'Real sex' warning to broadcasters as Love Island avoids Ofcom rap

Broadcasters should take “particular care” when broadcasting “real sex” after the watershed, watchdog Ofcom has said – despite clearing TV show Love Island over scenes involving two contestants getting intimate.

Ofcom investigated the ITV2 show – presented by Caroline Flack – following complaints about Emma-Jane Woodham and Terry Walsh having sex in footage shown just after the watershed.

Shots of the contestants were filmed using night-vision cameras and they were interspersed with the shocked reactions of other housemates. Viewers had been warned beforehand that there would be scenes of a “sexual nature”.

ITV described the incident as “relatively inexplicit, due to careful editing, although the viewer is rarely left in doubt that some sexual activity is occurring”.

An Ofcom spokeswoman said the programme was not in breach of the watchdog’s rules.

She said: “We investigated a small number of complaints about a scene where two housemates had sex shortly after the watershed, but didn’t find it breached broadcasting rules.

“The shots of the couple were very brief and relatively indistinct as a result of the use of a night-vision camera. The tone was lightened by the focus on the other housemates’ reactions (which) reduced the material’s potential to cause offence.”

But she added: “We consider that content including real sex may carry a greater potential to raise issues under the code than depictions of sex in a drama or film. Broadcasters should take particular care and exercise caution when scheduling material of this type soon after the watershed.”

Ofcom will also not investigate TV show Naked Attraction or complaints about sexual activity and violent behaviour from Stephen Bear on Celebrity Big Brother.

The spokeswoman said: “We received a number of complaints about the current series of Celebrity Big Brother to date. However, we won’t be taking these issues forward for investigation.

“We’re satisfied that Channel 5 broadcast clear and appropriate warnings about the potentially offensive content, and intervened in heated exchanges and tense situations at appropriate times.

“We also took into account the audience’s expectations of this well-established reality format, and that the series is aired after the watershed.”

Channel 4 post-watershed dating show Naked Attraction attracted 248 complaints.

The controversial show attempted to match up individuals by getting them to stand naked in front of each other on TV.

The Ofcom spokeswoman said: “We won’t be taking the matter forward for investigation. In our view, the material was justified by the context of the programme. It was scheduled appropriately, and clear warnings were given prior to broadcast.”

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