The last-ever Celebrity version of Big Brother was the most complained about programme thanks to the actions of former Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallett. In second place Coleen Nolan took Loose Women to the slot after her on-screen spat with Kim Woodburn.

Roxanne Pallett became the most hated woman in the UK, despite the best efforts of Coleen Nolan to take her place.

“Viewers are as passionate as ever about what they watch, discussing programmes with their friends and family, and with other people on social media. They complain to us when they think programmes have fallen below the standards they expect, and we carefully assess each and every complaint we receive.” – Tony Close, Ofcom’s Director of Content Standards, Licensing and Enforcement

Celebrity Big Brother was the television programme that Ofcom received the most complaints about in 2018. The Channel 5 series – now axed by the broadcaster – attracted the most complaints in 2018, with 27,602. Most of these were about an allegation of physical abuse made by Roxanne Pallett against Ryan Thomas which was entirely fabricated. Pallett the last to seemingly realise the CBB house is full of cameras and everyone’s moves are always monitored.

The pair – famous for their soap roles as Emmerdale’s Jo Sugden and Corrie’s Jason Grimshaw – were appearing on the Channel 5 reality series together and, in an episode which transmitted on  the 30th August, Thomas had lightly jabbed around her in a playful manner as they crossed paths in the kitchen. Afterwards, Pallett went into the bedroom to note that she had “just been beaten up by Corrie’s Jason Grimshaw”, before visiting the diary room and demanding to speak to producers.

Footage from a camera however showed Thomas hadn’t even touched the fellow housemate. The incident illuminated social media with much anger directed towards Pallett for misrepresenting Thomas’s actions – something which could have, had the reality not been captured on camera, been very damaging for him – and Big Brother bosses for pandering to her by issuing Ryan with a formal warning. Ryan Thomas went onto win the series.

The second most complained about programme was Loose Women, the ITV female-slanted debate show. A ill-planned reunion between show regular Coleen Nolan and CBB personality Kim Woodburn aired on August 30th.

ITV producers invited Woodburn back onto the programme ‘to make amends’ with ‘agony aunt’ Coleen Nolan, following their fall-out during January 2017’s Celebrity Big Brother.

Linda Nolan, Coleen Nolan, Janet Street-Porter and Linda Robson were the daily panellists, with Street-Porter dressed like a judge for the Woodburn segment. From the start, it was clear the supposed mediation exercise was not going to go well with Woodburn sticking by her view that Coleen had been ‘two-faced’ in the Celebrity Big Brother house, whilst the Nolan side of the desk branded the celebrity cleaner vile and talentless to applause from the studio audience. The fact two Nolan’s were on the panel, there was no regular anchor – such as Ruth Langsford, leaving Colleen to lead the show which she rarely does and the programme painted Woodburn as a baddie from the outside (entering to sinister music) many viewing saw it as a unprofessional bullying exercise by ITV.

Confident they were in the right, cocky thanks to the whooping of the baiting audience, the Nolans muttered under their breath whenever Woodburn spoke on Loose Women, which even continued when she brought up her traumatic childhood. Exchanges culminated in Woodburn breaking down in tears and walking off the set, calling Coleen ‘lying trash’ on her way out. The show came under fire for how out of hand the feature got, particularly the Nolan sisters’ continued mocking of an increasingly distressed Woodburn and the lack of any comment from ITV Daytime over the issue.

While ITV themselves hid away making no reference to the incident, Ofcom were issued with 7,912 complaints, while 30,000 signed a petition to have the former backing singer with The Nolans removed from the show.

The top ten:

Celebrity Big Brother: 27,602

Loose Women: 8,002

Sky News: 4,251

Love Island: 4,192

Coronation Street: 1,098

Emmerdale: 759

Good Morning Britain: 548

This Morning: 402

I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!: 335

The X Factor: 286

Over the year television regulator Ofcom received almost 56,000 complaints about programmes from viewers and listeners. Together, the top ten most complained about television shows prompted more than 47,000 complaints, making up 86% of the year’s total. Ofcom is responsible for securing standards on television and radio. Each complaint they receive is assessed against broadcasting rules to decide whether further action against the broadcaster might be necessary.

Both Celebrity Big Brother and Loose Women are still under investigation by the regulator.

“This year, we’ve taken action on many occasions where programmes have fallen short of the standards required by our rules.” – Tony Close, Ofcom’s Director of Content Standards, Licensing and Enforcement

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