Ofcom, the UK regulatory broadcasting agency, has ruled that the Derren Brown program "Something Wicked This Way Comes," which aired on Sunday morning, December 6, 2015, breached two provisions of the Broadcasting Code. The program, based on Mr. Brown's 2006 stage show of the same name, breached Rule 1.13: “Dangerous behaviour, or the portrayal of dangerous behaviour, that is likely to be easily imitable by children in a manner that is harmful…must not be broadcast before the watershed…unless there is editorial justification” and Rule 1.14: “The most offensive language must not be broadcast before the Watershed." The agency received five complaints about the program.
Mr. Brown, a well-known illusionist and mentalist, used the "F" word several times during the program, at a time when children were likely to be watching. He also demonstrated several tricks which Ofcom deemed were likely to be dangerous if children imitated them. For example, he used a plastic bag to cover his head, and he walked on glass. He did show that these tricks did not harm him, but the Ofcom regulators found that because the program aired during the period when children were watching, and the network (UKTV) did not attempt to justify the airing of the program during that time period, the airing of the content with its explanatory material did not outweigh the danger to children. It did acknowledge that the network aired the program by error in the time period and that the network is putting safeguards in place to prevent such a mistake from happening again.
Read Ofcom's decision here.
More here from the BBC.