Page last updated at 12:18 GMT, Monday, 14 April 2008 13:18 UK

Tate festive show 'not offensive'

Catherine Tate
Tate's Nan character is known for her foul language

BBC One's Catherine Tate Christmas Day special has been cleared of being offensive by media watchdog Ofcom after it received 42 complaints.

Sketches featuring the comedy star's foul-mouthed caricature of an elderly woman upset some viewers.

And scenes including a family from Northern Ireland exchanging balaclavas and knuckledusters as festive gifts were accused of stereotyping.

Ofcom said it "did not go beyond the expectations of its usual audience".

'Possible offence'

It also noted the show, which aired at 2230, had been broadcast 90 minutes after the 2100 watershed, and that viewers had been warned about strong language before it started.

"Any possible offence was justified by the context," the watchdog ruled.

The BBC said most of Tate's sketches featured "well-established characters behaving in their usual fashion".

It added that all Tate's characters were "extreme" in some way and that there was "no suggestion that they are representative".

The BBC added the programme and its catchphrases were so well-recognised that the then-Prime Minister, Tony Blair, took part in a sketch with Tate for Comic Relief.

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