A controversial episode of Celebrity Big Brother was the most complained about British show of the decade, while Love Island, The X Factor and ITV daytime show Loose Women also make the list from regulator Ofcom.
More than 25,000 people complained about an episode of last year’s Celebrity Big Brother on Viacom’s Channel 5. The complaints were centered around an incident where former Emmerdale star Roxanne Pallett alleged assault by fellow housemate Ryan Thomas, who starred in Coronation Street.
The second most complained about show of the decade was an episode of daytime talk show Loose Women from 2018. The episode in question featured an argument between presenters Kim Woodburn and Coleen Nolan, with the majority of complaints arguing that there was bullying on the ITV show.
Elsewhere, Love Island made the list at number eight. The episode, from 2018, featured contestant Dani Dyer (left), daughter of British acting legend Danny Dyer, becoming distressed after she was shown a clip of her boyfriend being reunited with his former girlfriend. Some 2,644 people complained.
The X Factor also received 2,868 complaints in December 2010 with viewers complaining that performances by Rihanna and Christina Aguilera were too explicit for broadcast before the 9pm watershed.
The majority of other complaints involved news coverage including Sky News’ coverage of an interview with far-right activist Tommy Robinson and Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow talking about race.
Tony Close, Ofcom’s Director of Content Standards, said, “People expect particular standards from TV and radio shows. Quite rightly, they feel passionately about programmes and want to have their say. Ofcom’s job is to hear those views and protect the public from harmful and offensive content. 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.”
He added, “Why is that? One important reason might be the rise of social media over the decade. We know people like to discuss reality shows online. And in a time of political change, social media has also shaped increasingly passionate debate around news coverage. While the overall volume of complaints we receive about a programme is certainly a good indicator that it needs examining, it’s not necessarily a sign that broadcasting rules have been broken. For example, shows with large audiences often generate more complaints because more people are watching. And we don’t need to receive any complaints to step in if a programme breaks our rules.”
Most complained-about shows of the decade:
Celebrity Big Brother, Channel 5 (2018) – 25,327 complaints
Loose Women, ITV (2018) – 8,002 complaints
UKIP: The First 100 days, Channel 4 (2015) – 6,187 complaints
Sky News (2018) – 3,463 complaints
The X Factor, ITV (2010) – 2,868 complaints
Channel 4 News, Channel 4 (2019) – 2,717 complaints
Love Island, ITV2 (2018) – 2,644 complaints
The Wright Stuff, Channel 5 (2011) – 2,358 complaints
Big Brother, Channel 5 (2015) – 2,024
Sky News with Kay Burley, Sky News (2015) – 1,838 complaints