network were "working closely and collaboratively together to ensure that the show continues its success".

ITV knew about Mr Hageman's five-year jail sentence, of which he served two and a half years, but it is thought to have been unaware the victim was a woman. Mr Hageman previously told journalists that he attacked a male victim after he started getting threatening calls from a man in Reading.


From Belfast Telegraph