Police arrested the chair in a pre-dawn raid at its home at BBC headquarters, where they are reported to have found hundreds of videos of the chair touching contestants in intimate areas over the last forty years. A separate investigation has also been launched by the Child Protection Unit amid concerns that the chair may have been used on a number of episodes of ‘Junior Mastermind’ in the 1990s.
‘When I sat down to answer my questions, I could feel something touching against my bottom,’ said one former contestant from the 1970s, who wished to remain nameless. ‘I didn’t realise what it was at the time, but looking back on it now, I realise that it must have been the chair. I feel so violated.’
Another former victim, whose complaint is believed to have started the police investigation, has told reporters that she has only recently come to realise that the chair’s behaviour was unacceptable. ‘The ordeal went on for around three minutes,’ she said. ‘I pleaded for it to stop, but a voice just said, ‘I’ve started so I’ll finish’ and the nightmare continued. This chair needs to be named and shamed to make sure it can’t strike again.’
The arrest has led for calls for furniture stores to carry out background checks on their furniture items, particularly ones which are likely to be used by children. ‘I don’t want my children to be assaulted by some paedo chaise longue,’ said one worried mother. ‘I mean, that bed from Rentaghost, where is it now? There were also rumours about a beige cushion from Blake’s 7, but the BBC covered it all up.’
Despite these allegations being made against other furniture items, Police insist that their investigation, at present, is only dealing with the Mastermind chair and have appealed for witnesses to contact them urgently. ‘People may think that they can’t make a difference but they definitely can and we urge them to come forward with any information they have so that we can try and prevent this sort of thing from ever happening again,’ said the chief investigating officer, David McIntyre. ‘Being sexually assaulted by a chair is something that no-one should have to stand for.’