'Big Brother,' 'X Factor' Garner Most 2013 Complaints From U.K. TV Viewers

Lady Gaga

Media watchdog Ofcom says overall viewer complaints declined this year, with a Rowan Atkinson sketch on a comedy charity show being the most-criticized on-air moment.

LONDON – Reality shows Big Brother and the U.K. version of Simon Cowell's X Factor were the two shows drawing the most complaints from the British public this year.

British media watchdog Ofcom published figures Tuesday showing that Cowell's X Factor U.K. on ITV managed to corral a whopping 734 complaints this season, with more than 300 alone coming in about Lady Gaga's turn on the show in October this year. 

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The watchdog ruled that Lady Gaga didn’t breach guidelines when she appeared onstage sporting flesh-colored underwear and a bra complete with removable white seashell caps while singing "Do What U Want" and "Venus" from her latest album.

Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother, currently airing in the U.K. on Channel 5, garnered 1,403 complaints across both shows.

Celebrity Big Brother attracted just under 500 complaints this year. Big Brother had 965 complaints to Ofcom, compared with 3,000 by late 2012.

It’s the second year running that both shows have topped the list, although the number of overall U.K. complaints is down this year. Ofcom cited 13,780 complaints for 2013 as of the latest count.

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ITV News received more than 500 complaints, mostly for a news item that aired about the death of a soldier who was hacked to death in broad daylight in London.

A skit for Comic Relief, a British charity founded by filmmaker Richard Curtis, garnered 492 complaints, with 487 viewers complaining about a sketch that saw Rowan Atkinson playing the Archbishop of Canterbury. That sketch is the single most-complained-about on-air incident of the year, according to Ofcom.

Rounding out the top five was Cowell's other TV show, Britain’s Got Talent, with over 400 complaints, most of which were about a Jennifer Lopez guest performance in a revealing outfit. Ofcom decided it did not warrant further investigation.

BBC News and Downton Abbey also made the complaints roster, the latter with a rape scene.