Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars in the hit comedy (Credits: Hbo/Kobal/REX)
Sky has avoided being punished by Ofcom after its response to airing an F-bomb in a pre-watershed episode of Veep.
A viewer complained to the watchdog over language used in an episode of Armando Iannucci’s hit comedy, which was broadcast at 17:30 on November 30.
The show should have required viewers to input their PIN code to watch the programme, but there were a series of unfortunate events which led to anyone being able to hear the swear word.
First, an announcement before the episode actually introduced the wrong programme, although viewers were told: ‘With very strong language and adult humour now, it’s Dane Cook: Vicious Circle. Oh god!’
Then, around 40 seconds of Veep played – without requesting the PIN – which included the F-bomb itself.
The transmission was quickly stopped, and in light of the complain, Ofcom asked Sky to explain themselves.
Sky has clarified the mishap (Photo: HBO)
According to the broadcaster, the mishap was down to an ‘extremely rare’ technical error which came as a result of two system errors occurring at once.
Sky blamed a ‘hardware fail leading to a loss of connection’ and ‘incorrect metadata’ for Veep – which stars the likes of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky and Tony Hale.
The network noted it has used to the same daytime PIN process on its Sky Cinema platform for ‘many years’, with ‘thousands’ of programmes broadcast without any issue.
However, after an investigation, it has now added further action to make sure there’s no repeat of this unusual incident and it is ‘extremely confident’ it won’t happen again.
In its ruling, Ofcom said that regardless of the reason for the error, ‘it would have still been possible for any children to have watched content containing the most offensive language’.
The regulator added: ‘Taking into account the action taken by the Licensee to ensure compliance in the future, including the use of additional measures within its broadcast system which we understand should prevent this type of incident from reoccurring, Ofcom’s decision is that this matter is resolved.’
What is Ofcom and what does it cover?
Ofcom is the regulator for the communications services that we use and rely on each day.
The watchdog makes sure people get the best from their broadband, home phone and mobile services, as well as keeping an eye on TV and radio.
Ofcom deals with most content on television, radio and video-on-demand services, including the BBC. However, if your complaint is about something you saw or heard in a BBC programme, you may need to complain to the BBC first.
Its rules for television and radio programmes are set out in the Broadcasting Code.
The rules in the Broadcasting Code also apply to the BBC iPlayer.
This Broadcasting Code is the rule book that broadcasters have to follow and it covers a number of areas, including; protecting the under-18s, protecting audiences from harmful and/or offensive material and ensuring that news, in whatever form, is reported with due accuracy and presented with due impartiality.
Audiences can complain to Ofcom if they believe a breach of the Broadcasting Code has been made.
Every time Ofcom receives a complaint from a viewer or listener, they assess it to see if it needs further investigation.
If Ofcom decide to investigate, they will include the case in a list of new investigations, published in the Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin.
An investigation is a formal process which can take some time depending on the complexity of the issues involved.
Ofcom can also launch investigations in the absence of a complaint from a viewer or listener.