Monday 25 September 2017

Hundreds complain about UKIP Channel 4 drama before it is broadcast

A Ukip government would lead to riots in the streets and the loss of millions of jobs after the UK leaves the EU, according to the programme.
A Ukip government would lead to riots in the streets and the loss of millions of jobs after the UK leaves the EU, according to the programme.
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The communications watchdog has received more than 700 complaints following the screening of a Channel 4 docudrama depicting rioting on the streets in the wake of a Ukip general election victory.

Ofcom said that Ukip: The First 100 Days - which mixed archive footage with imagined scenes - had prompted 731 complaints since it was shown last night.

A Ukip government would lead to riots in the streets and the loss of millions of jobs after the UK leaves the EU, according to the programme.
A Ukip government would lead to riots in the streets and the loss of millions of jobs after the UK leaves the EU, according to the programme.

"We will assess these complaints before deciding whether to investigate," an Ofcom spokesman said.

The programme - which depicted riots between protesters for and against tough anti-immigration raids and featured a factory closing after the UK withdraws from the EU - was strongly condemned by party leader Nigel Farage.

"Look like 100 Days of Ukip may well have backfired on Channel 4. A biased, partisan depiction of the only party that Believes in Britain," he wrote on his Twitter feed.

Ukip MEP and parliamentary candidate Gerald Batten called on Ofcom to launch an investigation to establish whether the programme breached the Broadcasting Code.

The drama imagines the first weeks in power of a Ukip government led by Nigel Farage
The drama imagines the first weeks in power of a Ukip government led by Nigel Farage

"Political debate is one thing, and having a debate where people can put another point of view, or even a factual documentary about a political party. But this wasn't that," he told LBC radio.

"I'm not quite sure what you would describe it as apart from a piece of bile and vitriol from our political opponents, who don't happen to be in a political party - they're in a TV channel and don't have to go through the inconvenience of running for office.

"They can just spout their views and don't actually have to go out and defend them in elections, which we do."

The programme featured actress Priyanga Burford playing the part of the party's only Asian woman MP.

Nigel Farage has often been pictured with a pint in his hand
Nigel Farage has often been pictured with a pint in his hand

Her character is elected for Romford in an imagined landslide which puts Mr Farage in Number 10 and she is left grappling with her conscience amid the raids and protests.

Channel 4 has said "a lot of research" went into the film and that Mr Farage had been invited to watch it before it was broadcast and then to do an interview afterwards but he declined.

Channel 4 - which received around 250 complaints - defended the programme, insisting that it was fully in compliance with the broadcasting code.

In a statement, it said: "This rise of Ukip's electoral support is one of the biggest political phenomena in recent years and this is reflected in The First 100 Days, which used policies and statements made by the party and its members to create a fictional future where the party is in power.

"The programme was produced in accordance with the Ofcom broadcast code and its obligations to be fair, accurate and duly impartial. The election period set out in the Ofcom broadcasting code has not started.

"Channel 4 has a role to encourage debate and engage viewers in political issues - and the schedule will include a broad range of programming in the build up to the election including news and current affairs investigations, a party leader debate and a major new political drama on the formation of the coalition government."

Reuters

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