Dan Wootton addresses ‘smear campaign’ in July
With three months still to go until the end of the year, Ofcom has been busy already in 2023 with thousands of complaints being made over some of the biggest TV shows.
Express.co.uk has looked into the top five programmes which have received complaints from members of the public and the reasons why they had an issue.
Dan Wootton Tonight – 7,300 complaints
Ofcom’s most recent complaint came about on Tuesday evening after Laurence Fox’s comments towards Ava Evans.
During an appearance on Dan Wootton tonight, Laurence made a series of remarks about the political correspondent.
At one point he asked: “Who would want to s**g that?” as he spoke to host Dan, who simply laughed at the comment.
Due to the nature of his comments, Ofcom launched an investigation after it received around 7,300 complaints about the programme.
Ofcom is investigating under Rule 2.3 of the Broadcasting Code, which states that in applying generally accepted standards, broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context.
Dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom Chief Executive said in a statement: “Over the last few days there has been speculation and commentary about our role as the independent broadcast regulator.
“These are important issues and I wanted to be clear about our rules. Parliament sets objectives on how the broadcast sector should be regulated.
“We set and enforce rules to achieve these objectives. Contrary to some claims, these rules remain unchanged.
“They are designed to protect audiences from offensive and harmful material and to uphold the integrity of broadcast news and current affairs programming, while always ensuring that freedom of expression is front and centre in every decision we take. This is highly valued by audiences and central to our democracy.
“The decisions we take, always based on facts and evidence once a programme has aired, are vital if we are to protect our vibrant media landscape. We continue to apply and enforce these rules without fear or favour.”
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Love Island – 4,333 complaints
Jess Harding and Sammy Root were crowned the winners of Love Island Summer series 2023 but the show overall received a staggering number of complaints.
A total of 466 complaints were made about Molly Marsh being allowed back into the villa during Casa Amor after being dumped from the island by Kady McDermott.
Another 957 complaints were made after the iconic Movie Night episode had aired and tensions between Mitchel Taylor, Abi Taylor, Ella Barnes and Scott Van der Sluis rose.
An Ofcom spokesman said of the Movie Night complaints: “The majority of complaints related to alleged bullying towards Scott from the other islanders.”
913 more complaints were made in response to the Grafties episode, where Mitchel was slammed for his “bullying” behaviour towards Abi.
Fans had previously threatened to report the show to the TV regulator after claiming the girls were “bullying” Scott.
Scott made a comment where he said he “probably won’t” miss Catherine Agbaje once the Casa Amor girls arrived.
Fans also complained about the treatment of Jess, who was spoken to rudely by fellow contestant Tyrique Hyde and was left in tears after viewing clips of her partner Sammy.
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The Jeremy Vine Show – 2,250 complaints
Back in March, Jeremy Vine’s Channel 5 chatshow was flooded with Ofcom complaints after broadcasters Lin Mei and Kevin Maguire discussed the junior doctors in the NHS in England taking strike action over pay disputes.
Lin argued: “We need doctors and I don’t think the job of being a doctor is as attractive anymore so I do agree they need a pay rise but 35 percent is a stretch.
“Essentially like [Jeremy] said being a doctor is like being in other fields as graduate or apprentice. Now the average for a graduate is £25,000, so they’re still getting more than the average graduate.”
Jeremy responded and noted junior doctors enter the job market “loaded with debt” because of the intensive training they undergo.
Lin hit back and claimed a 35 percent pay rise is not “achievable or doable”, leaving Kevin to disagree and slam: “Junior doctors makes it sound like they’re hardly doing anything. Most of the doctors we will encounter are junior doctors.”
The discussion sparked a debate on Twitter as Jeremy Vine viewers shared their support for junior doctors.
One angry viewer wrote: “We spent two years clapping for them, praising them for their dedication and bravery.
“Now they want something, they’re being villainised by the establishment that made them realise their worth?! All healthcare professionals should be paid what they are worth.” (sic)
Another wrote: “The term junior doctor is misleading. All hospital doctors below consultants are junior. If 35 percent is too high, offer 25 percent.
“As with all Unions, you make a pitch and then negotiate. Doctors are undervalued, underpaid and overworked. They deserve much better.” (sic)
A third penned: “It’s not just a matter of ‘deserving it’. Everyone deserves a good wage. Rather it should reflect the job they’re actually qualified to do and the responsibility that comes with it. You can’t put a price on healthcare. Pay them what they’re due.” (sic)
Naked Education – 1,413 complaints
Naked Education began earlier this year, in a bid to try and get rid of any taboos surrounding bodies and help to educate the younger nation about bodies and what they look like.
However, within minutes of the first episode of the “body positive” show airing, viewers took to social media to share their thoughts about children seeing naked bodies.
@jennicr fumed at the time: “Channel 4 Naked Education is NOT it. Showing children under 16 MINORS, people, strangers I should say, standing fully naked in front of them.
“WHY? Absolutely not. They do NOT need to see strangers fully naked to be educated on the body.” (sic)
Trevor Campbell added: “#NakedEducation on @Channel4 right now. I’m not sure 15-year-old children should be seeing live naked bodies of men and women in front of them.
A third user penned: “I have just watched #NakedEducation on #Channel4. They were also showing naked grown-ups to young teenagers.”(sic)
Host Anna Richardson has previously defended Naked Education but said it went one step further than her dating show Naked Attraction.
She said: “Naked Education is sort of one step further than Naked Attraction, as it says: ‘Let’s normalise bodies, let’s have the conversation about what we go through, and let’s educate the nation.’
“I like to make shows that are controversial, that break taboos and that make a difference, and with every single show that I’ve done you can tick one of those boxes.”
Gregg Wallace: The British Miracle Meat – 801 complaints
Masterchef presenter and documentary maker Gregg Wallace left Channel 4 viewers disgusted and stunned when he appeared to encourage people to eat “human steaks”.
During the show, Gregg looked at how a lab was producing genetically modified meat harvested by human stem cells.
However, it was later revealed that the show was in fact a spoof and the programme was intended to be a darkly humorous indictment of corporate exploitation during the cost of living crisis.
Speaking about the show, Gregg told The Sun: “While it was a complete fantasy, we wanted to raise important questions about the nation’s relationship with food and what those struggling with the cost of living are being asked to do in order to stay afloat.
“The programme-makers consulted with experts to make sure what we were saying reflected what was actually happening and didn’t wander into the realms of science fiction.
“Scientists in the US have already come up with the concept of a “grow your own” kit, where it would be possible to create a steak from cells scraped from the inside of your own cheek.”
A number of viewers were outraged with the show and at the time, took to their Twitter accounts to express their fury.
Pauline McNeil fumed: “This whole concept is absolutely horrendous – cannibalism in disguise. Exploiting the poor. Sick, sick, sick!”
Another second wrote: “This can’t be real! He’s eating human flesh! WTF!” as another noted: “I am actually going to vomit!” (sic)
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