BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Monday, 18 September 2006, 14:06 GMT 15:06 UK
Channel 4 cleared of BB concerns
Pete Bennett
Pete Bennett became the winner of the seventh series in August
Channel 4 has been cleared by the TV watchdog Ofcom over complaints that it neglected the welfare of contestants on the reality show Big Brother.

Ofcom received 272 complaints about the seventh series of the show, including concerns about bullying and the unsuitability of some contestants.

But Ofcom ruled Big Brother had stayed within the bounds of acceptability and had not breached the broadcasting code.

The series, which ended in August, was won by Pete Bennett, from Brighton.

Some complainants said that the 24-year-old, who suffers from Tourette's syndrome, should not have participated in the reality show.

'Inappropriate behaviour'

Others claimed Shahbaz Chaudhry, who left the show early in the series, appeared to be unstable and was not well suited to star in a reality TV show.

The complainants said this amounted to viewers being invited to "laugh at others less fortunate than ourselves" and were concerned that Channel 4 had failed in its duty of care towards the contestants.

Referring to Bennett, Ofcom said: "There is rightly no reason why someone with a disability cannot and should not exercise the same degree of informed choice as any other adult - including choosing to enter the Big Brother house."

In our opinion, the material shown did not dwell on distress or humiliation longer than was editorially necessary

Ofcom also dismissed further complaints that Channel 4 had condoned inappropriate behaviour, such as bullying.

"It has been established over seven series that the Big Brother audience expects to see all aspects of the housemates' characters exposed during their stay in the house," Ofcom said.

"Channel 4 would not have been expected to keep key character information from viewers, since it is the viewers who decide who to vote for.

"It is to some extent expected that high emotion, disagreements, and separation into partisan groups may result.

"In our opinion, the material shown did not dwell on distress or humiliation longer than was editorially necessary."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific