Ten complain the most about pre-turnaround TV moments


They say they never work with children or animals, but time and again it was adults who struggled to behave during the live broadcasts.

Outbursts of anger are rare on our screens, but never fail to light up social media or Ofcom complaint forms as presenters and guests suffer sworn slips on TV.

Recent research by language expert Preply found that the UK has one of the longest unrestricted viewing periods in the world. Ranked second in the world, eight and a half hours of our broadcast media are unlimited.

However, hundreds of complaints have been lodged with broadcast regulator Ofcom as TV shows struggle to control profanity ahead of the pivotal period.

  • ITV: Britain’s Got Talent – May 28, 2019
    Complaints: 192

    The talent show grabs the nation every year, but one act – The Haunting – shocked even the judges with their spooky magic show.

    One particular scare prompted Judge Amanda Holden to shout the word “f ** k” on a live broadcast on the Family Show ahead of the 9pm turn. The show was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing by Ofcom after nearly 200 complaints were filed against them.

  • ITV: Good Morning Britain – June 3, 2020
    Complaints: 191

    No stranger to controversy, it’s no surprise that Good Morning Britain racked up 191 complaints during an early morning interview last year.

    The guest, Adee Phelan, launched a passionate but fruity rant against the government, causing her to swear three times just before 7 a.m. Piers Morgan refused to apologize for his guest’s explicit outburst, which further fueled complaints.

  • BBC: Comic Relief – March 24, 2017
    Complaints: 150

    Red Nose Day brings together a galaxy of stars to raise funds for those who need it most.

    The broadcast extravagance came under regulation in 2017 when the show fell into chaos as Vic Reeves presented Susanna Reid with a fake appendix and Russell Brand exclaimed “f ** king hell “during technical problems.

    7.6 million viewers tuned in to see the swear words from before the watershed, landing the charity event with 150 complaints and an Ofcom investigation.

    Russell Brand and Lenny Henry during a photocall to kick off Red Nose Day 2007 at the London Eye, central London.

  • ITV: Saturday Night Takeaway from Ant and Dec – February 27, 2021
    Complaints: 104

    Viewers were thrilled to see Saturday Night Takeaway return in a Covid-secure manner to brighten up our locked-out weekends.

    However, special guest announcer Gordon Ramsay is well known for his swear words and outbursts. As the hosts joked that they had prepared a beep button for his stint on the show, a few straightforward words managed to slip the net.

    In addition to insulting a guest’s teeth, Gordon blurted out the word “p ** s” when trying to say “pizza” – an easy mistake to make.

  • ITV: The BRIT Awards – February 20, 2019
    Complaints: 57

    There is no live streaming more rock n ‘roll than the annual BRIT Awards, and Ofcom complaints over the years have cemented that.

    Aside from Adele’s explicit acceptance speech in 2016, it was Lily Allen and Lewis Capaldi who landed the regulatory hot water awards ceremony. With drug references and several varieties of swear words, the 2019 show earned 57 complaints.

    Lewis Capaldi holding an award and a breakfast in a photo
    Lewis Capaldi at the Brit Awards

  • BBC: Eastenders – July 30, 2015
    Complaints: 30

    As one of the most daring soap operas, Eastenders land on the list of sworn TV moments – albeit not a live broadcast.

    When Carol Jackson’s character visited her brother Max Branning in prison, she used a word that is generally not acceptable before the turn. Calling it a ‘b *****’ joke at 7:58 p.m. led to 30 complaints.

  • ITV: this morning – March 6, 2019
    Complaints: 26

    ITV’s magazine show This Morning covers everything from light segments to heavy issues.

    Longtime presenter Philip Schofield is usually the one to apologize for his guest’s mistakes, but he was the subject of 26 complaints during a pancake toss segment in 2019.

    Leaving the word ‘s ** t’ when his pancake skills let him down, co-host Holly Willoughby was forced to scold him for his tongue.

  • ITV: Loose Women – July 21, 2021
    Complaints: 21

    Loose Women is a mainstay of midday TV programming, providing viewers with a lively debate and glimpse into the lives of the show’s panelists.

    The program proved how heated the debate can get earlier this year when Linda Robson accidentally let a bad word pass long before the turning point.

    During the summer heatwave, Linda admitted that she couldn’t be “a ** ée” at work and that she had a red face from the blunder. He landed on the show with 21 complaints, but no further action was taken by Ofcom.

    Linda Robson on Loose Women
    Linda Robson on Loose Women

  • ITV: Euro 2016 France v Romania – June 10, 2016
    Complaints: 20

    Football arouses passion and emotion in many people, including commentators.

    While covering the Euro in 2016, then West Ham boss Slaven Bilic suffered a live television blunder as he swore while covering the France-Romania game.

    His swearing failure came just two minutes before the start of the turn. While many on social media saw the fun side, not everyone was impressed. Bilic’s explicit comment grabbed coverage with 20 Ofcom complaints.

  • ITV: Jeremy Kyle – January 18, 2016
    Complaints: 2

    Gone but certainly not forgotten, the Jeremy Kyle Show lasted 15 years before being discontinued.

    The show featured guests from across the UK voicing their grievances with loved ones. However, a guest’s focus led to an Ofcom investigation for the prerecorded program.

    A Scottish guest used the word “c ***” – considered one of the most offensive words by the broadcast regulator – but due to the guest’s accent it was not picked up during assembly and broadcast in January 2016.

    After an Ofcom investigation, the slippage turned out to be human error and the show was not sanctioned.

    Jeremy Kyle on his show
    Jeremy Kyle on his show

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