UKTV has been wrapped by Ofcom for subtitling the word “f***ing” twice during a repeat of Casualty that aired at 10.30 in the morning.
British broadcasters are not allowed to swear in shows prior to the 9 p.m. GMT watershed but UKTV said in this instance the word was “incorrectly subtitled” and was “not audible” in the program.
The BBC Studios-owned network of channels, which includes UKTV Drama – the channel where the incident occured – was found this morning to be in breach of the regulator’s code that states: “The most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed.”
UKTV laid the blame at the feet of subtitling outsourcer Red Bee Media. UKTV said it contacted Red Bee as soon as it was notified of the swearing faux-pas in June and that Red Bee has a “number of processes and checks in place that should have prevented this word from erroneously appearing in the subtitles.”
According to UKTV, “the subtitler responsible did not follow the agreed procedures” and “did not check the broadcast time, and wrongly assumed that the programme was scheduled post-watershed”. It also said that the subtitler “did not follow Red Bee’s protocols” and had not referred the content to their line manager or duty managers.
The subtitler has been “disciplined and withdrawn from subtitling duties until they have been through a thorough retraining process with their line manager,” the Ofcom ruling added.
Ofcom took into account UKTV’s comments about Red Bee in its ruling but also criticized UKTV for failing to make an on air apology.
“Ofcom took into account [UKTV’s] representations that it had not experienced
this issue before and that it took action to address the issue once notified of it,” added the ruling.
“However, in Ofcom’s view, these factors would not have mitigated the offence caused to viewers as a result of this broadcast.”
UKTV has been found to be in breach but will not be fined. A similar incident occured earlier this year when Sky accidentally aired a repeat of Game of Thrones during the day that used offensive language including “c**t”, “f**ck” and “s**t.”