Blue Peter 'sorry' for shortlisting violent book

Organisers of a BBC children's book prize admitted yesterday that they had made a "mistake" by initially shortlisting a novel which contained swearing and violence.

Andy Mulligan's Trash has now been dropped from the Blue Peter book prize shortlist which was announced to viewers yesterday.

The BBC said the book was "not suitable" and should never have been included in the shortlist for books aimed at children as young as six.

The adventure story follows three young boys who work sorting waste on a Third World rubbish dump and has drawn acclaim from critics.

But its content has led to bosses of the BBC1 children's programme dropping it from the "favourite story" category of the awards.

Three years ago Blue Peter caused controversy when it emerged that programme-makers overruled a public vote to name one of the show's pets.

That came just months after another incident on the programme led to a 50,000 fine for the BBC when one of the production staff asked another child to pose as a competition winner.

The shortlisted books are: Dead Man's Cove (A Laura Marlin Mystery) by Lauren St John, A Web Of Air (Mortal Engines) by Philip Reeve and Tall Story by Candy Gourlay.

In the best factual book section, Do Igloos Have Loos? by Mitchell Symons is up against How The World Works by Christiane Dorion and What You Need To Know Now: The World In Facts, Stats, And Graphics by Joe Fullman, Ian Graham, Sally Regan and Isabel Thomas.

Shortlisted books will be judged by Blue Peter viewers and winners will be announced next year.