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Last Updated: Monday, 18 June 2007, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK
Slavery remark 'shown in context'
James Green, Lucy Buchanan and Lianne Dauban
Viewers were warned Buchanan (centre) had "extreme views"

A Channel 4 reality show did not breach industry guidelines when it broadcast a contestant saying she was "for slavery", TV watchdog Ofcom has ruled.

In the first episode of Shipwrecked, Lucy Buchanan described black people as "really bad", adding that she disliked people who were "fat" or "ugly".

Several hundred viewers complained to Ofcom about January's programme.

But it decided the 18-year-old's views were seen in context and were "robustly challenged" by other participants.

Buchanan was shown saying: "I don't like it when foreigners come into our country and they don't take on the British culture and the British values.

The context ensured that her behaviour and views were not encouraged or condoned by the broadcaster
Ofcom ruling

"I'm quite for the British Empire and things. I'm for slavery, but that's never going to come back."

She was then asked by another member of the group how she could "generalise" in such a way.

"I don't know them," Buchanan replied. "From what I've seen, they're really bad."

Ofcom said "the fact that the contestants and many viewers found Lucy Buchanan's views offensive did not mean that Channel 4 was not entitled to broadcast them in context".

Contestants on reality series Shipwrecked
Contestants on Shipwrecked were competing for a prize of 70,000
And the broadcaster had taken "appropriate care" to explain the background to the remarks on-air, it added in its quarterly complaints bulletin.

"The context ensured that her behaviour and views were not encouraged or condoned by the broadcaster."

It also said there was "no requirement" that anyone taking part in a reality show had views which met "generally accepted standards".

And Ofcom added it recognised that viewers of Shipwrecked - which featured a group of young people marooned on adjacent islands for almost six months - would "expect" to hear such remarks because of the potentially confrontational nature of the programme.

'Fairy' remark

A total of 1,453 viewers contacted Ofcom about two elements of the show - Buchanan's remarks and alleged homophobia towards another contestant, Joe Stone.

However, the watchdog was unable to provide a detailed breakdown of the number of complaints about each.

The complaints about Stone, who is gay, were also rejected.

Fellow participants described him as a "bloke who's like a bird" when complaining that he was not helping to build living accommodation in the first few days of the series, with one saying: "You don't need to be like a fairy."

But Ofcom said none of these comments was made directly to Stone and therefore could not be described as a specific homophobic attack on him.

"The men's impatience with Joe's apparent unwillingness to get involved in the activities was justified in the context of the programme," it added.


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