Ofcom announces new rules for reality TV shows

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 18 December 2020
Mike Thalassitis

Mike Thalassitis

Ofcom has called on TV stations to look after members of the public who take part in their shows

New Ofcom rules demand that TV channels look after members of the public who take part in their shows.

The broadcasting regulator has decided to introduce new rules having witnessed a "steady rise in complaints about the mental health and wellbeing of programme participants" in recent years,

Ofcom said: "People taking part in TV and radio programmes deserve to be properly looked after.

"Our new protections set a clear standard of care for broadcasters to meet – striking a careful balance between broadcasters' creative freedom and the welfare of the people they feature."

The new regulations are geared towards "protecting vulnerable people and others not used to being in the public eye".

The industry regulator added: "Broadcasters will need to take due care where, for example, a programme is likely to attract a high level of media or social media interest; the programme features conflict or emotionally-challenging situations; or it requires a person to disclose life-changing or private aspects of their lives."

The issue has come into sharp focus in recent years following the deaths of two former 'Love Island' contestants – Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis – who took their own lives.

In 2019, 'Love Island' updated its duty of care policies for the show's contestants.

The ITV show worked with mental health specialist Dr Paul Litchfield to update its policy.

He previously explained: "I have reviewed 'Love Island's duty of care processes from end to end and they show a degree of diligence that demonstrates the seriousness with which this is taken by the production team.

"The processes and the support offered to Islanders have necessarily evolved as the show has developed and grown in popularity. The aim throughout has been to identify vulnerabilities at an early stage so that necessary adjustments can be made or potential Islanders can be advised that the show is not right for them."

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