Media regulator Ofcom has rebuked the BBC over an episode of Dick and Dom’s Hoopla! In which footage of a young girl retching was aired following an eating contest.
TV cameras were trained on the 11 year old girl as she retched into a bucket in the aftermath of her challenge, eliciting complaints from two viewers.
The game show style challenge saw the girl square off against a boy to drink ‘vile concoctions’ of fluid in front of a live audience, drawing criticism from the regulator for failing to exercise ‘due care’.
Ofcom observed that the girl appeared to be in a state of ‘discomfort’ whilst downing a mixture of mayonnaise, spaghetti soup and tomato soup and noted that the presenters were ‘verging on the aggressive’.
In a statement Ofcom said the presenters ‘… repeatedly shouted at, berated and chided the girl and the boy, albeit in a comedic manner, to urge them to eat the various foods they were presented with’.
Acknowledging Ofcom’s findings the BBC said: “… the spectacle of obvious discomfort would have struck some viewers as going beyond acceptable boundaries, even though her subsequent participation in the programme made clear that her discomfort was temporary".
Both the girl and her mother had given full consent to the BBC in advance of broadcast.