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Last Updated: Monday, 4 June 2007, 16:06 GMT 17:06 UK
Brand's Brit jokes escape censure
Russell Brand hosting the Brit Awards
Russell Brand's sexual references were deemed 'inexplicit'
More than 260 complaints about Russell Brand's routine at the Brit Awards have been rejected by media watchdog Ofcom.

The host's risque jokes and drug-related references to singer Robbie Williams and Conservative leader David Cameron were investigated.

But Ofcom ruled Brand's comments were acceptable in the context of an established music awards ceremony.

"A certain amount of controversy was likely to be expected by the audience," the regulator decided.

Ofcom did, however, rule that some of Brand's comments had been "on the edge of acceptability".

'Satirical joke'

Some 262 viewers complained about the comedian's remarks about intimate body parts, drugs, the Iraq war, the Queen and Robbie Williams.

Ofcom requested an explanation from ITV, which broadcast the event, about two specific jokes.

In one, Brand referred to Robbie Williams' treatment for an addiction to prescription painkillers and rumours about Mr Cameron's schoolboy cannabis use.

The references were acceptable, Ofcom deemed, because they had been part of a "satirical joke".

"Importantly, the overall context of the comments made by the presenter was not that drugs were acceptable," it said.

Although on the margins of suitability, these comments and jokes were acceptable
The other joke under scrutiny was a sexual reference that ITV said was "appropriately and sufficiently limited and inexplicit".

ITV broadcast the ceremony from 2000 GMT on 14 February - one hour before the Watershed.

But it took measures to minimise any inappropriate material by having a 30-second delay and bleeping any profane language.

'Sufficiently obscure'

"Ofcom's view is that on balance, and although on the margins of suitability, these comments and jokes were acceptable in the context of an established music awards ceremony," the ruling said.

"Ofcom also considers that the references made about popular culture by the presenter were sufficiently obscure to be beyond the comprehension of young children.

"While the comments certainly contained anatomical references, they were scripted in such a way as not to be overtly sexual and were therefore not in breach of the code."

It was the first time in 17 years that the ceremony had been televised live.

Brand was booed by some members of the audience at London's Earls Court for making a humorous reference to the Iraq war and the "friendly fire" death of British serviceman Matty Hull.

Ofcom did not request an explanation from ITV about this comment in the wake of viewer complaints.

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