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Thursday, 31 January, 2002, 02:02 GMT
Watchdog raps Ant and Dec
Slap Bang with Ant and Dec was on at prime time
Slap Bang with Ant and Dec was on at prime time
TV presenters Ant and Dec have been censured by watchdogs for pretending to fire a gun at a soap actor during their Saturday evening show Slap Bang.

A viewer complaint was upheld after Dec Donnelly pretended to shoot Coronation Street star Bill Roache, who plays Ken Barlow, on the prime-time ITV entertainment show.

The Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) agreed that it was unsuitable to show a gun at a time when a lot of children were watching.

Bill Roache was a guest on the show
Bill Roache was a guest on the show
The BSC said the gun looked realistic, but ITV insisted it was clearly a toy.

The offending sequence came as part of a comedy scene in an episode broadcast in June 2001.

Donnelly was seen conducting a light-hearted interview with Roache, but co-host Ant McPartlin kept interrupting him.

'Not real'

Roache pretended to get increasingly annoyed by being referred to by his screen name, and stormed off with McPartlin - at which point Dec drew the plastic gun and shot him.

"The gun in the scene was a plastic toy pistol and clearly not real," a spokesman for ITV said.

"While we respect the viewers' concerns on gun crime, we did not believe the sketch represented a real life situation and this would have been recognised by the majority of viewers."

But the BSC decided that it was wrong to portray the use of a gun in a show that was mainly watched by children and teenagers.

Ratings

"The panel considered the depiction of the firearm had been realistic and demonstrated how effective use of a gun could be in controlling situations," their ruling said.

Ant and Dec have had hits with Saturday morning shows SM:tv and cd:uk as well as Pop Idol, which they host.

Slap Bang was less of a success, with poor ratings and lukewarm reviews, but a new series is due later this year.

Last year, the pair fell foul of the Independent Television Commission after showing partly-masked nudity on another tea-time entertainment programme, Ant & Dec's Secret Camera Show.

See also:

13 Sep 01 | TV and Radio
More Slap Bang for Ant and Dec
03 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
Ant and Dec finish on high
03 Dec 01 | Reviews
Ant and Dec: Your views
30 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
Cat Deeley to leave SM:tv
03 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
Cat takes Bafta TV cream
13 May 01 | TV and Radio
Ant and Dec grow up
19 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
Ant and Dec rapped over nudity
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