BGT spin-off rapped by Ofcom over stripper act

TV show Britain’s Got More Talent has been rapped by the broadcasting watchdog for an episode in which a burlesque act stripped off.

Ofcom said that showing a striptease act when many children were watching “clearly crossed” the line before the 9pm watershed.

The spin-off ITV2 show, which the regulator said breached the broadcasting code, was first shown on Saturday April 13 at 8.35pm, but was repeated at 5.30pm, 1.25pm and 6.30am on other days of the week.

Viewers saw the stripper, Scarlet, being introduced to the Britain’s Got Talent judges – Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams – in a full-length sequinned dress, necklace and gloves.

On stage, she sang The Jungle Book’s Bare Necessities as Britain’s Got More Talent presenter Stephen Mulhern appeared backstage holding a card with the words ‘Get em off!’ Scarlet unzipped and stepped out of her dress so that she was wearing only a necklace and a feather boa.

She then turned to the audience to wiggle and reveal her naked bottom.

The images were pixellated and intercut with shots of the audience and judges’ reactions and at the end of the performance main show host Declan Donnelly handed her a dressing gown.

ITV disagreed that the pixellation was insufficient and said that the striptease was carefully edited.

It said that Britain’s Got Talent had featured similar acts, such as Fabia Cerra and Beatrix Von Bourbon, over the years.

But Ofcom said that the nudity was more evident than in previous shows due its “frequency and close-up” shots and that the pixellation was of “limited effectiveness”.

It said that ITV had not taken adequate steps to limit the images of nudity and that parents were not warned that the content might be unsuitable.

Almost 350,000 children watched the episode and its repeats.

Ofcom’s director of content standards Tony Close said: “There is a clear line in terms of what it is acceptable to broadcast before the 9pm watershed.

“A striptease act broadcast at times when a significant number of children were likely to be watching clearly crossed this line.

“The protection of children from potentially harmful content is a key area of concern for Ofcom, reflected in our ongoing work on the enforcement of the 9pm watershed.

“We will continue to closely monitor compliance in this area and take appropriate action when needed.”

Ofcom recently warned broadcasters about airing violence before the watershed and announced that it will commission research into the issue.