Ofcom rebukes Five over 'Farmer' swearing

Tuesday, November 10 2009, 10:58 GMT

By Andrew Laughlin,

Ofcom has rebuked Five for the use of a strong swear word in the pre-watershed repeat of its Farmer Wants A Wife reality TV show.

The series, in which a single famer tries to find a suitable mate, was first run after 9pm on Wednesday nights. However, Ofcom received three complaints from viewers about the use of strong language on the show's pre-watershed Sunday morning repeat slot.

During the repeat aired on September 20, contestant Karla discussed her views about single farmer Derek's growing friendship with rival suitor Sarah.

"It is nice to see that [Sarah] gets along with Derek, but it is a bit frightening, 'cos you're like, 'f**k!'" she said.

After being contacted by Ofcom, Five apologised for the breach of the Broadcasting Code, which it said was caused by "human error" after compliance teams failed to flag up the profanity for pre-watershed editing.

The broadcaster therefore carried a full apology during the show's repeat on the following Sunday, and also introduced more stringent checking processes for the future.

Ofcom acknowledged Five's apology and steps taken to rectify the situation, but also stressed its previous warnings about carefully removing any harmful material while editing post-watershed programmes for broadcast earlier in the schedule.

"In [Broadcast] Bulletin 89, Ofcom issued a notice to broadcasters highlighting their duty to ensure that a robust system be put in place to protect viewers from harmful or offensive material, in particular when editing post-watershed programmes for transmission during the daytime," the regulator concluded.

"It explained that human error was not a sufficient justification for such failures in compliance."

The watchdog also yesterday rapped the producers of Top Gear for screening a joke car advert depicting a "graphic" scene of a man shooting himself in the head.