BBC Radio 2 has been found to be in breach of Ofcom's Broadcasting Code after repeating a late-night comedy programme at lunchtime, which included the F-word. Two listeners complained about The Green Guide To Life, broadcast at 1pm on Saturday 14th April 2007. The BBC has apologised for the oversight and put new procedures in place to avoid a similar thing happening again.
The comedy sketch in question featured Jack Dee, who was heard to say: "What do you mean, f*** off", clearly contravening Rule 1.14 of the Ofcom Code (the most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed or when children are particularly likely to be listening).
The BBC acknowledged that the language was completely inappropriate for the time of broadcast and apologised unreservedly. It said that the programme was made by an independent production company for an original transmission time of 22:30 and was delivered to the broadcaster without indicating that it contained extremely strong language. It was therefore not vetted before being scheduled in this slot. The broadcaster accepted that it should have been checked and told Ofcom that new systems were in place now to ensure that all programmes are checked in-house to before transmission.
Given the fact that it wasn't the first time inappropriate language had been transmitted on Radio 2, Ofcom found against the BBC and recorded a breach of their Code.
TV channels have also been reprimanded by the Broadcasting watchdog today for similar pre-watershed airing of offensive language, and in a statement in its monthly broadcast bulletin Ofcom today said: "There has been an increase in the number of cases where material which was originally produced for a post-watershed timeslot has been transmitted unedited or inappropriately edited for transmission pre-watershed or when children are particularly likely to be listening. In such cases broadcasters frequently explain such failures on scheduling and/or human error.
"All broadcasters are therefore reminded that they are under a clear duty to ensure that robust procedures are in place, supported by a sufficient number of appropriately qualified and trained staff, to ensure full compliance with the code…
"Failure to have adequate compliance procedures in place to ensure compliance with Ofcom's codes is a serious matter and can lead to regulatory action being taken."
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