Ofcom has fined Channel 4 for deliberately misleading viewers by using the term ‘celebrity’ in conjunction with their relaunch of the popular TV show.
The broadcasting regulator received scores of complaints from angry viewers who had hoped to see famous, respected cultural icons competing in the show but instead were left disappointed after being presented with an underwhelming array of reality TV stars.
Imposing the fine, Ofcom spokesperson Simon Williams announced, “We have investigated the complaints relating to Channel 4’s use of the term ‘celebrity’ and having seen some of the contestants we have upheld the complaints and fined Channel 4 accordingly.
“This is symptomatic of a worrying trend in labelling pretty much anyone who has ever appeared on any of the 500 television channels as a ‘celebrity’.
“There was a time when the term celebrity was bestowed on minor royals or individuals who significantly contributed to Britain’s cultural or sporting achievements, but now it seems to be freely given to anyone who once got their tits out on a reality TV show.
“There have been a couple of exceptions, but it seems that most viewers have seen the so-called celebrity contestants and spent a fair amount of time trying to remember which dross show they vaguely recognise their face from.”
He added, “However, it does seem that viewers have responded well to new host Richard Ayoade, with much praise being heaped on the way the eccentric presenter is in equal parts bemused and annoyed by the well-meaning but ineffectual contestants.”
Producer Christopher James defended the show, arguing “The theme music and names of the different zones are very well known, what more do they want?”