Ofcom reveals most complained moments of 2021 - featuring Piers Morgan and Prince Philip

Ofcom reveals most complained moments of 2021 - featuring Piers Morgan and Prince Philip

Never has there been a greater representation of the British love of complaining than finding out which TV moments upset people the most – and both the stats for the BBC and Ofcom have been unveiled.

According to several outlets, the most contentious content from the Beeb – who handle complaints directly first before the regulator gets involved – was their coverage of the death of Prince Philip, who died aged 99 in April.

The corporation’s reporting on the duke of Edinburgh’s passing received more than 109,000 complaints, as people took issue with “the amount of coverage given” to the death of the royal.

Responding to complaints at the time, the BBC said: “The passing of HRH Prince Philip, the duke of Edinburgh was a significant event which generated a lot of interest both nationally and internationally.

“We acknowledge some viewers were unhappy with the level of coverage given, and impact this had on the billed TV and Radio schedules.

“We do not make such changes without careful consideration and the decisions made reflect the role the BBC plays as the national broadcaster, during moments of national significance.

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“We are grateful for all feedback, and we always listen to the response from our audiences.”

Meanwhile, the broadcast regulator Ofcom reported a record year for complaints about both TV and radio content – increasing by 124 per cent to reach more than 150,000.

“So why are complaints on the increase? Well interestingly, it’s a relatively small number of TV shows driving the lion’s share; the top five most-complained about programmes account for 80 per cent of all complaints,” wrote Adam Baxter, director of standards and audience protection at the broadcaster.

As Mr Baxter says himself, high numbers of complaints to the watchdog does not necessarily mean their broadcasting code has been broken. It’s also worth mentioning that they can investigate a programme based on just one complaint.

With 54,595 complaints, Piers Morgan tops the list for his remarks about Meghan Markle on Good Morning Britain following the Duchess of Sussex’s interview with Oprah Winfrey in March.

Oprah with Meghan and Harry itself landed in fourth place, receiving 6,486 complaints.

After playing a clip in which Meghan confirmed she had suicidal thoughts over her alleged treatment by Buckingham Palace, Mr Morgan said “I wouldn’t believe it if [Meghan] read me a weather report”.

The comments – which later led to Mr Morgan leaving Good Morning Britain - were criticised by the mental health charity Mind at the time, who said they were “disappointed and concerned” by the broadcaster’s remarks.

In their ruling in September, Ofcom decided that the programme was not in breach of broadcasting rules around harm and offence, saying it contained “sufficient challenge to provide adequate protection and context to its viewers”.

It isn’t the only appearance by Piers Morgan in the top 10, as 3,429 complaints were made around “a variety of issues” from the programme which aired the next day, putting it in seventh place.

The broadcast included Mr Morgan asking fellow presenter Charlotte Hawkins to stand to show viewers the skirt she was wearing, and the exchange between the journalist and weather presenter Alex Beresford which led to that iconic walk off set.

Also on the list were Love Island contestant Faye’s behaviour towards Teddy (24,921 complaints) and Celebrities: What’s Happened to Your Face? (7,125 complaints) – which placed second and third respectively.

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