Strictly no swearing before the watershed, Ofcom warns

Bruno Tonioli’s swearing on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing was “not acceptable”, broadcasting regulator Ofcom has said.

Media reports had stated that Ofcom was unconcerned by the use of the swear word at 6.35pm because it was not investigating the issue.

However, the organisation has clarified that the context and subsequent apology were the reason for its decision and it continues to “enforce the watershed” – which begins at 9pm.


Tonioli, a judge on the BBC TV programme, swore as he was commenting on singer Jay McGuiness’ dance.

Afterwards, presenter Tess Daly apologised for the comment and the programme’s Twitter account later said the show was “sorry for any offence caused”.

In a letter to The Times, Ofcom’s Director of Content Standards, Licensing and Enforcement, Tony Close, explained the regulator’s decision.


“In deciding not to pursue complaints about Strictly Come Dancing, we took into account the live, accidental nature of the incident and clear recognition by the other judges and presenter that this was unacceptable.

“We also recognised the swift and sincere apology by the presenter.

“We continue to enforce the watershed to protect audiences and will take swift, robust action when broadcasters get it wrong.”