Channel 5 will not face sanction over Celebrity Big Brother ‘punchgate’

Ofcom will not take action against the broadcaster following the row between soap stars Roxanne Pallett and Ryan Thomas

Roxanne Pallett and Ryan Thomas, Celebrity Big Brother (CBB screenshots, EH)

Ofcom has confirmed it will not be taking action against Channel 5 after the regulator received over 25,000 complaints from viewers about last summer’s series of Celebrity Big Brother.

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Most of the complaints related specifically to the ‘punchgate’ row between former Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallett and Coronation Street’s Ryan Thomas.

Pallett had accused fellow CBB housemate Thomas of being a “woman beater” in an exchange which many viewers saw as play-fighting. Pallett later apologised for making the accusations and Thomas went on to win the series.

Ofcom has now released a report confirming that Channel 5 will not face sanction over the incident.

The regulator said that Channel 5 was not in breach of the Broadcasting Code, explaining that while the confrontation did have the potential to cause offence, viewers of Celebrity Big Brother were “likely to have had a clear expectation of controversial and confrontational events”.

“Celebrity Big Brother is a well-established and long running reality post-watershed programme and this was its 22nd series,” the report stated.

“Regular viewers of the series, and of Channel 5 post-watershed programming, were likely to have had a clear expectation of controversial and confrontational events.

“We also took into account that, given the competition and voting element of the programme, it was appropriate for viewers to have had the opportunity to see controversial matters taking place within the house between the housemates and the consequences of these.”

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Channel 5 axed Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother in September last year.