I’m A Celebrity won’t be investigated by Ofcom over Ferne McCann’s live spider-eating bushtucker trial

Almost 1500 complaints were registered with the regulator which has concluded that the footage is “unlikely to have exceeded audience expectations”

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I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! won’t be investigated by Ofcom after a live spider was eaten during last year’s final.

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The regulator received 1,448 complaints after The Only Way Is Essex star Ferne McCann ate a live water spider as part of her last Bushtucker Trial during the show, which aired from 9pm on ITV on 6th of December. ITV itself told RadioTimes.com it had received more than 500 complaints.

Many took to social media to share their surprise at the task, which saw the reality star swill the insect around a glass before tipping it into her mouth.

Nature presenter Chris Packham, who has previously criticised the show for its treatment of animals, told RadioTimes.com he was “disgusted” and “disappointed”: “It countermands everything that I stand for that myself and my colleagues try to do when we make programmes.

“It says this is a spider, it’s not likeable and it’s not valuable because we can destroy it for entertainment,” he added. “And that’s not acceptable in the 21st century.”

Ofcom assessed the complaints registered but confirmed it won’t investigate.

“We received a number of complaints about a contestant on this programme eating a live spider as part of a challenge, but won’t be taking the matter forward for investigation,” the watchdog said in a statement.

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“In our view, this task was in keeping with the well-established format of this reality series and was unlikely to have exceeded audience expectations. We also took into account that ITV had taken steps to limit any offence resulting from the inclusion of this task.”