Complaints made by TV viewers about comments and jokes made by comedian Russell Brand at this year's Brit Awards have been dismissed by the industry regulator.

Ofcom said that 262 complaints had been received about Brand's references to intimate body parts, drugs, Iraq, the Queen and Robbie Williams when he hosted The Music awards ceremony on February 14th.

The Brits ceremony, broadcast live for the first time in 17 years, was shown on ITV1 at 20:00 BST that evening.

Following the complaints received the broadcaster was asked to provide Ofcom with a statement about two jokes made by Brand on the night.

Ofcom said ITV had judged that comments by the controversial comedian in reference to Robbie Williams' reported admission into a drug rehabilitation clinic and rumours that Conservative leader David Cameron had smoked cannabis at school were justified because they were part of a "satirical joke".

The regulator also accepted the broadcaster's explanation over a second joke, which ITV acknowledged was "clearly a reference to sexual activity".

"While the comments certainly contained anatomical references, they were scripted in such a way as not to be overtly sexual," said Ofcom, which ruled that the gag was therefore not in breach on an industry code.

Explaining its decision not to uphold viewer complaints about Brand's comments, Ofcom admitted that the two jokes were "on the margins of suitability".

But it ruled that they "were acceptable in the context of an established music awards ceremony where a certain amount of controversy was likely to be expected by the audience".

"Ofcom also considers that the references made about popular culture by the presenter were sufficiently obscure to be beyond the comprehension of young children," the regulator added in a statement yesterday.



05/06/2007 08:17:45