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Celebrity Big Brother and Jon Snow top TV complaints list

Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has ranked the shows that sparked the most complaints from viewers over the past 10 years.

Roxanne Pallett entering the Celebrity Big Brother house (Ian West/PA)
Roxanne Pallett entering the Celebrity Big Brother house (Ian West/PA)

By Sherna Noah, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Celebrity Big Brother was the most complained-about TV show of the decade while a comment made by Jon Snow put Channel 4 News at the top of the list for the year.

Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has ranked the programmes which sparked the most complaints over the last 10 years.

Reality shows like Big Brother, Love Island and The X-Factor were the most contentious but news and current affairs programmes also featured.

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(PA Graphics)

The regulator received 2,717 complaints when Channel 4 News anchor Snow said, after a day of rallies and protests relating to Brexit, that he had “never seen so many white people in one place”, making it the most complained-about programme of 2019.

An episode of last year’s Celebrity Big Brother was the most complained-about TV show of the decade.

More than 25,000 people complained about the episode, on Channel Five, when ex-Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallett alleged she had been assaulted by fellow housemate Ryan Thomas.

Pallett was heavily criticised for accusing soap star Thomas of punching her, a claim she later said was “massively wrong”.

The episode accounted for around half of all complaints in 2018, making it by far the most complained-about programme of the decade.

An episode of Loose Women featuring Kim Woodburn following her stint on Celebrity Big Brother was second, with around 8,000 complaints.

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Kim Woodburn (Ian West/PA)

Viewers criticised the way the How Clean Is Your House? star was treated by panellists.

Tony Close, Ofcom’s director of content standards, said the volume of complaints received about a programme is “not necessarily a sign that broadcasting rules have been broken”.

The “rise of social media” could have sparked more debate about reality shows and news coverage, he added.

“Overwhelmingly, the most contentious programmes of the 2010s were either reality shows – like Love Island, Big Brother and The X-Factor – or news and current affairs.”

This year, Ofcom found that its broadcasting rules were broken in 55 cases.

Most complained-about shows of the decade

1. Celebrity Big Brother, Channel 5 (2018)
25,327 complaints about the incident involving Roxanne Pallett and Ryan Thomas.

2. Loose Women, ITV (2018)
8,002 complaints, of which 7,912 related to an interview with guest Kim Woodburn which resulted in her walking off set.

3. UKIP: The First 100 Days, Channel 4 (2015)
6,187 complaints, of which the majority were that the portrayal of Ukip was misleading, offensive and biased.

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Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow (Jane Barlow/PA)

4. Sky News (2018)
3,463 viewers alleged bias and defamation of character in the editing of an interview with Tommy Robinson.

5. The X Factor, ITV (2010)
2,868 complaints that performances by Rihanna and Christina Aguilera were too explicit for broadcast before the 9pm watershed.

6. Channel 4 News, Channel 4 (2019)
2,717 complaints when presenter Jon Snow said, after a day of rallies and protests relating to Brexit, that he had “never seen so many white people in one place”.

7. Love Island, ITV2 (2018)
2,644 viewers raised concerns about emotional distress to contestants, specifically Dani Dyer becoming upset after being shown a clip of boyfriend Jack Fincham with his former partner.

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A performance by Rihanna on The X Factor was criticised (Ian West/PA)

8. The Wright Stuff, Channel 5 (2011)
2,358 complaints that host Matthew Wright and a guest made insensitive and inappropriate comments when discussing an article about the first murder case in the Hebrides for 40 years.

9. Big Brother, Channel 5 (2015)
2,024 complaints about comments made by contestants.

10.  Sky News with Kay Burley, Sky News (2015)
1,838 complaints about the tone of Kay Burley interviewing chief executive of Merlin Entertainment in the aftermath of the Alton Towers crash.

Most complained-about shows of 2019:

1. Channel 4 News, Channel 4
2,717 complaints when presenter Jon Snow said, after a day of rallies and protests relating to Brexit, that he had “never seen so many white people in one place”.

2. Good Morning Britain, ITV
955 complaints from viewers who felt that presenter Piers Morgan’s comments ridiculed gender identity issues.

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Simon Cowell’s The X Factor was one of the most complained-about shows (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

3. The X Factor: Celebrity Final, ITV
802 viewers objected to a sexualised performance by the Pussycat Dolls. The complaints are currently being assessed.

4. Love Island, ITV2
726 complaints, of which 709 were about the “predatory behaviour” of contestant Maura Higgins.

5. Love Island, ITV2
700 viewers raised concerns about the treatment of contestant Lucy by her partner and others.

PA

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