Complaints Reports

Programme Complaints & Interventions Report

These reports are case summaries of complaints which appeared to raise issues of substance in relation to the interpretation of the ITC Programme Code. Summary statistics of non-substantive complaints can be found in the full reports which are obtainable from the ITC.

Showing Complaints & Interventions Report for REBOOT: TO MEND AND DEFEND

Channel: ITV (Meridian)

Date & time: Thursday 17 July: 4.40 pm

Complaint from: 19 viewers (upheld)

Background

A sequence in this episode of the networked children's animation programme contained violence and featured characters (such as a zombie and a chainsaw-wielding villain) drawn from feature films and computer games.

Issue

19 viewers complained that the violence was unacceptable and the characters inappropriate in a children's programme shown at this time.

Assessment

Meridian explained that Reboot's moral storylines draw on the tradition of using humour and fantasy to help children grapple with anxieties and fears about growing up. Children, even very young ones, are increasingly familiar with computer games and the ghoulish imagery in some of them. Care had been taken to edit the sequence so that nothing was shown from the villain's point of view, and the use of humorous minor characters and incidental music as well as the light-hearted banter between the characters reduced the potential for the audience to be frightened or disturbed.

Although the ITC accepted these points, it considered that the inclusion of characters - however humorously depicted - based on those in '18' or '15' rated feature films and computer games with similar ratings had been unwise. Whilst many children are familiar with such films and games (with or without their parents' knowledge or consent), there are obviously many, particularly in the younger age groups, who are not and whose parents do not wish them to be. The unusually high number of complaints indicated that parents too found the violent imagery unacceptable in a programme scheduled at this time of afternoon.

Conclusion

The ITC advised Meridian that the sequence was in breach of the Programme Code.