Rowan Atkinson Archbishop sketch raises hackles - Most complained-about TV shows 2013

The end of the year is just a few days away, and it has been a busy one for TV watchdog Ofcom. But unless any particularly controversial televisual content has been scheduled over the Christmas holidays, then it’s fairly safe to look back at the programmes which have almost certianly won the dubious honour of having racked up the most complaints for 2013.

In first place, and for the second year running, is real-time dross platform Big Brother. The slow-paced reality show prompted a mighty 965 viewers to complain to the regulator – over 200 more than any other programme.

Most complaints were over remarks made by a housemate named Jemima Slade during a discussion about the characteristics she looks for in a prospective mate.

She announced a preference for “dark skinned Mediterranean” men, but “not black men”, which generated 305 complaints to the watchdog.

Concerned viewers also complained that the Big Brother housemates had been bullying and fighting one another.

In second place, the X Factor results show on ITV1 generated 734 complaints, with 317 of those relating to a performance by Lady Gaga in which the singer and a troupe of dancers plagued viewers by taking to the stage in nothing but skimpy flesh-coloured underwear and sea-shells.

Despite the high volume of complaints, Ofcom said there were no grounds for investigation.

ITV news received the third highest number of complaints, racking up 574. More than half were to do with coverage of the death of Fusilier Lee Rigby. Ofcom is due to announce the findings of an investigation once criminal proceedings conclude.

The most complained about stand-alone broadcast (not a series), was the BBC’s Comic Relief: Funny for Money programme, broadcast on March 15.

The comedy show prompted a total of 487 people to complain to the regulator, in particular over a sketch in which Rowan Atkinson plays the Archbishop of Canterbury and compares One Direction to Jesus’s disciples and adds that “praying doesn’t work, but it’s a good part of a getting-to sleep routine”.  

The most complained about television shows of 2013, to December 12, are:

1. Big Brother: 965 complaints

2. The X Factor: 734

3. ITV News: 574

4. Comic Relief: Funny for Money: 492

5. Celebrity Big Brother: 438

6. Britain’s Got Talent: 422

7. Emmerdale: 376

8. BBC News: 354

9. Downton Abbey: 252

10. Coronation Street: 225

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