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 V GRAHAM NORTON
Channel: Channel 4
Date & time: Monday 13 January: 10.00pm
Category: Other Taste & Decency
Complaint from: 32 viewers
This celebrity chat and entertainment show hosted by Graham Norton opened with a stand up comedy sequence which is a regular feature of the show. The sequence often features jokes by the host that draw on topical news stories.
32 viewers complained that a joke made by Graham Norton, linking one of the Bee Gees songs, Staying Alive, with the moment of Maurice Gibb's death, on the day his death was announced, was offensive, objectionable and in extremely poor taste.
Channel 4 argued that the joke was meant as an affectionate reference, and that Graham Norton had mentioned that the news of the death was 'sad'. They also said that the studio audience’s reaction to the joke, when the programme was recorded earlier the same evening, confirmed their view that the joke was sufficiently gentle. They added that they and Graham Norton intended no offence to Maurice Gibb, his family or the public. The joke, they said, was aimed at the Bee Gees' music, not Maurice Gibb's untimely death.
Whilst noting the topical nature of the programme and Channel 4's explanation about the target of the joke, the ITC felt it was offensive to public feeling, and to Mr Gibb's family, for such a joke to be made in such close proximity to his death.
The ITC noted that Channel 4 had apologised on behalf of itself and Graham Norton for the offence caused.
The programme was in breach of Section 1.1 of the Code, concerning
offence to public feeling.