TV complaints hit record high

Candy Bellinger

There's no escaping the fact that TV isn't what it used to be. With the BBC seemingly scheduling more and more repeats and reality TV around every corner, the words "dumbing down" have been used on more than one occasion. And it seems viewers are finally reaching the end of their tether as broadcasting watchdog Ofcom announced yesterday that this year has seen complaints reach a record high.

Top TV searches:

  1. TV channels

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  4. BBC1 programmes

  5. Comedy programmes

  6. TV programmes today

  7. ITV

  8. The X Factor

  9. Big Brother clips

  10. I'm A Celebrity

According to Ofcom's figures, complaints about radio and TV shows have more than doubled in the past four years, rising from 6,375 in 2005 to a whopping 13,521 in 2008. Bear in mind that high profile cases such as the Celebrity Big Brother race row and the various phone vote scandals of the past year are not included in those figures, and TV begins to look a little bleak.

But what is at the heart of the increase? Are we finally finished with reality shows, do the soap operas seem further and further removed from everyday life, or is it the seemingly endless repeats that are getting us down?

None of these, says Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards... it's those pesky downmarket cable and satellite channels that are causing all the problems. Apparently the "lower budgets" of the satellite channels, teamed with their 'boundary-pushing' tendencies, is resulting in more than a few peeved viewers.

Despite this though, the show that has caused the most uproar this year is, wait for it... yes, you guessed it, the X Factor, with a staggering 5,975 complaints. Hot on its heels is Big Brother (1,154) with Britain's Got Talent (708) and Celebrity Big Brother (500) next in line. Oddly none of the above-mentioned are broadcast by those "low budget" cable or satellite channels.

Let us know what you think. Is it reality TV that has you reaching for the phone or are the low-budget channels your big bug-bear?