Ofcom Reveals Most Complained About U.K. Shows of 2023

Ofcom Reveals Most Complained About U.K. Shows of 2023

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Dan Wootton’s eponymous GB News show and King Charles III’s coronation attracted the most complaints from U.K. viewers in 2023 according to Ofcom.

The U.K. media regulator has unveiled its list of the most complained about shows this year. Unsurprisingly, most of them were current affairs-related.

A September episode of Wootton’s show, “Dan Wootton Tonight,” topped the list with 8,867 complaints after the anchor and his guest, actor Laurence Fox, made what Ofcom called “misogynistic comments” about a female journalist. Ofcom is currently investigating the complaints.

Meanwhile it was “Bridgerton” star Adjoa Andoh’s comments during the king’s coronation back in May that attracted the second highest number of objections, with Ofcom receiving 8,421 complaints. Andoh, a guest commentator on ITV’s broadcast of the ceremony, remarked that the Buckingham Palace balcony was “terribly white” as King Charles and his family appeared to wave to the crowds. Ofcom said it would not investigate the comments, taking into account freedom of expression and the fact the comments were a “personal observation.”

The third highest complained about show this year, which saw 2,391 complaints come in, related to “This Morning” anchor Richard Madeley. He asked a British politician with family members in Gaza whether they had heard “word on the street” about Hamas’s plans to murder 1,400 civilians in Israel before the Oct. 7 attack. Ofcom said Madeley’s remarks were “potentially offensive” but acknowledged that in light of the entire 15-minute interview, which included a discussion of Hamas using Gaza citizens as human shields, the media regulator would not be investigating. Madeley apologized after the interview.

Overall in 2023 Ofcom received 69,236 complaints about 9,638 cases — twice as many complaints as the previous year — although they noted that the two most complained about programs made up nearly a quarter of that total.

The complaints also don’t include any relating to the BBC, which are investigated by the BBC themselves as per the corporation’s charter.

Ofcom also noted that one in ten complaints related to coverage of the Hamas-Israel conflict, which started in October.

Rounding out the top 10 most complained about U.K. programs of 2023 were:

4. “Jeremy Vine” on Channel 5, which received 2,302 complaints following a discussion about a junior doctors’ pay dispute. (Ofcom did not take action).

5. “Breakfast with Kay Burley” on Sky News, which received 1,880 complaints after Burley asked an Israeli spokesperson whether Israel “values” the lives of Palestinians “less” because it had agreed to exchange 150 Palestinians convicted of offences including attempted murder and terrorism for 50 child hostages and their mothers. (Ofcom did not take action).

6. “Lee Anderson’s Real World” on GB News, which received 1,697 complaints relating to the fact that both Anderson and his guest are Conservative MPs. (Ofcom published an assessment which found the show had sufficiently included a “wide range of significant views”).

7. “Breakfast with Kay Burley” on Sky News, which received 1,640 complaints claiming Burley had misrepresented comments by the Palestinian ambassador. (Ofcom is still assessing the complaints).

8. “Naked Education” on Channel 4, which received 1,285 complaints due to nudity before the watershed. (Ofcom did not take action after an initial assessment).

9. “This Morning” on ITV, which received 1,092 complaints after anchor Vanessa Feltz told a caller to the show that her mother-in-law, who did not allow any gluten into her home due to coeliac disease, was being “completely unreasonable.” The show addressed the backlash the next day by inviting its resident doctor to discuss coeliac. (Ofcom is still assessing complaints).

10. “Love Island” on ITV2, which received 992 complaints claiming that one of the contestants was being bullied and complaining about another contestant, who’d been voted off, returning to the show. (Ofcom did not take action).

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