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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best entertainment magazine in the UK“, we check out analysis of last year’s TV to find the most complained about TV shows, and why Love Island came out on top!

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It’s time to crack open the popcorn (or maybe the emotional support ice cream) and dive headfirst into the murky waters of TV’s most complained-about shows. Buckle up, because last year wasn’t for the faint of heart. From reality TV meltdowns to controversial casting choices, we’re about to embark on a wild ride through the complaints that kept Ofcom’s inbox overflowing.

Yes, folks, prepare to relive the eyebrow-raising moments, the cringeworthy dialogues, and the ethical dilemmas that had viewers reaching for the remote (or, more likely, their keyboards) in droves. From reality show meltdowns to questionable culinary choices, we’ll be dissecting the televisual train wrecks that had everyone talking, even if it wasn’t for the right reasons.

So, whether you’re a seasoned TV critic or just a casual couch potato with an opinion, join us on this journey. We’ll explore the highs and lows of last year’s most controversial programming, leaving no stone, or tantrum, unturned. Are you ready? Let’s get started!

Online casino site Casino Alpha analysed Ofcom Audience Complaint data between January and August 2023 to determine which TV shows have received the most complaints from viewers. 

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The ten most complained about TV shows of 2023

      Rank      Programme      Service      Total number of complaints 
     1.     Love Island     ITV2     4,333 
     2.     The Jeremy Vine Show     Channel 5     2,250 
     3.     Naked Education     Channel 4     1,413 
     4.     Gregg Wallace: The British Miracle Meat     Channel 4     801 
     5.     Britain’s Got Talent     ITV1     728 
     6.     Scared of the Dark     Channel 4     302 
     7.     Good Morning Britain     ITV1     155 
     8.     Coronation Street     ITV1     144 
     9.     Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway     ITV1     130 
     10.     Dancing on Ice     ITV1     112 

Love Island

Love Island was revealed to be the most complained about TV show of 2023, with a staggering 4,333 total Ofcom complaints across the two series that have aired on ITV2 so far this year. 

The most critical response to a single episode followed the ‘Movie Night’ episode, which aired on 9 July this year and resulted in 957 complaints. According to the public watchdog, most of these complaints were in response to the alleged bullying of Scott van-der-Sluis. Viewers felt the editing unfairly portrayed him as the villain, while others defended him. This ignited heated online debates and sparked numerous complaints to Ofcom, the UK’s media regulator.

A further 913 complaints were made in response to Love Island’s 25 July episode, which saw Mitch take to the stage for the ‘Grafties’. They generated a number of complaints surrounding bullying behaviour towards his co-star Abi. 

Closely linked to bullying concerns, some viewers felt the show manipulated and exploited the contestants’ emotions for entertainment value. The fast-paced environment, coupled with edited confessionals and strategic recouplings, left some feeling uncomfortable with the show’s potential impact on the islanders’ mental health. Concerns around alcohol consumption, the pressure to conform to unrealistic beauty standards, and the limited portrayal of alternative relationship models continue to raise ethical questions about the show’s impact on its audience, particularly young viewers.

Despite claiming to champion inclusivity, the 2023 cast faced criticism for a lack of diversity in body types, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. Viewers felt the show continued to perpetuate unrealistic beauty standards and narrow representations of relationships.

As always, the finale sparked its own set of complaints. Some viewers disagreed with the final couple, questioning the authenticity of their connection and calling the voting process unfair. This fueled accusations of favoritism and manipulation, further adding to the pile of grievances.

King Charles III: The Coronation

While Love Island was the most complained about TV show, it failed to take the top spot overall, which goes to King Charles III: The Coronation. Coverage of the event recorded a staggering 8,389 Ofcom complaints between 6 and 22 May.

Ofcom states that most of these complaints were in response to a comment by Bridgerton star Adjoa Andoh, who referred to the balcony of Royal Family members as ‘terribly white’ during her live coverage of the event.

Many viewers were also upset by the presence of disgraced royal Prince Andrew at the ceremony, as well as the disruption to the normal viewing schedule of other programmes.

The Jeremy Vine Show

The Jeremy Vine Show, which broadcasts on Channel 5, was the second most complained about TV show, recording 2,250 complaints. All of these complaints were in response to an episode that aired on 13 March, in which the host and his guests made several inaccurate comments during a debate over junior doctor pay increases.

Naked Education

Channel 4’s Naked Education, hosted by Anna Richardson and Love Island’s Dr Alex George takes the third spot, with 1,413 Ofcom complaints. The series, which aimed to promote ‘body positivity,’ came under fire in April this year, after many viewers felt it was extremely inappropriate to show naked adult bodies to teenagers as part of the series.

Gregg Wallace: The British Miracle Meat

The one-off satirical mockumentary, Gregg Wallace: The British Miracle Meat, came fourth with 801 complaints. The show followed food presenter Greg Wallace touring a fake food factory in Lincolnshire that claimed to produce lab-grown meat from human flesh. However, it failed to hit the mark, receiving a mixed reception from viewers, with many feeling it was offensive and in poor taste.

Britain’s Got Talent

ITV1 mainstay Britain’s Got Talent ranked fifth, totalling 728 Ofcom complaints. Most of these complaints (394) followed an episode that aired on 16 April, in which stuntman Thomas Vu, attempted to solve a Rubik’s Cube in front of the judges whilst set on fire.

Viewers took to Twitter, stating that ITV was irresponsible for broadcasting this in front of younger viewers, with many also feeling it was offensive to the families of burn victims and survivors.

Channel 4’s reality show, Scared of the Dark, hosted by Danny Dyer, ranked sixth with 302 complaints, while Good Morning Britain came seventh, receiving 155 complaints.

Coronation Street (144 complaints), Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway (130 complaints) and Dancing on Ice (112 complaints) take the eighth, ninth and tenth spots. 

the best creativity magazine in the UK, the best book magazine in the UK, the best arts magazine in the UK, the best entertainment magazine in the UK, the best celebrity magazine in the UK, book marketing UK, book promotion UK, music marketing UK, music promotion UK, film marketing UK, film promotion UK, arts and entertainment magazine, online magazine uk, creativity magazine

The 20 most complained about broadcasts of 2023

      Rank      Programme      Service      Total number of complaints 
     1.     King Charles III: The Coronation     ITV1     8,389 
     2.     Love Island     ITV2     4,333 
     3.     The Jeremy Vine Show     Channel 5     2,250 
     4.     Ant Payne     Capital FM     1,430 
     5.     Naked Education     Channel 4     1,413 
     6.     Gregg Wallace: The British Miracle Meat     Channel 4     801 
     7.     ITV Racing: Grand National Festival     ITV1     746 
     8.     Britain’s Got Talent     ITV1     728 
     9.     Scared of the Dark     Channel 4     302 
     10.     The Alternative Match Of The Day     GB News     222 
     11.     Good Morning Britain     ITV1     155 
     12.     Headliners     GB News     151 
     13.     Coronation Street     ITV1     144 
     14.     Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway     ITV1     130 
     15.     Dancing on Ice     ITV1     112 
     16.     The Brit Awards 2023     ITV1     106 
     17.     Laurence Fox     GB News     177 
     18.     ITV News London     ITV1 London     91 
     19.     Gogglebox     Channel 4     88 
     20.     This Morning     ITV1     66 

Love Island has received backlash from viewers on multiple occasions over the years for how it has handled issues of bullying and misogynistic behaviour among the islanders.  

While this year’s series generated fewer complaints this last year, it appears that there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure the villa remains a safe space for its contestants.” 

It’s also worth noting that Ofcom only reports broadcasts that have received more than 50 public complaints, so there are likely many individual episodes that generated concern yet are unaccounted for.

-Tudor Turiceanu, CEO of CasinoAlpha.com

Methodology: 

Ofcom Audience Complaints data was used for the analysis. Complaints for episodes of TV shows that aired in 2023 were totalled to find which were the most complained about. Complaints that were received in 2023 but were for TV show episodes that aired prior to 1st January 2023 were excluded from totals. 

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