Ofcom launches probe after Jekyll And Hyde complaints over pre-watershed gore and violence
Published 29/10/2015 | 16:27
British broadcasting watchdog Ofcom is opening an investigation into complaints about an episode of ITV's Jekyll And Hyde that was deemed "too scary" by some viewers.
A spokesperson said: " Ofcom has carefully assessed a number of complaints about Jekyll And Hyde on ITV.
"We are opening an investigation into whether the programme complied with our rules on appropriate scheduling and violent content before the watershed."
This follows complaints to the watchdog following the airing of the episode on October 25 at 6:30pm, which is hours before the 9pm cut-off point to show adult content.
UTV Ireland has confirmed it directly received just one complaint for the programme, which was broadcast at the later time of 7pm, and vowed to "continue to issue viewer discretion notices in advance of further episodes, where needed."
The episode in question featured a half-human half-dog creature called a Harbinger, the physical transformation of saintly Jekyll into evil Hyde, and the brutal murder of Robert's foster parents in Ceylon.
It also showed a violent bar-fight and a punch-up in an alleyway.
Ofcom confirmed it had received a total of 459 complaints following the episode and explained why it was unable get ITV to push the programme back to a later slot.
As a post-transmission regulator their powers do not permit intervention with broadcasters' editorial decisions. All licensed broadcasters must comply with the Broadcasting Code which sets standards for the content of TV and radio programmes.
The watchdog will be investigating section one of the broadcasting code, in particular looking at the rules saying children must be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.
Following the episode's airing, viewers expressed their views on Twitter, with one asking: "ITV why are you showing Jekyll and Hyde pre watershed? Too violent and scary when young children still up."
Reactions were mixed, as another viewer tweeted: "Jekyll and Hyde wasn't scary one bit. Kids watch way scarier films than that are rated PG.