Comic Relief bishop tops Lady Gaga on Ofcom complaint list

Rowan Atkinson sketch in which One Direction are compared to Jesus's disciples draws 487 complaints


A COMIC RELIEF sketch in which Rowan Atkinson played a fictional Archbishop of Canterbury was the single most complained about television broadcast this year.

Media regulator Ofcom received 487 complaints about the sketch, which ran as part of BBC's Comic Relief marathon 'Funny for Money' in March. In it, Atkinson compared One Direction to Jesus's disciples and told viewers that "love your neighbour does not mean shag your neighbour".

The sketch, which also saw Atkinson say "arsing about" before the 9pm watershed, prompted 2,500 complaints directly to the BBC as well.

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However, Ofcom ruled that both the use of language and the offence caused by the subject matter explored during the comedy sketch were justified by the context.

Second on the list was an X Factor episode in October in which Lady Gaga performed in flesh-coloured underwear and a bra made from shells.

The rape scene in Downton Abbey and ITV news coverage of the death of soldier Lee Rigby were also among the five most complained about broadcasts. Ofcom said an investigation into the news item would be published following the conclusion of criminal proceedings.

A risque performance by pop star Jennifer Lopez on Britain's Got Talent and the pre-watershed murder of Emmerdale character Gennie Sharma also prompted complaints from viewers.

Meanwhile, the latest series of Big Brother attracted a total of 965 complaints, making it the most complained about show across the year. More than 300 people complained about one particular episode in which Big Brother gave housemate Jemima Slade an official "racism" warning after she said that she liked "dark-skinned Mediterranean men" but "not black men". Hundreds of people contacted Ofcom to insist that the comments were not racist.

Most complained about single broadcasts in 2013

Comic Relief: Funny for Money, BBC1 (487)

The X Factor Results Show, ITV (317)

Big Brother – June, Channel 5, (305)

ITV News, ITV (278)

Downton Abbey, ITV (246)

Big Brother – August, Channel 5 (244)

Emmerdale, ITV (193)

Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2012, Channel 4 (182)

Big Brother – July, Channel 5 (166)

Britain's Got Talent Results, ITV1 (162)

Most complained about shows in 2013

Big Brother, Channel 5 (965)

The X Factor, ITV (734)

ITV News, ITV (574)

Comic Relief: Funny for Money, BBC1 (492)

Celebrity Big Brother, Channel 5 (438)

Britain's Got Talent, ITV1 (422)

Emmerdale, ITV (376)

BBC News, BBC (354)

Downton Abbey, ITV (252)

Coronation Street, ITV (225)

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