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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 July, 2003, 10:44 GMT 11:44 UK
Spy show draws record complaints
BBC drama Spooks drew the most complaints
An episode of BBC drama Spooks drew the most complaints from viewers during the last year, the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) has said in its annual report.

A scene where a woman was tortured by having her head plunged into a vat of boiling oil drew 154 complaints for Spooks, a series based around a trio of MI5 agents fighting terrorism in the UK.

The annual report is the commission's last, as it is to be replaced by the new Office of Communications (Ofcom) later this year.

Complaints about violence on TV have risen to account for 15% of all complaints, compared with 8% last year.

Objections over soaps had also risen compared with last year.

EastEnders controversy

ITV1 drama The Bill drew 97 complaints over a scene where two male characters kissed.

The BSC said it had received 31 complaints from the public about scenes in BBC One soap EastEnders in which key character Phil Mitchell attacked Jamie and threatened Sonia.

Phil and Sonia in EastEnders
EastEnders has again drawn controversy

There were also 21 complaints about ITV1's Coronation Street's scene where Maxine Peacock is killed by Richard Hillman, which proved to be a ratings hit.

Last year the BSC had criticised EastEnders for its scenes in late 2001 where the character Little Mo had been abused by her partner Trevor, saying they had been too stark and graphic for a pre-watershed audience.

"The BSC acknowledges soaps are well known for tackling sensitive issues in a realistic manner," the commission said in a statement.

"But it was concerned about the increase of scenes featuring intense and protracted scenes of violence in domestic settings broadcast before the nine o'clock watershed given the large young audience they attract."

Complaints about offensive language had also risen from 11% last year to 15%.

Overall the number of complaints was up by 7%, and the number of complaints not upheld was steady at 77%, slightly higher than last year, the commission said.

"Our continuing caseload and our research both show how much people still care about broadcast standards. The new regulator will need to take that concern on board in preparing its own approach to content regulation," BSC director Paul Bolt said.

TV 'Muslim plot' sparks complaints
09 Jun 03  |  TV and Radio
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08 Apr 03  |  TV and Radio
TV watchdog raps 'humdrum' BBC
15 Aug 02  |  TV and Radio
EastEnders violence 'went too far'
30 May 02  |  TV and Radio


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