Channel 4 has taken the decision to axe the 2008 series of Celebrity Big Brother following the last series being enveloped in a race row.

The programme, which draws huge ratings for the channel, will be rested in the new year, while a decision on 2009's series is expected later this year.

Channel 4 has said that a break will ensure people do not think it has ever been away after the press attention kept the series constantly in the public sphere.

Broadcasting regulator Ofcom ruled that Channel 4 made "serious editorial misjudgments" during the Celebrity Big Brother series shown last year.

The regulator's investigation related to alleged instances of racist abuse suffered by the Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty while in the Big Brother house from fellow contestants Jade Goody, Jo O'Meara and Danielle Lloyd.

Ofcom received a deluge of complaints from the viewing public and a media storm enveloped the series, resulting in the eviction of Goody being held in private without a live audience outside the house.

Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom, said at the time: "Ofcom takes allegations of racist abuse and bullying on television extremely seriously. An unprecedented number of complaints were received and, whilst Celebrity Big Brother was still on-air, we launched a full investigation."

Channel 4 accepted Ofcom's decision to impose a sanction and noted that a review by the channel had prompted it to introduce new measures such as a new intervention policy for the show.

Andy Duncan, chief executive at Channel 4, said: "We accept Ofcom's judgement that on the occasions in question we did not ensure that Big Brother intervened with the necessary promptness or strength. We would like to say sorry once again for the offence caused to viewers as a result."

24/08/2007 12:46:48