BBC removes Apple logo from Mac used in ‘Spooks’ episode amid product placement allegations

“The BBC has been forced to edit an Apple logo out of an episode of its spy series ‘Spooks’, as the corporation launches an investigation into allegations of product placement in its programmes,” Joe Lepper reports for Brand Republic. “An investigation by the Sunday Times alleges that the practice of product placement is widespread, despite being in contravention of broadcasting guidelines. The BBC has launched its own investigation and has now admitted it was forced to edit last week’s BBC One episode of ‘Spooks.'”

“Under BBC guidelines the corporation is forbidden from guaranteeing the appearance of a product. In addition, products can only be used to guarantee realism,” Lepper reports.

Full article here.

The Sunday Times reports, “Malcolm Holt, a prop master for Kudos, the company that produces the show for the BBC, told our undercover reporters that Apple was keen to supply computers. ‘They just throw them at you,’ he said. Preview tapes of this week’s BBC1 episode contain three prominent shots of the Apple logo.”

Full article here.


  1. This is nothing newsworthy…

    I see PowerBooks on TV all the time, with a black square neatly covering up the glowing Apple logo, and in at least one case, I recall seeing a couple pieces of black tape shabbily covering up the Apple logo on a PowerBook on that discovery programme, Mythbusters.

    They can cover the logo, but nothing else looks like a PowerBook…

  2. HuskerMac: the BBC is a public broadcasting service on which advertising is verboten. I remember at one time you would see scenes where every vestige of a product had been crudely covered, and although they’ve relaxed over the years they are still wary of the idea of advertising products by showing them on the programs. So the only reason this is a Mac story is because Apple is involved. The first series was shown in the US (under the title “MI-5”) and the office scenes were just loaded with Macs, with the Apple logo prominently displayed.

  3. The slight difference is that the BBC are not commercial. It’s all well and good being realistic but if the shot’s gratuitously show the logo etc then there is a problem. Not so much from apple in this instance since they’re just trying to promote their product but more from the production company and in turn the BBC for alowing it.

  4. A long running BBC programme called Blue Peter makes its presenters say ‘sticky-backed plastic’ instead of Sellotape.

    If you want a realistic drama series, you need real life products. The MI5 use Macs, so what’s the problem?

  5. Malcom Holt says “Apple throws computers at them.” Then why do they have the old plastic screens, with the iSight stuck to the back of them. instead of the new metal ones on the show.
    Besides the show likes to go for realism & what better computer for security, on a show about spooks, is there than a Mac.

  6. The reason the Macs in Spooks are older is because the program is into its fourth season in the UK (where it’s known as MI-5)… and if they are going to edit out logos, I suspect they’ll have to do it in just about every one of the 30 episodes to date…

  7. The BBC has a very strict policy towards advertising: None.
    On the children’s show ‘Blue Peter’, on air since the late 60s, the presenters famously refer to Selotape – Scotch Tape in the US – as “sticky-backed plastic”. Unlike US television, where commercialism rules (even PBS now features advertising) the Beeb removes the possiblity that viewers will be subjected to the unrelenting flow of ‘brought-to-you-by’ advertising overload.

  8. I thought it was funny that on the new CBS show “Criminal Minds” the character that was abducted from work had a virus to show up on her computer that clearly showed an OSX destop!!! I’m pretty sure because I was watching it in Hi def on a 106″ screen.

    I still get a kick out of watching Jeff Goldblum upload a virus from an older Mac laptop on Independence Day.

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