Studio Lambert, C4 accused of doc fakery

2008 docudrama 'The Jacksons Are Coming'

LONDON -- Indie production house Studio Lambert and Channel 4 have been accused of faking scenes in "The Jacksons Are Coming" a 2008 docudrama about members of the Jackson family considering moving to English coastal county of Devon.

Matt Fiddes, a local karate instructor and former bodyguard of Michael Jackson, is suing Channel 4 and the producers, alleging that his portrayal in the documentary was unfair and that elements of the show were made up.

Channel 4, Studio Lambert and the film's producer Jane Preston, have defended the show and say the legal tussle, due to begin in the High Court in June, will be "fiercely fought." They robustly defended the documentary, refuting any suggestions of wrongdoing.

"We are confident that they can and will demonstrate the honesty and truthfulness of this documentary at trial," the three parties said.

In court documents for Fiddes, his lawyers claim he was libeled by suggestions that he had leaked stories about the Jacksons to British newspapers. He has also alleged that the whole show was a publicity stunt aimed at boosting Tito's Jackson's flagging career.

"The Jacksons Are Coming" featured Tito and other members of the Jackson family, including his mother Jackie, father Joe and brother Siggie, ostensibly planning to settle in a blustery English seaside village of Appledore.

In one scene in the show Tito -- one of Michael's elder brothers -- is shown driving around LA in his Bentley, talking about his love of the sea. One reviewer described the sight of the Jackson clan plus entourage arriving in England and heading to the local fish & chip shop as "endearing" and "absurd."

"Without exception, the Jacksons came across as a faultlessly wholesome, close-knit clan," wrote reviewer Robert Collins in the Telegraph newspaper after the show aired in November 2008.

"Before leaving California, Mrs Jackson asked Preston if she might need a coat. "I'd take a coat, and maybe a cardigan," Preston urged her. The Jacksons were beginning to seem like the most normal family imaginable," Collins wrote.

In a statement, Tito Jackson said he and other members of his family would appear in court as witnesses "in support of Channel 4 and the filmmakers."

Studio Lambert was launched by former RDF creative head Stephen Lambert three years ago, shortly after he resigned when scenes from an RDF-produced royal documentary were shown to be mis-edited.