‘It never fails to amaze me when I read figures associated with how many British people take the time to make complaints to Ofcom…’
I’m not sure whether I’m amused by the fact that people know how to complain to Ofcom, or whether I’m confused that there are people who are SO offended by something, they simply must report it to someone who isn’t in their immediate family/the person sitting next to them at the time of the alleged offence. I mean, isn’t that what Facebook is for??
As someone who doesn’t really get offended much, I don’t understand it. Don’t get me wrong, we absolutely need a body that oversees what’s broadcast on our sets, but I’m just not sure I’m capable of the level of outrage needed to make me do anything more than swear out loud in the general direction of the TV.
To be honest, though, if swearing out loud is a sign of my outrage, I’m in serious danger of having a stroke on a bi-hourly basis.
Loose Women/Celebrity Big Brother Scandals
My interest in Ofcom complaints was spiked by the fact that UK TV recently suffered two scandals (I use the term loosely) in the space of a few days. The first was on day time show, Loose Women, and the second on the utterly pointless waste of air-time that is Celebrity Big Brother.
The geniuses behind the morning show, Loose Women, decided to get two women, who clearly had huge issues with each other, together and make them talk about it. As predicted, it went horribly wrong (or right, if you’re the producers of the show….). After a heated argument, which involved several other women of a similarly loose nature, one of them walked off set in the huff.
This led to an outcry about bullying and made actual headlines for days afterwards. Not only were people doing the usual social media commentating, but 7,000 people were so enraged by the exchange on the show, they made official complaints. 7,000 PEOPLE.
As annoying as the fight was, at no point did I feel the need to contact anyone. This is mainly because…well, I just don’t care about it. Call me heartless or lazy but my only instinct was to make it stop. I successfully managed that by switching TV channels and avoiding news stories until the whole thing had died down.
Later that same week, the outcry was even worse when an incident occurred on Celebrity Big Brother. Like Loose Women, I don’t watch CBB, but the fallout from the incident dominated so many headlines, it was impossible for any one who reads the news to avoid.
What appeared to be a harmless play fight between a male and female contestant turned nasty when the female participant later decided she’d actually been attacked. And the country was up in arms. And I largely agreed with the sentiment.
More than 21,000 people scrambled to Ofcom to make their feelings known. While I agreed that it was a nasty allegation, my response was to do little more than than roll my eyes and pat myself on the back for not watching in the first place.
All the celebrity nonsense from the week got me thinking about what really riles us up. For the first time in my life, I paid a visit to Ofcom’s website so I could quite literally see what we’re all bitching about.
It was so much fun, in fact, I’ve done it countless times since. In my defence, all the time I spend NOT watching shitty TV shows gives me a window to undertake this kind of high end research. You’re welcome.
This is what I uncovered…
Audience Complaints 2018
Ofcom record their complaints on a weekly basis. This is largely annoying as it meant I had a trawl through pages and pages of stats just to find out the following: NO ONE LIKES CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER.
Seriously, this year’s CBB has been the most complained show on TV for the past 3 months. Not only does it hold the number 1 slot but, for the most part, it’s also second AND third. That cannot be easy to do.
Even more impressive was that, for a single week in August, it was the ONLY show people complained about. However, Ofcom only produces records for shows with more than 10 complaints per episode, so there could be an old lady in Port Tablot raging against the jam to cream ratio of a Bake Off contestant’s Victoria Sponge on a regular basis and we’d be none the wiser.
What I really want to know is this: If you complain about, say, a Friday episode of CBB, do you then go back and watch Saturday’s knowing that it might well annoy you as much? Or do you do the sensible thing and watch something less…well, shit?
What I mean is, were the people who wrote to Ofcom on the Friday the same people who emailed them on Saturday? Or, were the Saturday people a brand new audience? In my opinion, if you watch it at ALL you run the risk of being offended as that’s the entire point of the show.
Brits Don’t Approve of News
When I got finally got past the CBB stats, I soon realised that the people of Britain also don’t really approve of the news. ITV and Sky were both complained about, along with Good Morning Britain. I don’t watch any of them, so I can’t comment on how offensive they might be.
Unfortunately, the stats don’t tell you what it was about the news programmes that people were annoyed about. Was it a story? as we all know how awful they can be, or was it a garish tie being worn by one of the presenters?
Although I’m not sure what’s going on with ITV, I know Kay Burley’s on Sky News, so I’m going to assume that she’s the sole reason people are offended by that channel.
Back in July, Ofcom’s complaints mainly featured Love Island. I can’t say I’m really surprised by this and hope that licence payers were literally bitching that it was being broadcast. As far as I’m concerned, if you watch Love Island, you really have no recourse to complain about anything.
I jest, of course. I’m sure it was amazing and totally educational at the same time. I can’t wait for the spike in complaints when it comes back in 2019.
What Are We Complaining About Now?
I’m pleased to report that since the end of Love Island and CBB (and now that Loose Women has apparently returned to being a non-bullying environment), the Great British public have found themselves with very little to get their knickers in a twist about.
Complaints to Ofcom have reduced by 10 million percent (I estimating, here…) and we’ve gone back to bitching about journalists and the occasional episode of Coronation Street.
All Time Record
It would appear that, when it comes to our moans, little has changed over the past decade. While we do nothing more than inwardly seethe with someone pushes in front of us in a supermarket queue, we’re clearly not frightened to make our feelings known when it comes to Big Brother.
Ofcom’s top complaint of all time comes from the 2007 show when Jade Goody displayed her racist tendencies when chatting to, and about, fellow contestant, Shilpa Shetty. The incident garnered so many complaints, the show was taken off air for a year.
And what a year it was! Not for Ofcom, obviously, as they had to make half their workforce redundant but, you know, for the rest of us.
Don’t worry about Ofcom’s employees too much, though. X Factor has already arrived back on our screens and it’s only a few weeks until Holly Willoughby’s receiving complaints for not being Ant McPartlin. And if all that wasn’t enough, we’re about to see our first ever female Dr Who.
It’s shaping up to be a pretty busy Autumn for the good folks at Ofcom and I’m currently swithering whether to get a group of 9 other people together to make the first ever certified complaint about Songs of Praise. No, seriously.
Have you ever complained to Ofcom?