Melon Farmers Original Version

UK TV Talent Shows

A talent for whingeing


Updated: Britain's got no talent for speaking openly about sensitive issues...

24,500 people complain to Ofcom about a Black Lives Matter dance performance on Britain's Got Talent

Link Here17th September 2020
Full story: UK TV Talent Shows...A talent for whingeing
Britain's Got Talent has been the subject of 10,267 viewer complaints from furious viewers over an act on the show. This is the second highest tally of complaints in the last ten years.

Ashley Banjo led the Diversity dance troupe in a Black Lives Matter routine. The performance, which saw Jordan's brother Ashley lying on the floor with a white police officer kneeling on him , referenced the death of George Floyd in the US. There were also backing dancers performing dressed in riot gear and the group took the knee during the performance.

Ashley reported that he had received a barrage of abuse over the performance. He tweeted:

So much to say... But I'll Just let the performance talk. Thousands of messages of Love and support - Thank you. For the thousands of messages of hate and ignorance - Thank you. You highlight exactly what needs to change. Sending nothing but love to you all. 

The Sun seemed a little reluctant to describe what the complaints were about but summarised that they were insisting that a political statement had no place on the talent show.

Update: More complaints

16th September 2020. See article from

TV censor Ofcom has confirmed the number of complaints for Britain's Got Talent have continue to rise over the weekend and now stand at 23,308.

 An ITV spokesman responded to the complaints:

Britain's Got Talent has always been an inclusive show, which showcases diversity and supports strong storytelling in all forms and ITV stands behind the decision to broadcast Diversity's performance on BGT.

Ashley and the group are a great example of the talent, creativity and diversity of modern Britain and their performance was an authentic, heartfelt response to many of the issues and events which have affected society in 2020.

Update: Ofcom dismisses the complaints

17th September 2020. See report [pdf] from

Ofcom received approximately 24,500 complaints about this performance on Britain's Got Talent.

We also received a number of messages of support and praise for the performance. In summary, the complaints about the performance raised a range of concerns, including that it:

  • was unsuitable for a family audience due to themes of violence and racism;
  • encouraged societal division and was racist towards White people;
  • negatively portrayed White police officers, including in a depiction of the death of George Floyd, and encouraged violence against the police; and,
  • expressed support for the political organisation Black Lives Matter.
Ofcom has assessed this programme against the relevant rules in the Broadcasting Code. Our assessment is that this programme did not raise any issues which warranted investigation. In our view, Diversity's performance was an artistic expression of topical social issues and did not contain any content which was racist, unsuitably violent or otherwise inappropriate in the context of this programme.

Given the significant publicity surrounding this case and the high volume of complaints received, we have decided to publish our reasons for this assessment.



Update: Brown Nosing the Daily Mail...

Ofcom whinge at a pixellated bare bottom on Britain's Got More Talent

Link Here10th September 2013
Full story: UK TV Talent Shows...A talent for whingeing

Britain's Got More Talent ITV2
13 April 2013, 20:35,
14 April 2013, 17:30
17 April 2013, 06:30 and 13:25

Britain's Got More Talent is the companion show to the ITV talent series Britain's Got Talent, which aims to find an unknown star from the general public to perform at the annual Royal Variety Performance.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to scenes of nudity in the episode broadcast on 13 April 2013 at 20:30.

Ofcom viewed a recording and noted a performance by Scarlet around 20:55, which included the following:

Scarlet unzipped, dropped and stepped out of her dress entirely, leaving her wearing only a necklace and with a feather boa to cover her body (which she picked up from a chair at this point). She turned to the audience to reveal her naked bottom, which she wiggled. This sequence consisted of: a two second close-up of Scarlet unzipping the back of her dress; a two second mid shot of her wriggling her bottom out of the dress; a one second close up of her bottom; a two second long to mid zoom showing Scarlet in wide shot with her naked bottom to the audience; a two second mid shot of Scarlet shaking her naked bottom to the audience; and a later one second shot of Scarlet shaking her naked bottom to the audience. The images were pixellated and intercut with shots of the audience and the judges' reactions.

At the end of the routine, Scarlet turned back to the audience, her feather boa covering her front, and presenter Declan Donnelly came on stage and handed her a dressing gown.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.3 of the Code, which states:

Children protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.3

The performance in question was a burlesque act, which is a variety genre characterised by flirtatious comedy, mime, dancing and striptease. We noted that this performance as a whole lasted approximately 90 seconds and contained shots of Scarlet removing her dress and shaking her naked bottom at the audience (as set out in the Introduction). We noted that from the point when Scarlet removed her dress, there were five individual shots totalling around 10 seconds giving particular focus to her naked and pixellated buttocks.

As already pointed out Ofcom guidance states that: It is important to note that in pre-watershed content, Ofcom would not expect to see singers and dancers wearing clothing that does not adequately cover their bodies (in particular their breasts, genital area and buttocks) .

Ofcom considered in this latest broadcast that the nudity was more evident than the previous case due to the frequency and close-up nature of some of the images of the performer's naked buttocks. While we noted the nudity was pixellated, Ofcom disagreed with ITV and considered it was of limited effectiveness and did not sufficiently obscure the performer's naked buttocks.

Taking into account the level of detail in this sequence, Ofcom did not consider that the Licensee had taken adequate steps to limit the images of nudity. The frequency and detail of these images in context of a striptease in a burlesque act meant that on balance they were not suitable for children.

Breaches of rule 1.3



Update: Effing Easily Offended by X Factor Judge...

Ofcom debates where the term 'effing' lies on the scale of 'damn' to 'fuck'

Link Here 4th June 2013
Full story: UK TV Talent Shows...A talent for whingeing

The X Factor Results Show
ITV1, 18 November 2012, 20:00

The X Factor is a popular musical talent show broadcast weekly. A combination of a panel of four judges and viewers' votes decide which act wins the prize of a recording contract. This one hour live episode of The X Factor revealed which two acts would perform again in the elimination round having received the fewest votes from viewers.

During the programme, it was announced that the two contestants facing elimination were Ella Henderson and James Arthur. One of the judges on the programme, Nicole Scherzinger, introduced her act (James Arthur) as follows:

I am so proud, this is James 'effing' Arthur .

Ofcom received 52 complaints from viewers who considered that Nicole Scherzinger's language was inappropriate given the show's pre-watershed scheduling

Ofcom considered the material raised issues warranting investigation under the following rule of the Code.

Rule 1.16: Offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed unless it is justified by the context.

ASA Decision: Resolved

Ofcom noted that this was a live broadcast and that recognising the compliance challenges that this presented, the Producer, having previously asked Nicole Sherzinger not to use the word frickin' , reminded her not to swear when introducing her act.

While we recognised that Nicole Scherzinger may have intended to avoid offending viewers by using the term effing , a number of viewers clearly interpreted this word as a substitute for the word fucking . This word in turn, Ofcom's research notes, is considered by audiences to be amongst the most offensive language. Ofcom therefore considered that in the context and bearing in mind the emphatic manner in which Nicole Scherzinger used it, this language had the potential to offend.

By way of clarification, Ofcom emphasises that it does not consider the word effing to be the equivalent of the word fucking , nor does it believe its use is capable of causing the same level of offence as that example of the most offensive language. However, Ofcom rejected ITV's argument that the use of effing in this particular case was not an example of offensive language. By ITV's own acknowledgement, this use of effing might have some potential to offend a small minority of viewers . Ofcom considered effing as used in this particular context was an example of offensive language, and its emphatic use here differed considerably from that in for example the phrase effing and blinding .

Although Nicole Scherzinger may have used the word with the intention of not swearing on air, it was clear that a number of viewers considered the use of the term effing in this context simply as a substitute for fucking , and as a result it was capable of causing a certain amount of offence. In Ofcom's view on balance the use of effing in this specific context exceeded audience expectations for this programme, which is aimed at a family audience, and was not appropriate for a pre-watershed programme with a significant appeal to children. Ofcom did not therefore consider that this use of offensive language was justified by the context.

However, we noted the measures ITV undertook to remind judges to avoid using offensive language before the broadcast, including specifically asking Nicole Scherzinger to avoid using words that may be interpreted differently by a UK audience, the consideration given during the broadcast to the most appropriate response to Nicole Scherzinger's use of effing , and its submissions on the differing levels of offence that a US and UK audience may attach to this particular term. We

also took into account that The X Factor Results Show is broadcast live and that the elimination round can often be tense and emotionally charged.

Taking these factors into account, Ofcom considered the matter resolved.



Update: Talented Thighs...

Daily Mail drag up a few trivial tweets and a trivial sound bite about Jennifer Lopez on Britain's Got Talent

Link Here30th May 2013
Full story: UK TV Talent Shows...A talent for whingeing

Jennifer Lopez performed her single Live It Up on Britain's Got Talent semi-final results show on Tuesday. The act was shown after the 9pm watershed.

She gyrated on stage in a thong and fishnet tights. Her dance routine provoked  the inevitable 'furious backlash', with campaigners calling on Ofcom to 'crack down' on ITV for airing it on a family show.

Apparently thousands of viewers took to Twitter to make their comments, with one saying the singer looked like a prostitute .

Judge Amanda Holden seemed to be a fan, declaring: JLo's arse. I just wanted to bite it. It was fabulous .

Mediawatch UK said the programme had deliberately targeted younger viewers by screening the episode during the half-term holiday. The group claimed that millions of children will have watched the performance, despite the lateness of the hour.

Director Vivienne Pattinson whiged:

Parents will have been more likely to let their children stay up beyond their normal bedtimes.

And given the main show is incredibly popular with children, lots of them will have wanted to stay up a bit later to find out who won. It was totally inappropriate to show something like this, given their audience. It seems as if they never learn.

TV censor Ofcom said it had received 30 complaints about the performance so far.

An ITV spokesman said:

We do not believe that Jennifer Lopez's performance would have exceeded the expectations of the vast majority of the audience for this long-established entertainment programme.



Updated: Daily Mail Recommends...

Britain's Got Talent for trivial tweeting

Link Here16th April 2013
Full story: UK TV Talent Shows...A talent for whingeing

The Daily Mail enjoyed Britain's Got Talent immensely and had a good rummage around in their Scrabble bag of random hype words:

Britain's Got Talent has been hit by a 'huge backlash' [= a few tweets] from viewers after broadcasting a performance from an 11-year-old schoolgirl singing a song about a one night stand, and a 'highly sexualised' [=marginally sexy] lapdancing performance - all before the 9pm watershed.

The first episode of this year's ITV talent contest, which was shown at 7pm on Saturday night and watched by more than 13 million people, was branded totally unsuitable [= carefully edited for a family audience] by 'outraged parents' [= Daily Mail hacks].

Contestant Keri Graham, whose performance saw her stripping down to her 'underwear' [=shorts], writhing 'semi-naked' [=modestly costumed] on a chair and 'gyrating on Simon Cowell' [= put a leg over his shoulder], is a professional stripper.

A second act featured 11-year-old Arixsander Libantino performing a rendition of Jennifer Hudson song One Night Only , which features the lyrics:

You've got one night only,
that's all you have to spare,
let's not pretend to care,
come on, big baby,
come on,
we only have 'til dawn.

The Daily Mail then dragged up half a dozen trivial tweets to justify the 'huge backlash'.

Vivienne Pattison, director of Mediawatch UK said:

Having an 11-year-old girl sing an adult song like this is simply sexualising children. It's incredibly damaging because this show is marketed at primary school children.

ITV appear to have completely ignored the Ofcom guidelines - I don't even know why they put the guidelines out. This kind of thing is not what families want to see.

We are sleepwalking into a situation where pornography is the norm.

A spokesman for ITV said :

Mindful of our family audience, the performance was carefully edited to ensure it was suitably inexplicit.

Ofcom said that it was too early to tell if they had received any complaints from the public.

Update: Independent takes up the Twitter Trawl

16th April 2013. See  article from

Dan reports that the Independent is trawling Twitter for complaints about the show. It seems it's not just the Daily Mail and right-wing tabloids which do this.

You would think The Independent would have more sense. Obviously not.

See Britain's Got Talent draws complaints over lap dance and child singing about one-night stand from



Update: Funnily Enough...

Ofcom dismisses whinges about Lorna Bliss in a sexy outfit on the X Factor

Link Here21st December 2012
Full story: UK TV Talent Shows...A talent for whingeing

The X Factor
ITV1, 9 September 2012, 20:00

The episode of The X Factor broadcast on 9 September 2012 was pre-recorded and showed early auditions that took place in London. One of the participants in this programme was a Britney Spears impersonator named Lorna Bliss. The programme started at 20:00 and Lorna's performance was shown at approximately 20:50.

A total of 35 complainants alerted Ofcom to her act. In summary the complainants considered the performance was inappropriate for broadcast during a family show because Lorna's outfit and performance were unsuitable for a child audience.

Ofcom noted that the programme featured a one and a half minute introductory piece about Lorna which included a short sequence filmed backstage with another auditionee who described her outfit as a bit see through ; and a sequence prior to her performance on stage in which she was seen talking, in a flirtatious manner, to a member of the production crew and later bending over to touch her toes (with her buttocks to camera) in order to warm up before her audition.

The sequence was followed by Lorna's one and a half minute performance to the audio track Dance 'Til the World Ends by Britney Spears, which consisted of: Lorna singing the track and performing a dance routine on stage; sitting astride the judge Louis Walsh and pushing his head into her breasts (although this image was limited); chasing the judge Gary Barlow around the auditorium; lying across the lap of a member of the audience who was seated; crawling across the floor and then walking back onto stage before the audio track was abruptly stopped. As she stood on stage, the camera briefly moved up her body, putting a focus on it and her outfit, before the audition ended.

Throughout the programme Lorna Bliss was shown wearing a lime green bikini (which exposed her buttocks) with a fishnet body stocking over the top and black boots. By the end of her performance her body stocking had slipped below her breasts, exposing her bikini top.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.3:

Children protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.

ITV said that:

By comparison, the outfit Lorna chose to wear on The X Factor consisted of an entirely opaque bra and thong, covered by a body stocking which was good deal less revealing than her Britney-style Toxic costume. ITV added that: [T]he performance was carefully edited, with a preponderance of wide shots whilst she was on stage, clambering over the judge's table or running around the arena and diving into the audience. Close ups on her whilst she was receiving the judge's (universally hostile) comments after the performance were focused on her face and her reactions to these comments.

The image of Lorna bending over to warm up prior to going on stage was included specifically to reflect Lorna's character as a performer. She was clearly being flirtatious with the production crew prior to going on stage and deliberately playing up to the camera by turning around and bending over in this way, but the shot was relatively brief and not in close up, and thus revealed no intimate detail of her anatomy, with her buttocks covered by her body stocking. The Licensee said that during her act Lorna did climb onto the judges' table and briefly grabbed Louis Walsh, who was clearly not responsive to this overture, but this was a clumsy gambit for attention's sake that was comical rather than erotic in tone. 

The single pan shot up her body whilst she stood on stage did not in our view render the sequence as a whole inappropriate, given her costume still sufficiently covered her body. We therefore considered her audition throughout to be saucy rather than being overtly erotic or sexualised.

Ofcom Decision: Not in Breach

Ofcom noted that Lorna Bliss' performance had some flirtatious overtones and included images of Lorna Bliss adopting some mildly provocative positions at the start of her performance and throughout. The most noticeable examples were: firstly, prior to her performance when she was warming up backstage, she bent over to touch her toes and her buttocks (covered by a fishnet body stocking) were briefly visible in a mid-shot; secondly, when she was sitting astride the judge Louis Walsh; and thirdly, once her act had finished and she was back on stage, the camera moved up her body, putting a focus on her outfit which was a bikini and a fishnet body stocking.

We noted the performance was mostly shot from a wide angle, so minimising the potential impact of the flirtatious or limited sexualised overtones of the act and as ITV highlighted, where there were close-up images, these focused on her face only, particularly to show her facial expressions when she received feedback from the judges, which was wholly negative. During Lorna's performance the camera shots changed quickly and the images were intercut with reactions from the judges and members of the audience, resulting in her actions and shots of the performance being very brief. Further, we noted that Lorna was not clearly visible as she moved through the audience, due to the poor lighting in that part of the auditorium.

Further, Ofcom Guidance states that broadcasters should ensure that the content is suitable for family viewing throughout the duration of the programme . We considered that despite Lorna's performance being broadcast at 20:50, the images of Lorna straddling the judge, Louis Walsh, and the single shot moving up Lorna's body, were potentially problematic given this was a pre-watershed programme.

However, we noted that these potentially problematic shots were very limited in terms of detail and duration. We considered, on balance, that the performance, taken as a whole, was presented in a style which sought to derive humour from the participant's conduct and interaction with the judges and the audience, and did not convey an overtly sexualised theme. Ofcom is nevertheless taking the opportunity to remind ITV to ensure that careful consideration is given to the use of such images in the broadcast of programmes scheduled before the 21:00 watershed.

Not in Breach of Rule 1.3



Update: Judged UnPC...

Whinges about Lorna Bliss on X Factor

Link Here11th September 2012
Full story: UK TV Talent Shows...A talent for whingeing

Lorna Bliss who got noticed for tame stripper antics on Britain's Got Talent returned for an audition on the X Factor.

A few TV viewers have apparently complained to Ofcom about her costume consisting of a bra, g-string and a fishnet body stocking.

Ofcom spokesman Rhys Hurd said the regulator had received a number of complaints, adding: A decision will be taken whether we hold an investigation into the act.

Lorna, who was rejected by judges, at one stage wiggled her bottom at the audience. She gyrated in judge Louis Walsh's face and chased Gary Barlow through the audience.

The show was screened between 8pm and 9pm on Sunday evening.


6th March

Update: Frankie Cocozza's X Factor...

Ofcom seems to judge strong language transgressions on the speed of apology and the depth of grovel

 The X Factor Results Show
ITV1, 23 October 2011, 20:00

This one hour live episode of The X Factor revealed which contestants had received the highest number of votes to keep them in the competition. Channel TV complied the programme on behalf of the ITV Network for ITV1.

A total of 108 complaints to Ofcom highlighted the use of the word 'fuck'.

Ofcom noted that at approximately 20:42 presenter Dermot O'Leary announced that the contestant Frankie Cocozza had received enough votes to secure his place in the following week's show, to which Frankie Cocozza responded: Fucking have it. Get in there.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.14 of the Code, which states:

The most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed (in the case of television) ...

Channel TV said it deeply regretted Frankie Cocozza?s unexpected and unprompted outburst and had already apologised directly to viewers who had contacted ITV to complain.

The Licensee said that to prevent the broadcast of offensive language on the show judges, contestants and guests are all briefed carefully before they take part in the programme. Channel TV said that until now this has been all that was needed .

Channel TV said: Reviewing the footage it [i.e. Frankie Cocozza's use of bad language] was barely audible above the studio furore but is just about discernable in a quieter domestic setting . In its view not all viewers would have heard the offensive language as it was broadcast.

The Licensee explained that had we appreciated that the comment was audible to viewers, we would have asked [presenter] Dermot O'Leary to make an immediate apology . Channel TV said it only became apparent towards the end of the broadcast, through monitoring online social media activity, that in fact Frankie Cocozza had used some offensive language and that it had been heard by some viewers.

As a result, the hosts of The Xtra Factor on ITV2 (which is broadcast live immediately after The X Factor Results Show) apologised for any offence caused, as did Frankie himself.

The Licensee pointed out that an audio edit was made to remove the offensive language from ITV?s online catch up service (ITV Player).

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.14

Ofcom noted that the word fucking was clearly audible to viewers who were watching the programme at approximately twenty minutes before the 9pm watershed. This was particularly unacceptable in the context of a programme that attracts a substantial family audience.

Later that evening when the Licensee realised the offensive language had been audible to viewers, an apology was broadcast during a live interview with Frankie Cocozza on The Xtra Factor on ITV2. One of the hosts stated: Apologies to anyone who heard the swearing to which Frankie responded: yes, sorry . Ofcom noted however that this apology was broadcast approximately 44 minutes after the offensive language occurred, and on a different channel.

Ofcom was particularly concerned that a high profile live programme such as this did not already have adequate systems in place to monitor the transmission output of the programme as it was broadcast. We considered that in this instance the offensive term was clearly audible to viewers. Had there been suitable compliance procedures in place the broadcaster could have responded in a more timely and appropriate fashion. Licensees are reminded that broadcasting live programme content can pose special challenges and as a result extra measures may be needed to ensure compliance with the Code.

The programme was in breach of Rule 1.14 of the Code.


22nd November

Update: Rihanna's Fuck Off Shoes...

More nonsensical press fascination with the X-Factor

Pop star Rihanna wore shoes daubed with the words 'Fuck Off' live on The X Factor. The singer 'shocked' those in the studio audience that were close enough to read her 'outrageous' footwear.

The superstar asked to tone down from her sexy act in last year's final cheekily tricked show bosses by wearing a prim tartan frock. But the words Fuck off were spotted in close-up shots.

Fans in the front row gasped and pointed. Lucy Morgan said: I was shocked. She's a rebel. Tamzin Lewis said: They should have known she'd do something like that.

The £ 100 creeper-style shoes she wore are a collaboration between the Indian-born London designer Ashish Gupta and the British rock n roll footwear brand Underground. They are decorated with gold studs and come with a Tipp-Ex pen to add your own designs.

Last night an X Factor spokesman said: There were no close up shots of Rihanna's shoes. We believe the performance was suitable.


17th August

Update: A Talent for Pandering to Nutters...

Ofcom said to be preparing buffer censorship rules to stop broadcasters getting anywhere near breaching the actual censorship rules

X Factor producers have been told by Ofcom to keep the new series clean in the wake of the nutter overreaction to sexy performances from Rihanna and Christina Aguilera last year.

Ofcom ruled in April the final was at the limit of acceptability for broadcast before 9pm for a family audience.

Ofcom have had talks with producers ahead of Saturday's opener to ensure there is no repeat of the nutter nonsense.

An X Factor source said:

There have been lots of conversations about making sure The X Factor stays a family show and doesn't become controversial for the wrong reasons. Ofcom made themselves very clear about what they expect, and the message they gave us was basically to cut the smut.

Ofcom is drawing up new guidelines on the use of 'racy imagery' on family shows and plans to publish them by the end of the year. The TV censor said last month:

The guidelines will be there to make sure broadcasters like ITV don't hover near the boundaries of harmful content to children.

This is what happened with Rihanna's performance on the show last year, where the broadcasting code was almost breached.

Ofcom confirmed it had discussed the guidelines with ITV.


23rd April

Comment: At the Very Margin of Acceptability...

Ofcom begrudgingly accepts mildly sexy X Factor dancer performances

The X Factor Final
ITV1, 11 December 2010, 19:00 (repeated 12 December 2010, 09:30)

The X Factor Final was the climax of the seventh series of this popular talent show.

While viewers waited for the voting to be concluded and the announcement of the name of the act which had made it through to the Sunday final show, the programme featured two well known singers. One, Rihanna, performed her latest song, What's My Name , at 20:32 in a dress which was removed by a dancer during the performance to reveal a strapless top and high waisted pants. Later at 20:47 Christina Aguilera sang the song Express from the film Burlesque in which she stars. This featured the singer with a number of dancers performing in a burlesque- style of dance and dress.

Ofcom received 2,868 complaints that the performances by Rihanna and Christina Aguilera were too sexually explicit for broadcast before the 21:00 watershed. Some considered that The X Factor was a family show and that the content of both performances was not suitable for children to view before the watershed. With reference to both performances complainants commented that they [Rihanna and Christina Aguilera] performed in a very sexual manner and the content was too sexually explicit and inappropriate for the young audience of this show . With specific reference to Christina Aguilera's performance, complainants expressed concern that: the dancing, costumes and tone were sexually explicit and at odds with the watershed which should seek to protect children from sexualisation and there were extremely revealing background dancers performing indecent dance moves .

Approximately 2,000 of the 2,868 complaints about this programme were received following coverage about the performances in a daily national newspaper. The newspaper coverage reported on concerns that the performances were too explicit for a family programme, and included a number of still images of the performances. However, from a comparison of the images it is clear that the photographs that were published in the newspaper were significantly more graphic and close-up than the material that had been broadcast in the programme, and had been taken from a different angle to the television cameras. Readers of the newspaper would have therefore been left with the impression that the programme contained significantly more graphic material than had actually been broadcast.

Ofcom considered:

  • Rule 1.3: Children must be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.
  • Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context...

Ofcom Decision: Not in Breach...Just...

In considering this case, Ofcom took into account that The X Factor is a Saturday night programme which many families sit down together to watch.

Rihanna's performance

With reference to Rihanna's performance (which commenced at 20:32), Ofcom noted that she began in a long wrap-around dress and approximately half way through the routine the dress was removed by a dancer to reveal a strapless top and high- waisted pants.

Rhianna's dance routine had some mildly sexual overtones and included images of her gyrating and rocking her buttocks. However, it was largely shot at a wide angle to show all of the dancers on the stage and from a distance. Where there were close ups of Rhianna, these focussed on her front or her head and shoulders, not her exposed back. Additionally, the camera panned quickly and continuously throughout the performance, resulting in the shots of the individual dance movements of both Rihanna and her dancers being very brief.

Ofcom was therefore of the view that, taken as a whole, the performance by Rihanna was presented in a style which would not have exceeded the likely expectations of the audience either on 11 December between 20:30 and 21:00 or the following morning from 09:30. With reference to the content, the performer and the dancers were in Ofcom's opinion adequately dressed with clothing covering their buttocks. The part of the dance routine which featured some gentle thrusting of the buttocks by Rihanna was in keeping with her performing style, suitably limited and brief in duration, and in Ofcom's view was suitable for a pre-watershed audience.

Ofcom concluded therefore that this material was appropriately scheduled and the broadcaster complied with Rule 1.3.

Christina Aguilera's performance

Ofcom considered that this performance taken as a whole was sexualised in nature to some extent. The outfits of some of the dancers were revealing, with limited coverage of the buttocks, and were of a sexualised nature because they were based on lingerie such as basques, stockings and suspenders. The outfits, taken together with dance positions featuring thrusting buttocks and women bent over chairs, resulted in a routine which aimed to reflect the essence of burlesque but contained sexualised elements. Taken individually, some of these images may not be uncommon in programmes broadcast pre-watershed. The routine however had a number of simultaneous, sexualised elements concentrated into a relatively short period of time and there was therefore a cumulative effect.

We note the explanation given by Channel TV that its control over the detailed nature of the performance itself was limited in this case. In such circumstances, broadcasters must take particular care to employ other measures to retain independence of editorial control. In this case, we acknowledge that Channel TV had sought to minimise the potential for offence by taking other measures, such as particular camera angles. Therefore, while the dancers did adopt some sexualised positions intermittently as described above, Ofcom noted that shots of these poses were fleeting, as is expected in a fast paced routine. Additionally, the performance was largely shot at a wide angle to show all of the dancers on the stage and from a distance – minimising the potential impact.

Importantly, throughout the routine there were no close-up shots of individual dancers so the viewer was not drawn to any one dancer's clothing or actions in detail. The dancers were in effect a backdrop to Christina Aguilera, who was not wearing similar clothing or following the same dance routine. For all these reasons, the impact of the dancers on-screen was significantly lessened.

Ofcom considered that there was editorial justification for the type of costumes that the dancers were wearing, and the style of the dance routine overall. They reflected the burlesque-theme and storyline of the feature film Burlesque in which Christina Aguilera starred, and which was shortly due to go on general cinematic release at the time of this broadcast. However, the overtly sexual nature of the burlesque-style routine of the dancers was, in Ofcom's view, nevertheless clearly capable of causing offence to some viewers and we considered that this content was at the very margin of acceptability for broadcast before the 21:00 watershed, and especially when broadcast on 12 December 2011 at 09:30. However, on balance, and taking all matters into consideration, including the steps taken by Channel TV to minimise the potential for offence, Ofcom was of the view that this performance was not in breach of Rule 1.3 of the Code.

Ofcom concluded however that the performance was sufficiently justified by the context in which it was presented. In particular the performance was within the likely expectations of the audience for pre-watershed programmes. The broadcaster therefore applied generally accepted standards and Rule 2.3 was not breached.

Ofcom will shortly be issuing new guidance about the acceptability of material in pre- watershed programmes that attract large family viewing audiences. We will also be requesting that broadcasters who transmit such programming attend a meeting at Ofcom to discuss the compliance of such material.

Not in Breach of Rules 1.3 and 2.3

Offsite Comment: This is what Ofcom calls 'acceptable'

23rd April 2011. See  article from

One blonde dancer is dressed, if that's the word, in a low-cut basque while striking a lewd pose that leaves nothing to the imagination. Another in skimpy bra, suspenders and stockings leans provocatively over a chair while others leer suggestively into the camera.

The scantily-clad women formed part of the sleazy performance by Christina Aguilera during last year's controversial final of ITV's X Factor. Family friendly? A blonde dancer strikes a raunchy pose that leaves little to the imagination

TV watchdog Ofcom this week ruled that explicit routines by Miss Aguilera and fellow pop star Rihanna were at the limit of acceptability for broadcast before 9pm for a family audience.

But, to the astonishment of many, the media regulator said they did not breach broadcasting rules.

Instead, the regulator rebuked the Daily Mail, saying that some 2,000 of the 2,868 complaints it received followed our coverage of the sexual content of a programme which horrified parents and politicians. Ofcom claimed the Mail used images that suggested the talent show contained significantly more graphic material than had actually been broadcast . Now readers can judge for themselves.

...Read the full article

Comment: Mediawatch-UK

28th April 2011.  From

Vivienne Pattison, of Mediawatch-UK said:

During the last 10 years, it seems the watershed has quietly been eroded. So much so, that Christina Aguilera's sexual X Factor routine was recently cleared by the broadcasting watchdog of being inappropriate for a young audience.

Ofcom did say it was 'at the very margin of acceptability', but it does make you wonder what they would have to do to breach the guidelines. The argument goes that society has changed and, therefore, what's acceptable on television has changed.

However, in recent years, far too much emphasis has been placed on 'freedom of expression' with little or no emphasis on the corresponding responsibilities.

Offsite Comment: An Irish View

30th April 2011. See  article from

The next time you see Christina Aguilera on The X Factor, she will likely be dressed as a nun (and not the perved-up Lady Gaga variety).

Christina-gate is big news in Britain, where Right-wing commentators are of the view that an entire generation risks being corrupted by the sight of Aguilera slow-grinding up against a chair. Which raises the question: has anyone in the UK ever heard of the internet?

The notion that the most scandalous image a young person is likely to see today is a semi-clad pop singer is beyond ludicrous. Five minutes trawling the web will reveal images that make Christina look like a Saturday morning TV presenter from 1979.

...Read the full article


22nd December

Update: Ofcom to Investigate X Factor...

Under rule 1.3a: Nutters must be protected from material that is unsuitable for them

Ofcom has launched an investigation into the X Factor final after thousands of viewers whinged about sexy performances from Rihanna and Christina Aguilera

Ofcom has received 2,750 complaints with an additional 1,500 being registered directly with ITV.

The TV censor will look at whether the show broke the broadcasting code which seeks to protect children. In particular it will look at rule 1.3 of the broadcasting code: Children must also be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.

The ITV show aired between 7pm and 9pm and the producers have said that they were confident the performances given by our guest artistes ... were appropriate for the show .


16th December

Update: A Talent for Sexy...

Miserable politicians and sexualisation 'experts' lay in to sexy performers on X Factor

The X Factor nonsense escalated as the Inequalities Minister warned that the raunchy performances should never have been shown to children.

Lynne Featherstone said that the 'sexualised' routines, which have now sparked 3,000 complaints from viewers, were unsuitable for the show's young fans.

Featherstone said X Factor bosses should have made pre-watershed performances by American pop star Christina Aguilera and Bajan singer Rihanna less raunchy

Featherstone said: It was a bit much because so many young kids – seven and eight-year-olds – watch it.

She spoke out last night as pressure grew on the TV censor Ofcom to launch a full-scale probe into the routines as the regulator said it was still assessing complaints.

There have now been 1,500 calls of complaint made to the censor, with a similar number made to ITV. Up to four million children are believed to have watched the show on Saturday.

Dr Linda Papadopoulos, who wrote a Home Office report on the 'sexualisation' of children, accused ITV and show producers of behaving irresponsibly. She said: What is happening is that sex seems to have become the most important thing. Christina Aguilera and Rihanna are very talented singers and yet the whole performance is not about skill, it is about being sexy. Children are being bombarded with the message that being sexy and being sexual is the way to be appreciated or to be validated. This is a terrible message to be sending out. [But being sexy is a skill too. Surely the whole range of talents should be available for people to excel at. Why disallow one? Jealousy maybe?]

A spokesman for the Mothers' Union said: Do you want a society where young people think their worth is defined by sex appeal – because this is what is being normalised. Its president, Reg Bailey, has already been asked to chair an independent Government review into the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood. [Not showing any bias at all then! This is a worthless report before it's even started]

Last night an ITV spokesman said: We are confident that the performances given by our guest artistes on Saturday were appropriate for the show.

"Christians have something unique to contribute to the discussion"...The same old bollox

Based on article from

The Christian Institute has voiced its 'alarm' over the plummeting standards of decency in broadcasting after lewd performances by US pop stars Rihanna and Christina Aguilera.

Simon Calvert, of the Christian Institute, said ITV had made a catastrophically bad error of judgement in allowing the production to go out before the watershed. He expressed concern over the effect of such performances on young people in particular.

Lots of people are concerned and parents are particularly concerned about the effect this kind of thing has on their sons and daughters, he said. Daughters are made to feel that this is a normal way to behave in public and sons are taught to expect women to behave like that. It is very unhealthy.

Calvert said the level of concern expressed over the performances ought to both encourage and challenge to Christians: It shows we are not the only ones to be concerned about the plummeting standards of decency in broadcasting.

Christians have something unique to contribute to the discussion. As Bible believing Christians, we believe in values like dignity and virtues like modesty and we ought to be more courageous in advancing these values and virtues, whether it's with the neighbour over the garden fence or from our pulpit.


14th December

Update: That Nutter X Factor...

Sexy music performances too much for Mediawatch-UK

ITV faces a backlash after thousands of viewers protested about lewd performances on the X Factor final.

Critics called on TV censor Ofcom to launch an inquiry into why disgusting routines were shown before the watershed.

They challenged whether the performances by U.S. pop stars Christina Aguilera and Rihanna broke Ofcom's broadcasting rules.

'Horrified' parents also accused ITV of breaking the bond of trust with viewers by failing to tone down the performances for younger fans.

By last night ITV had received about 1,000 complaints about the routines with Ofcom understood to have received a further 1,000-plus.

During her Saturday night performance of What's My Name , Rihanna shed her gown and cavorted around the stage in underwear, performing a series of suggestive dance moves.

She was surrounded by an army of dancers who performed in a similar way. This was then followed by Aguilera's performance which saw her in an extremely low-cut black dress writhing around the stage with her troupe of scantily-clad dancers.

The TV pressure group Mediawatch UK said it too had received complaints from the public about Saturday night's final. Director Vivienne Pattison said: I don't think it was suitable for a pre-watershed broadcast, I think that's quite clear.

It was the simulated sexual stuff, that was the problem. I think Ofcom should look into this. Whether the X Factor like it or not they are commanding audiences of more than 19million. They are role models whether they like it or not.

She added: We have a broadcasting code that expects certain things to be post-watershed and I think that one crossed the line.

Former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe, who appeared on this year's Strictly Come Dancing, said: It is before the watershed so parents are entitled to some consideration from the TV bosses. I think it is a pity. It isn't necessary and it should be a family show. If you are going to that sort of thing they should put it on after the watershed and it ceases to be a family show. I think Ofcom should take it seriously. What is the point of having a watershed? I think Strictly by comparison is serious family fun.

Not so Liberal Democrat culture spokesman Don Foster said: One of the routines was particularly inappropriate and it may lead a number of parents to consider whether or not next year's show is something that their younger children watch. It was unnecessary and I think they should have toned it down. I just think it went a step too far.

A spokesman for the programme maker Talkback Thames said: We are confident that the performances given by our guest artistes on Saturday were appropriate for the show.

An ITV insider said what was aired on the show was no worse than much of what goes out on dedicated music TV channels during the day.

It was also claimed that Aguilera's routine, based on her movie Burlesque , had been toned down from what was in the film, which has a rating of 12A. The source pointed out that there was no swearing or nudity in the routine.


24th November

Update: Talent for Whingeing...

Ofcom dismiss complaints about Danni Minogue's gay quip on the X Factor

The X Factor
ITV1, 10 and 11 October 2009, 20:00

The X Factor is a popular talent show contest broadcast weekly from late summer until Christmas. A panel of four judges and viewers' votes decide which act wins the prize of a recording contract. The early stages of the series are pre-recorded with the final stages broadcast live.

During the first live programme, broadcast on Saturday 10 October 2009 from 20:00, the contestant Danyl Johnson ( Danyl ) performed part of the song And I'm telling you I'm not going which was originally composed as a female lead vocal for the musical Dreamgirls.

The introduction to Danyl's performance included a set of video-taped interviews with Danyl, the judges and one member of the behind the scenes team which supports the performers. These interviews made clear that Danyl was going to perform a song originally written for a woman

In her critique of Danyl's performance, X-Factor judge Dannii Minogue made the following remarks: Danyl, a fantastic performance, a true X Factor performance turning a girl's song into a guy's song but, if we're to believe everything we read in the papers, maybe you didn't need to change the gender reference in it?

In response to this another judge, Simon Cowell (the mentor of Danyl), said: What? What did you say? Dannii Minogue then turned to Simon Cowell and repeated what she had just said: I said if we're to believe everything we read in the papers then he didn't need to change the gender reference in it .

Turning to the audience seated behind her she said: No? Don't believe it? Simon Cowell did not respond immediately to Dannii Minogue's remarks. Instead, Cheryl Cole gave Danyl her critique of his performance after which Simon Cowell then said: I think I'm missing something here? I think I just heard one of the best performances I ever heard in my life… (turning to Dannii and pointing a pen at her) you can forget playing any of those games with him, I'm not having that, this guy deserves a break. He sung his heart out, give him some credit.

During the following evening's Sunday Results programme, the judges were provided with the opportunity to comment on the previous night's events. Dannii Minogue and Simon Cowell said the following: I just want to say sorry to anyone that I may have offended last night with my comments. They were only said with humour and Danyl and I had been joking about it before the show…he definitely was not upset by my comments and I just wanted to let everyone know .

Simon Cowell: …I've got to say, I probably over-reacted a bit in the moment. You get very, very protective about your artists. I can say this on behalf of Dannii, she is the last person in the world who would ever do anything offensive like that, seriously…I spoke to Danyl afterwards, he took it in the spirit, it was fun, there was no offence intended and I think back to the show, it's over.

In total Ofcom received 3,964 complaints about the Saturday night broadcast. In summary, the majority of the complainants were primarily concerned that the remarks made by Dannii Minogue to Danyl were malicious and homophobic and based on newspaper reports about Danyl's sexuality. Others were concerned that Danyl was publicly embarrassed and humiliated on television. Finally some complainants expressed concerns about the fact that Dannii Minogue seemed to make a reference to a contestant's sexuality in a family programme broadcast before the watershed.

Ofcom considered Rule 2.3 of the Code: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context. Such material may include, but is not limited to…humiliation, distress…violation of human dignity.

Ofcom Decision: Not in Breach

Ofcom noted that the complaints about Dannii Minogue's remarks on this edition of The X Factor fell into three categories: some complainants were offended by what they said was the homophobic nature of Dannii Minogue's comments; some viewers were offended on behalf of Danyl; and others were concerned that the subject of Danyl's sexuality was referred to at all on a programme like The X Factor.

Remarks allegedly homophobic and malicious

In considering these complaints under Rule 2.3, Ofcom considered whether in its view any potential offence caused by the broadcast of the remarks was justified by the context.

The X Factor is a competition in which performers voluntarily submit themselves to a critique each week by a panel of judges. This format is well established and often exposes contestants to criticism by the judges, sometimes accompanied by the audience's response. Ofcom also notes that when participating in the finals of the programme contestants voluntarily share to some extent certain aspects of their life stories with viewers. In Ofcom's view, it was not outside the established nature of the programme for an X Factor judge to make such a comment as Dannii Minogue's, especially in circumstances where the performer had placed information about his sexuality in the public domain.

In Ofcom's view Dannii Minogue's remark queried whether there was any need for him, as someone who had openly discussed his sexuality, to change the lyrics to the song.

Ofcom did not discern a pejorative or homophobic intent behind her comment. Ofcom did not therefore consider that the degree of offence likely to be caused by the broadcast of the remarks was sufficient to bring into question compliance with the Code.

Viewers offence on behalf of Danyl.

A number of viewers were concerned that the remarks made by Dannii Minogue caused Danyl public embarrassment and humiliation and were unfair to him.

In effect these complaints appeared to have been made on behalf of Danyl. While Ofcom's Code contains rules to protect people participating in programmes from unfair treatment and breaches of privacy (see Sections 7 and 8 of the Code), such complaints can only be brought by the person affected , i.e. the person or organisation alleged to have been treated unfairly or to have had their privacy infringed. In this case, because Danyl, or someone acting on his behalf, has not made a complaint to Ofcom, it has no grounds to consider the complaints in relation to Sections 7 and/or 8 of the Code.

However, Rule 2.3 of the Code envisages that offence can be caused to members of the public by the broadcast of humiliating and/or distressing material (or material which violates human dignity), which may arise from the alleged unfairness to, or infringement of the privacy of, others. Such matters relating to the alleged unfairness to, or infringement of privacy of a third party, can therefore, in some circumstances be considered under Section 2 of the Code without a complaint from the person involved as required under Section 7 or 8.

In considering Rule 2.3, Ofcom regarded the confirmation by Channel that the remarks by Dannii Minogue were not in any way pre-planned and were completely unscripted, as significant. Any evidence that there had been a concerted attempt by the programme makers to raise the issue of Danyl's sexuality on the live programme would have concerned Ofcom. It would have revealed a failure to consider the potential offence to viewers that such a discussion could cause. In the event, once the remarks were made, Ofcom found that Channel, the broadcaster and the programme makers were immediately alert to the potentially offensive nature of the material and took steps to limit the offence.

Further, it is the case that The X Factor is a well established programme, watched by millions of people. Contestants, particularly those who perform well and reach the final stages, become well known overnight. Details of their performances and personalities are analysed both on television and online, in chatrooms and webforums. Contestants can  expect to undergo a degree of personal scrutiny which will become increasingly intense the further they progress in the competition.

In this case however Ofcom accepts that, although not obvious to every viewer, details of Danyl's sexuality were sufficiently in the public domain before the remarks were made by Dannii Minogue to justify her references by context. Taking these factors into account, in the particular circumstances and context of this edition of The X Factor, the comments by Dannii Minogue were justified.

Reference to Danyl's sexuality

Ofcom considered that the remark by Dannii Minogue referred to Danyl Johnson's sexuality only indirectly. In Ofcom's view this reference was not likely to cause widespread offence, be understood by any young children who were watching, or shock viewers who came across this material unawares.

Not in breach of Rule 2.3


15th October

Updated: The X Factor...

Amateurish over-exaggerated offence at minor gay quip

Dannii Minogue has apologised for a quip about a finalist's sexuality live on X Factor as fans called for her to be fired.

The judge sparked 'outrage' with a comment about contestant Danyl Johnson. The teacher had finished a version of Whitney Houston's I Am Telling You when Dannii referred to reports that Danyl is bisexual.

Talking about the lyrics, she said: No need to change the gender references, if we're to believe everything we read in the press.

The comment on Saturday's show 'stunned' Johnson and 'incensed' Simon Cowell.

Thousands of fans logged on to the X Factor forum to vent their 'anger' while a survey showed more than 80% of fans wanted her kicked off the show.

One fan said: Forget the Strictly row, Dannii is the one that needs to be sacked. She was live on air and set an extremely awful example to our children.

Many said they had complained to media watchdog Ofcom.

Dannii said on her Twitter blog she meant no offence and said she was happy to apologise publicly. In a statement, she said: I want to clear up exactly what happened on Saturday night's X Factor show and post my sincere apologies to anyone who took offence. It was meant to be a humorous moment about the fact he had an opportunity to have fun with his song. An openly bi-sexual guy singing a song that is lyrically a girl's song. Danyl and I were joking about the very same thing in rehearsals on Friday, so it carried on to the show. I'd like to apologise to anyone that was offended by my comments, it was never my intention.

Danyl said he was not offended: We're completely cool about it and chatted after the show. I wasn't upse t.

Update: I'm Telling You, 4000 Complaints

15th October 2009. Based on article from

The TV censor Ofcom has now received almost 3,885 complaints from members of the public about The X Factor judge Dannii Minogue's comment about contestant Danyl Johnson's sexuality on Saturday night.

Johnson changed the lyrics of Jennifer Hudson's song I'm Telling You , in which the lyrics refer to a male, so that the song from the point of view of a man singing to a woman. Minogue subsequently made a joke with Johnson, who has been the subject of tabloid stories suggesting he is bisexual, saying that there was no need to switch the gender reference in that song .

The regulator has not yet decided whether it will launch a formal investigation into whether Minogue's comment represented a breach of its broadcasting code.

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