Over 900 complaints but Channel 4 escapes any 'Big Brother' trouble

LONDON - Channel 4 has been cleared of any breaches of the Broadcasting Code during this year's 'Big Brother', despite more than 900 complaints during the course of the series, including the notorious wine bottle scene involving Kinga.

Ofcom published its ruling today on a total of 927 complaints received over the duration of the series, clearing Channel 4 of any breaches of the Broadcasting Code.

The most complained about scene was an interview between 'Big Brother' host Davina McCall and the Zimbabwean nurse Makosi, a contestant who became notorious for telling numerous lies to housemates in the house.

Ofcom said that 517 viewers had complained over the interview, many of whom appeared to have written as part of a campaign. They said that Makosi was subjected to racial abuse on the catwalk, and that McCall treated her unfairly during the interview, which in their view amounted to racial discrimination.

Other scenes that drew the ire of viewers included the infamous drunken night when contestant Kinga took an empty wine bottle and asked her fellow housemates "shall I stick it up my fanny?", moments later appearing to have done exactly that.

It drew 259 complaints, with viewers concerned not only at the offence and the exploitation of the scene, but also that Kinga may have injured herself.

Also drawing complaints from viewers was a scene where Makosi and Anthony appeared to have sex in a hot tub, followed by Makosi requesting the morning-after pill; and a fancy dress party where Craig made advances towards Anthony, who was somewhat the worse for wear.

Channel 4 was not asked to respond to all the complaints. However, it did respond to the Kinga issue, saying it had carefully considered the decision to broadcast the scene. In the end, the broadcaster said it had been included because editorially it had been a major incident. It had been trailed with two warnings, and the footage had been carefully edited so that only the minimum of potentially offensive footage was shown.

In its ruling, Ofcom said: "While the sequences may certainly have been shocking to some, it was broadcast late at night, in the context of a well-known series which is dedicated to showing viewers what actually occurs within the house (however unpalatable that may be), and information was given by Channel 4 to alert viewers before the programme and in the commercial break preceding the scene. For these reasons, the scenes in this programme were not in breach of the rules concerning offence in the Code."

Channel 4 was cleared of breaching the Broadcasting Code in regards to all the other complaints.

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