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Mr Bates Vs the Post Office viewers shocked former CEO Paula Vennells has CBE

Paula Vennells is portrayed by Lia Williams in the ITV series

Former Post Office Chief Executive Paula Vennells pictured during her tenure with the company from 2012 to 2019. (PA Images)
Former Post Office Chief Executive Paula Vennells pictured during her tenure with the company from 2012 to 2019. (PA Images)

Mr Bates Vs the Post Office has been fascinating viewers since it began airing on ITV on New Year's Day, and the shocking true story has led them to call out the injustices faced by sub-postmasters across the country and call for those in charge to be held accountable.

One such person is Paula Vennells, who was the CEO of the Post Office from 2012 to 2019 in the midst of the scandal and is portrayed in the drama by Lia Williams. What shocked viewers more, though, was the fact that Vennells was awarded a CBE in 2019 for "services to the Post Office".

Read more: Mr Bates Vs the Post Office review: ITV delivers a riveting drama

The Post Office scandal depicted in the drama saw several sub-postmasters be accused of fraud, theft and false accounting despite evidence of errors with a computer system called Horizon. This error led to financial amounts changing or sudden losses occurring, but it was the sub-postmasters who were blamed for the fault, and under Vennells leadership the Post Office prosecuted some of them.

Lia Williams as Paula Vennells in Mr Bates Vs the Post Office. (ITV)
Lia Williams as Paula Vennells in Mr Bates Vs the Post Office. (ITV)

Viewers were outraged upon learning Vennells has retained her CBE despite the scandal, with some even calling for her to be stripped of the award when they shared their opinions on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Looking back on the real life scandal, one person shared their shock over Vennells' CBE by writing: "Innocent people suffered injustice inc. being jailed. Same should happen to those responsible for this injustice. You couldn’t make it up that Paula Vennells got a CBE 2019 for ‘services to the Post Office’."

Another viewer commented: "Paula Vennells former CEO of Post Office she knew what was going on, including the strategy in the court case and the bugs in the system. She got a CBE for services to the Post Office. That is just rubbing salt into the wounds of these innocent people."

ITV STUDIOS
MR BATES Vs POST OFFICE



Pictured: AMIT SHAH as Jas,KRUPA PATTANI as Sam,IIFAN HUW DAFYDD as Noel,JULIE HESMONDHALGH as Suzanne,TOBY JONES as Alan Bates,MONICA DOLAN as Jo,WILL MELLOR as Lee and SHAUN DOOLEY as Rudkin.


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Mr Bates Vs the Post Office follows the post office scandal that saw several sub-postmasters be accused of theft and fraud despite evidence of errors with the company's technical system Horizon. (ITV)

The Communications Workers' Union has been calling for Vennells to be stripped of her CBE since 2019, and referring to this one ITV viewer said: "If you've been watching #MrBatesVsThePostOffice you'll understand why this is receiving such interest. Awarded a CBE whilst bring complicit in covering up what's been described as one the "biggest injustices" of our time ????"

Read more: Mr Bates Vs the Post Office brings Carol Vorderman to 'tears'

Sharing their outrage over Vennells' CBE, one person wrote: "Paula Vennells was awarded a CBE, despite the part she played in the Post Officr scandal. Absolutely mind blowing and she should be stripped of it. Can't help but feel for those affected by the scandal, especially those who have lost their lives."

Another viewer wrote: "Long-standing, trusted workers suddenly seen as guilty just as Horizon made an appearance. Why weren’t they listened to? Why isn’t the PO being held accountable? Where’s the compensation? Why is Vennells still a CBE?"

Some ITV viewers called for the ex-businesswoman to be stripped of her CBE, and one wrote on social media: "How do you campaign to get Paula Vennells ex CEO of @PostOffice stripped of her CBE. Asking on behalf of anyone who has ever bought a postage stamp #MrBatesVsThePostOffice."

Read more: Susanna Reid confronts minister over Post Office scandal

Vennells stepped down from her role as CEO of the Post Office in February 2019, she then became chair of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust but resigned in 2021 after the convictions made against 39 sub-postmasters were overturned. Vennells was also an ordained minister, but she stepped back from her duties in 2021 following the Post Office scandal.

Mr Bates Vs the Post Office continues through to Thursday, 4 January on ITV1 at 9pm.

Watch the trailer for Mr Bates Vs the Post Office: