Excelsior sues ITV for repeat fees

Excelsior Group Productions - maker of A Touch of Frost and Darling Buds of May - is suing ITV.

The independent production company said ITV had paid it "derisory" rates for more than 100 hours of repeats on ITV2 and ITV3. The claim was lodged at the High Court yesterday.

Pip Burley, Excelsior chief executive, said: "ITV effectively launched ITV2 and ITV3 on the back of A Touch of Frost, a series that at its peak attracted an audience of over 17m viewers.

"ITV chose to pay derisory rates for running these repeats. They claimed these other ITV channels were not part of the ITV network and fell under a lower royalty clause that we had agreed for the sale of programmes to different television networks and overseas audiences," said Burley.

"This is clearly ridiculous. Our losses are still being calculated but involve millions of pounds."

An ITV spokesman said: "We are yet to receive service of any proceedings. This is a long-standing issue and we are confident of our position."