Media watchdog Ofcom announced the Channel 5 series Celebrity Big Brother as the most complained about TV show of the decade. This is could be seen as quite a success for a reality TV show, as what is reality TV without drama? One episode in particular sparked huge public outrage in 2018 as former actress Roxanne Pallett accused housemate Ryan Thomas of ‘punching’ her in the ribs halfway through the series. The accusation led to a huge backlash amounting to 25,327 complaints being made about the incident. This caused the episode alone to also be the most complained about TV episode of the decade.
This incident, however, was not the first time that the show attracted controversy. 2015 was a turbulent year for the series as there were two moments that outraged viewers across the UK for the actions of individuals in the house. The first includes former Coronation Street star Ken Morley who appeared in the January series and was removed due to an enormous amount of inappropriate comments featuring outdated offensive views towards women and POC. Morley referred to the women in the house as having “some of the best-looking asses” he had ever seen and how he would go into the bathroom to look at them as “it wouldn’t cost” him a penny. These comments alone did not see his removal from the house until he referred to Frank Bruno using a racial slur during a conversation which then saw his much-needed removal from the house. Again, in the summer of 2015 Tila Tequila was axed less than 48 hours after arriving into the house in summer 2015 as she had previously made comments sympathising with Adolf Hitler. A photoshoot was also uncovered of her posing in front of a concentration camp in a ‘sexy’ Nazi uniform while referring to herself as “Hitila”. Both incidents open up the wider debate into if Celebrity Big Brother used controversial characters as such to achieve ratings each year as the wellness of the viewing public and celebrities in the house were not protected by allowing such individuals into the house.
These few incidents highlight just why Celebrity Big Brother was granted the title as most complained show of the decade, but as the media would say, ‘there is no such thing as bad publicity’.
Watch the moment that sparked the complaints below: