Belfast Telegraph

Monday 5 October 2015

Ofcom roasts Ramsay for Nightmare swearing

Published 12/05/2009

Gordon Ramsay’s Great British Nightmare programme breached Ofcom rules after the using the ‘F’ word more than 100 times, Ofcom has ruled.

The show, based on the chef’s Kitchen Nightmares series and broadcast in January, was commissioned as part of Channel 4’s Great British Food Fight season.

Ofcom noted the first 40 minutes of the show, broadcast between 9pm and 9.40pm, contained 115 examples of the most offensive language — the word f*** and its derivatives.

The watchdog said much of the offensive language was delivered in an extremely intense and at times aggressive manner.

The most “aggressive” scene occurred at approximately 9.30pm, when a restaurant chef berated his boss, shouting the word “f******” at him 30 times — in fewer than two minutes.

Channel 4 said the show, which goes behind the scenes in restaurants, sees Ramsay expose the truth and deliver frank advice.

It said that, with only five days to turn businesses around, Ramsay had no time for niceties or gentle persuasion.

The broadcaster said levels of strong language were in part due to the honest and genuine reactions Ramsay experienced as well as emotional exchanges between the contributors.

Ofcom ruled the show breached rule 2.3 of the Broadcasting Code, which says that offensive content must be justified by the context.

The watchdog said in the case of programmes featuring Ramsay, the context was important given his “well-known reputation for using offensive language”.

Ofcom received 51 complaints — and said their range indicated a number of regular viewers to the programme were shocked and offended by the combination of the sheer frequency of the offensive language — and the way some of it was delivered.

Ofcom said: “Whilst acknowledging that they were fans of the show, many of them simply found it unacceptable and were extremely discomforted by it.

“In Ofcom’s opinion, therefore, despite its established expectation regarding the strength and frequency of language, the audience would not have expected such sustained and very frequent use of the most offensive language.”

Speaking about the Ramsay ruling in a statement, Channel 4 said it “accepts and takes account of Ofcom’s ruling in relation to the scheduling of Ramsay’s Great British Nightmare.”

It added: “We respect that, given the strength of language in the first part of this two-hour special, the programme should have been scheduled later than 9pm.”

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