ITV escapes censure over swear word - because of Scots accent

ITV has escaped censure from the broadcasting watchdog after screening an episode of The Jeremy Kyle Show featuring the use of a four-letter word by a Scottish guest.

Jeremy Kyle avoided censure by Ofcom. Picture: Getty Images
Jeremy Kyle avoided censure by Ofcom. Picture: Getty Images

Despite being reviewed by a dozen members of the production team before it was broadcast, the episode of the controversial programme featured the use of offensive word.

ITV said the obscenity was not flagged up because no one had been able to understand what the guest, a Scottish woman, had been saying.

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The word was uttered during a segment of the morning show entitled ‘When I prove I didn’t cheat will you let me see our daughter?’. During a heated exchange with her ex-partner, the woman said: “Ya ****, it will make a change then.”

The breach of Ofcom’s rules on offensive language only came to light after staff at STV alerted their colleagues at ITV following the transmission in January this year. The programme was subsequently removed from ITV’s catch up service.

In its latest bulletin, Ofcom revealed the offending programme was reviewed by no fewer than 12 staff prior to broadcast, including a producer, a supervising producer and three editors.

The staff involved included a Scottish member of the production team who was tasked with “looking out for offensive language.”

However, no one was able to understand what the guest was saying and the swear word was allowed to slip through.

The broadcaster accepted the word should not have been aired and apologised for any offence caused. It told Ofcom that the offending word “would not have been readily audible, or at least not readily understandable as such - other than to a small number of Scottish viewers - due to the speaker’s accent and the casual rather than emphatic manner in which the comment was made.”

Ofcom, which received two complaints, said although the word was “an example of the most offensive language” it agreed with ITV that it was “not clearly audible”

The watchdog said it considered the matter to be resolved.