One of the city’s biggest charity events, Strictly MK, has been threatened with an injunction by the BBC, the Citizen can exclusively reveal.
BBC lawyers have written to organiser Lindsey Inchbald accusing her of breaching copyright rules on the Strictly Come Dancing title.
Horrified contestants, who include Citizen editor Olga Norford and MK mayor Brian White, are urging the BBC to see sense.
Said Brian: “The bullying tactics of the BBC seem designed to intimidate.
“I cannot believe they want to crush this event and deprive local charities of thousands of pounds.”
Strictly MK is scheduled to take place in October and already it looked set to be a sell-out event.
To be held over a weekend, one day would focus around local ‘celebrity’ dancers, while the following day’s contest would feature children from local schools and groups.
Organisers, dancers and celebrity judges are volunteering their time for free and all proceeds will be split between Willen Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Care.
Former MP Brian is now appealing for Government Ministers to step in and help persuade the BBC to see sense. Already city MP Mark Lancaster is raising the matter with his colleagues in Westminster, he said.
Meanwhile organiser Lindsey has written to the BBC legal department asking for time to discuss her options.
The lawyers replied this week with a letter saying the “deadline” for issuing the injunction was imminent.
She told the Citizen: “It’s so sad...It’s awful. We’re all doing this for nothing and we can’t afford to spend thousands on lawyers’ fees to fight it.
“The obvious option is changing the name to Celebrity MK or something similar. But at this stage, just five weeks away, it would cost a fortune to change our website, tickets and all the branding.
“We even have Strictly MK T-shirts printed for all the children. I just don’t know what to do... “
The Citizen spoke to the Strictly Come Dancing press office this evening. A spokesman, who knew nothing about the legal threats, promised to talk to the legal department to find out what was happening.
She said: “This is certainly not the kind of publicity that we would want for our show.”
Within minutes the spokesman called to say a meeting had been arranged tomorrow (Thursday) between Strictly Come Dancing team members and lawyers to discuss if a compromise could be reached.
She said: “We absolutely do not want to stop this event in Milton Keynes.”