5 May 2013 4:05 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

TV company put forward suggestions for towns to be selected as pilots

Film-makers working with the celebrity shopping guru Mary Portas on her reality TV show lobbied government officials to direct taxpayer funds to high streets because they would be popular with television audiences, documents obtained by the Guardian reveal.

The funding for the so-called "Portas pilots" was part of a high-profile government policy to renew town centres. Portas produced a 28-point plan on how to revive moribund town centres for David Cameron in December 2011. Less than six months later, from almost 400 entries, more than two dozen towns – the Portas pilots – were picked to receive £100,000 of state support and advice each. On Tuesday Portas fronts the first of three hour-long programmes in a series on Channel 4, Mary: Queen of the High Street, focusing on three winning bids.

The Guardian has established that the production company hired by Channel 4 »

- Randeep Ramesh

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