Channel 4 has been accused of ‘stealing’ an idea for a snowman-building show developed by an 11-year-old girl and her mother.
The Greatest Snowman, which will air over the festive period, is said to have ‘uncanny similarities’ to an idea with the same name that format creator Tim Shaw offered to the broadcaster in 2019.
Mr Shaw’s stepdaughter, who was 11 at the time, is understood to have thought up the show with her mother Christina, 34.
Channel 4 has been accused of ‘stealing’ an idea for a snowman-building show developed by an 11-year-old girl and her mother
Millie Tomlin, now 13, said she felt ‘gutted’ when she realised Channel 4 was making its version of The Greatest Snowman. ‘There’s no way a coincidence this big could happen,’ she added. ‘If I’m going to do something, I don’t want it to be stolen by someone else.’
Her mother said Millie had branded the broadcaster a ‘bunch of grinches’.
Channel 4 denies the accusation, saying ‘distinct ideas in the same area’ were ‘developed separately’. It added it was ‘not an uncommon idea’ for a Christmas show.
Mr Shaw said both shows follow celebrities competing against each other to build ‘amazing’ ice and snow sculptures, culminating in a snowman in the final round.
He claims that the number and position of the Alps is the same as the previous programme, and so are proposed celebrity stars Sue Perkins, Dani Dyer and others.
Mr Shaw’s concerns are believed to centre on Channel 4’s actions rather than those of the new show’s makers, a company called South Shore.
Mr Shaw said both shows follow celebrities competing against each other to build ‘amazing’ ice and snow sculptures, culminating in a snowman in the final round
He is understood to have written to Channel 4 last month and got a reply from programming chief Ian Katz, who is said to have told him there had been ‘no piggy-backing or borrowing from the work you did in 2019’.
He reportedly added South Shore’s plans were ‘significantly cheaper’.
Channel 4 said: ‘We are respectful of the intellectual property of production companies and the ideas they bring.
‘This is not an uncommon idea for a Christmas programme and following a review we are satisfied these distinct ideas in the same area were brought to different teams at different times and developed separately.’