By Lucy Caulkett-
Media regulator Ofcom must launch an investigation, following its inundation with complaints about Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day telethon.
Angry and disappointed viewers took to social media to complain over the BBC coverage on Friday. Many were appalled at the offensive penis gags before the watershed , worsened by the swearing and technical problems that featured throughout the programme. 151 complainants took the decision to voice their complaints.
An Ofcom spokesperson confirmed the complaints stating: “We will assess these complaints before deciding whether or not to investigate.” The complaints will be investigated because the failing on the parts of those complained about are simply unacceptable. There needs to be clearly defined rules and boundaries that comedians and television personalities should have to abide by. As adults, one would expect individuals of their age and experience to show a level of maturity and common sense, and be conscious of the fact children are watching. Instead, all these people think about is being funny, even if it means lowering the standards of society in the process.
The show had a line-up of comedians that included Lenny Henry, Graham Norton, Jonathan Ross and French & Saunders. However, viewers struggled to hear the comedians because of the noise coming from the celebrity green room and audience. Presenters seemed to be confused by faulty video clips and autocues
The whole show became a bit of a farce after Vic Reeves brandished a fake penis at Susanna Reid in what was intended to be an innuendo reference to the movie ‘Kong’ before the 9pm watershed that seemed to upset most, and led to the complaints to Ofcom.
Steve Coogan and Russell Brand both upset viewers too; Brand heavily criticised for saying “f***ing hell” live on air after yet another technical glitch saw the broadcast temporarily fall off air later on. The show was still very successful in raising over £73 million, with an average of 6.2 milion viewers tuning in to watch it. Viewers and money alone does not compensate for the poor judgement of the comedians in swearing on air before the waterdhed period. Russell Brand is no stranger to controversy, but at 40 years of age and a fair bit of intelligence, the Essex born comedian should know better. Brand has always been a bit of a funny character, and was trying to reflect the every day person by swearing on television. However, programme makers should have warned their guests and hosts before going on air to conduct themselves reasonably.
Ofcom will be expected to take a clear stance against this kind of behaviour, and really should not need to assess the complaints before deciding whether to investigate. We must assume that Ofcom did not watch the programme themselves, because if they did it will be obvious that an investigation is necessary.