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Castaway star's legal battle

PUBLISHED: 16:59 08 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:04 03 March 2010

AN IPSWICH woman is celebrating after her Castaway star brother ended two years of torment in the High Court.

Ron Copsey was made to look the villain of the piece in the BBC reality TV series set on a Scottish Island.

AN IPSWICH woman is celebrating after her Castaway star brother ended two years of torment in the High Court.

Ron Copsey was made to look the villain of the piece in the BBC reality TV series set on a Scottish Island.

But the High Court ordered the BBC and the programme producers to cough-up a total of £16,000 for defamation.

Now his sister Jacqueline James, of Heath Street, Ipswich, can breathe a sigh of relief after enduring her brother's TV hell.

She said: "While the court case was going on he was keeping up informed. We were just hoping and keeping our fingers crossed that he would win.

"It was terrible watching him on TV, it was not like watching my brother.

"They seemed to dig out all the nastiest bits and it made him out not to be the person he is. He's such a lovely guy with a big heart.

"It upset us all as a family really, but at the end of the day, he proved he was right and won his case. And we're all over the moon about it."

Ron had already left home when Jacqueline and the rest of the family moved to Suffolk 20 years ago.

But being away from London did not stop the family being haunted by the national newspapers when Ron was at the height of his fame.

Jacqueline said: "Anything like that puts pressure on anybody really, especially when you know how wrong it all is.

"We all had to put up with nasty comments as well. My children had people telling them what a nasty uncle they had, which upset them.

"It's just such a shame, because it seemed like the chance of a lifetime and I told him to go for it.

"I just hope it's all over now and he can start his life again.

"I'm very proud of him and I love him to bits. I feel so happy for him that it's all sorted out."

Despite his High Court victory, Ron Copsey still feels bitter about his treatment by the BBC.

Speaking to The Evening Star after the £16,000 damages payout, Ron revealed he may have to quit his career because of Castaway.

And he said he might have been victimised on the isolated island of Taransay because he is gay.

"I think the fact that I am gay and the fact that I am training to be a counsellor were the reasons I was singled out.

"But now I'm having to consider not being a counsellor as the programme made me look aggressive. I had about seven rows in seven months, but it looked like I was rowing all the time."

Ron admitted he had endured a miserable time on the island during the filming of the 12-month real-life series.

His border collie dog Charlie died during his time on Taransay and he was furious when TV producers handed him the vet's bill.

After agonising about his future, Ron left Taransay after only seven months. But had no idea of his public persona until he watched videos of the show.

He said: "I couldn't believe it. In one scene they made it look like I threw a chair at one of the women and it just didn't happen.

"They made me look like the kind of man who throws chairs at women."

Ron said he was now keen to get on with his life. He said: "It has been 18 months of stress – for me and my family.

"But now it is all over and I can use the money to help start a new life."

A BBC spokesman confirmed the organisation had been ordered to pay £8,000 damages, but declined to comment further for legal reasons.

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