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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 February 2007, 14:26 GMT
Viewers complain over Brits jokes
Russell Brand
Brand poked fun at Robbie Williams' stint in rehab
Brits host Russell Brand has triggered a flood of complaints with off-colour jokes about the Queen and the Iraq war.

ITV1 had received around 300 complaints by Thursday morning, while broadcasting watchdog Ofcom logged a further 135.

Ofcom said most of the calls concerned "the tone of the jokes made during the ceremony," which was shown live for the first time in 17 years.

Broadcaster ITV defended Brand, calling him "an edgy host for an edgy event," but apologised for any offence caused.

The presenter opened the show by poking fun at singer Robbie Williams, who is currently being treated in a rehab clinic for addiction to prescription drugs.

Swearing bleeped

Pointing at a padlock that formed part of the set, Brand said it was "Robbie Williams' medicine cabinet".

Several links included barely-disguised innuendos, including one referring to the Queen.

Announcing the international breakthrough artist award, Brand commented: "I think a good international breakthrough would be if the British and American soldiers tell each other where they are standing".

Brand was booed by some members of the audience following the joke, which referred to the "friendly fire" death of UK soldier Matty Hull in Iraq.

Amy Winehouse at the Brit Awards
Amy Winehouse was named best British female

ITV1 said that swearing was bleeped out before the watershed and the broadcaster said the complaints were about Brand rather than any bad language.

About 5.3m people watched the Brits on TV, beating last year's ratings of 4.6m viewers.

But Arsenal's FA Cup victory over Bolton was more popular, drawing 6.2m people to BBC One.

The Killers and Arctic Monkeys were the main winners of the night, each taking home two awards.

The Sheffield-based Monkeys won best British group and best British album, while Las Vegas rockers The Killers triumphed in the international group and album categories.

Take That's Patience won a viewer vote to claim the best single title. James Morrison and Amy Winehouse were named best British male and female respectively.

But Lily Allen, who had been nominated for four awards, went home empty-handed.


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