As if 2016 wasn’t louche enough – the F word was uttered on Comedy Central before the watershed on Christmas Day. Christmas Day! Of all days!
The profanity in question was broadcast at 8.40pm, and came from the mouth of comedian Josh Widdicombe, during a re-run of the BBC’s Live at the Apollo.
During his routine, he said: “…I feel like I’m lying on a f***ing log.”
Someone with excellent hearing, who clearly had not consumed as many Baileys as the rest of us, complained to Ofcom, and the regulator decided that the broadcast of this material was a clear breach of Rule 1.14 of the Ofcom Broadcast Code, which forbids “the most offensive language” being broadcast before the watershed.
“Ofcom’s 2016 research on offensive language clearly indicates that the word “f***” and variations of it are considered by audiences to be amongst the most offensive language,” a statement from Ofcom said. “In this case, the broadcast of the word “f***ing” was an example of the most offensive language being used in a programme broadcast before the watershed.”
An Ofcom spokesperson added: “This channel broke our rules on harm and offence after it aired several instances of the most offensive language before the 9pm watershed. While Comedy Central argued it had taken steps to minimise offence, we found the language was unsuitable for this time of broadcast.”
Paramount UK, owners of Comedy Central, apologised “unreservedly” and told Ofcom that the broadcast occurred because of “a technical issue compounded by human error”.