Celebrity Big Brother named as most complained-about TV programme of 2018

Celebrity Big Brother was the television programme that attracted most viewer complaints to Ofcom in 2018 - prompted by an allegation of physical abuse made by former Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallett against housemate Ryan Thomas.
Allegations of physical abuse were at the centre of the majority of complaints about Celebrity Big Brother.Allegations of physical abuse were at the centre of the majority of complaints about Celebrity Big Brother.
Allegations of physical abuse were at the centre of the majority of complaints about Celebrity Big Brother.

During 2018, Ofcom received almost 56,000 complaints about programmes from viewers and listeners. The figures reveal that the ‘top 10’ most complained about television shows together prompted more than 47,000 audience complaints to Ofcom – accounting for 85 per cent of the total for the year.

Celebrity Big Brother generated a total of 27,602 complaints, after Ms Pallett claimed former Coronation Street actor Mr Thomas, who later won the show, “punched her like a boxer” and “intentionally” tried to hurt her during an interaction.

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The number of complaints against the reality show was followed by those about Loose Women on ITV, which attracted the second highest volume of complaints this year at 8,002. The majority related to an interview with guest Kim Woodburn, former presenter of How Clean Is Your House?, in which she had a spat with panellist Coleen Nolan. The pair had previously fallen out while on Celebrity Big Brother together last year.

Ofcom said it would investigate both programmes to determine whether potentially offensive content was editorially justified and placed into appropriate context.

ITV reality shows Love Island, I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here and The X Factor also featured in the top 10 - ranked fourth, ninth and tenth respectively - along with storylines on Coronation Street and Emmerdale which prompted viewers in their hundreds to get in touch with Ofcom. Sky News was third, while Good Morning Britain and This Morning completed the rankings.

Tony Close, Ofcom’s director of content standards for licensing and enforcement, said: “Viewers are as passionate about what they watch as ever, discussing programmes with their friends and family, and with other people on social media.

“They complain to us when they think programmes have fallen below the standards they expect, and we carefully assess each and every complaint we receive.”

He added: “This year, we’ve taken action on many occasions where programmes have fallen short of the standards required by our rules.”

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Each complaint made to Ofcom is carefully assessed against our broadcasting rules to determine whether further action against the broadcaster might be necessary.

With many complainants now also taking to social media to voice their opinions, many of the programmes that feature in Ofcom’s ‘top 10’, are also among the ‘top tweeted’ programmes of the year, according to Kantar Media research.

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Ofcom launched 137 investigations into TV and radio programmes in 2018. Of the 129 investigations concluded this year, the watchdog found its broadcasting rules were broken in 80 cases. Sixteen cases were resolved, while 33 cases were found not to have breached regulations.