Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway Ofcom moments – blackface and vote scandal

ITV's Ant and Dec's Saturday Night's Takeaway has been entertaining Brits across the nation for an incredible twenty years.

Giving audience members the chance to win prizes from advertisements, presenters Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly ensure they keep fans entertained along the way with their incredible skits and joyful humour.

But although the light-hearted entertainment show runs fairly smoothly most weeks, there have been incidents where viewers have been forced to complain to Ofcom.

And due to the fact that the show is considered to be family entertainment, occasionally things can get slightly out of hand.

With the brand new series kicking off on ITV tonight (Saturday 19), Daily Star has taken a look at the show's most complained about Ofcom moments.

PussyCat Dolls raunchy routine

The Pussycat Dolls are often known to turn up the heat with their performances, but in 2020, fans thought things were getting a little too hot for primetime TV.

Lead by Nicole Scherzinger, the five ladies strutted their stuff in rather scantily clad attire which left little to viewers' imaginations while on stage.

Singing a melody of their hit songs the women performed a steamy routine and presenters Ant and Dec also got in on the action by interrupting the gig and stripping off some of their own clothes.

Trying their best to offer their clothes to the ladies, the presenters jokingly told them to "tone down" on their steamy act.

Poking fun at their previous performance on The X Factor which received 802 complaints for their overly sexualised content, the ladies refused Ant and Dec's proposition.

Although it was hilarious, some viewers felt it was a bit too much and complained online. While others took it a step further and issued a formal complaint to Ofcom.

Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Take Away received 68 Ofcom complaints at the time.

Height jokes

Last year, viewers failed to see the funny side once again when Ant poked fun at Dec’s height during a sketch.

In the short comedy skit called Double Trouble, Ant and Dec chase after a hooded man.

The mystery person happened to be Bear Grylls and the two presenters looked terrified when asked if the real-life action man was there to save them.

Ant and Dec asked him: "Have you come to rescue us?"

Bear responded: "No, this thing is way bigger than you."

Ant then said: "Well everything’s bigger than him."

Although the pair have made several height jokes in the past, fans were not impressed with Ant making jibes at Dec's heigh on this occasion.

96 viewers registered complaints with Ofcom at the time.

Ant and Dec apologise for blackface

The well-loved Geordie duo were forced to apologise to fans in 2020 after they imitated people of colour during their skits on Saturday Night's Takeaway for several years.

Some of their infamous disguises include using make-up to impersonate Japanese girls and Ant previously dressed in cultural clothing to resemble an Arab man.

In 2003, the pair also dressed as two Jamaican women named Patty and Bernice to prank Emmerdale cast members.

In a joint statement issued during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, Ant and Dec said: "During past episodes of Saturday Night Takeaway we impersonated people of colour in the undercover segment of the show.

"We realise this was wrong and want to say that we sincerely sorry to everyone that was offended.

"We purposely stopped doing this several years ago and certainly would not make these sketches today.

"We had already taken steps to ensure footage was taken down and have again recently confirmed with ITV that these segments, and any other historical content, that could cause offence, does not appear on either the ITV Hub or the Saturday Night Takeaway YouTube channel."

Racy Cat Deeley joke

In 2020, Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway was hit with Ofcom complaints again after Cat Deeley joked that she had been "filled in" by Dec during a comedy skit.

The pair fuelled major nostalgia amongst avid TV viewers as they reunited with Cat for a special wedding episode.

But although there was a lot going on, many fans thought the sexual innuendos and crude jokes were inappropriate for a family show and rushed to Ofcom to complain.

During the wedding scene, Ant who was dressed as a priest was heard saying: "Guys, my friend international film star Simon Pegg was just on the call there but the line went dead.

Pointing to his leg, Dec said: "Ant, why don’t you pull the other one because this one is still sore from tripping on the steps."

But viewers were left shocked after Ant complimented Cat in her wedding dress, to which she replied, "I’m very out of breath. Declan’s filled me in and…."

Discussing the scenes with Daily Star at the time, Ofocm said: "We received 96 complaints in total about the programme including about some of the jokes and innuendos."

Phone voting scandal

In 2008, the Britain's Got Talent presenters feared their careers would come to an end due to a phone voting scandal which left ITV with a hefty fine.

Broadcaster ITV was fined over £5.5 million by communications watchdog Ofcom after it appeared that viewers on shows, including Saturday Night Takeaway, had paid to enter premium rate phone competitions which they stood very little chance of winning.

Talking openly on Desert Island Discs, the comical pair admitted that they were surprised that something of that nature could happen to them and they worried that they would lose trust with their audience.

Ant said: "I think our audience trust us and with that case we were really worried that trust had gone."

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