The British government's TV watchdog is investigating a reality show which challenges contestants to stay awake for a week.

Critics have accused sleep-deprivation show SHATTERED - which offers the winner a $170,000 (GBP100,000) prize - of exploiting the participants and endangering their health.

A spokesman for the government regulator OFCOM says it has been investigating TV network CHANNEL 4 after receiving complaints from the public.

Over the past week, Shattered contestants have been put through a series of endurance tests, including watching paint dry for one hour. The worst performing contestant is eliminated each day.

Producers, who initially said no sleeping would be allowed, permitted the occasional nap on the advice of medical experts after competitors complained of hallucinations, exhaustion and paranoia.

The winner of the contest, trainee police officer CLARE SOUTHERN, was announced on Saturday (10JAN04).

12/01/2004 08:40