Bridgerton star Adjoa Andoh’s description of the Buckingham Palace balcony as ‘terribly white’ during the Coronation will not be investigated further by Ofcom.
The broadcasting watchdog confirmed today that it received 8,371 complaints from viewers about Andoh’s comments during the live broadcast in London on May 6.
Ofcom said it accepted viewers had ‘strong feelings’ about her comments, but it was a ‘personal observation’ in a ‘wide-ranging panel discussion which also touched on other diversity-related topics, and which contained a range of viewpoints’.
The incident became the most complained-about TV moment of the year so far and prompted an apology on the BBC from the actress, who plays Lady Agatha Danbury.
The watchdog said viewers also objected to ITV News presenters Tom Bradby and Chris Ship referring to the remark.
Adjoa Andoh stunned viewers by calling the Buckingham Palace balcony ‘terribly white’
Members of the Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for the flypast on May 6
King Charles III and Queen Camilla wave from the Buckingham Palace balcony on May 6
Andoh, 60, said at the time: ‘Looking at all those young people, there is a bit of me that has gone from the rich diversity of the Abbey to the terribly white balcony.
10 most complained about programmes in 2023 so far
- Adjoa Andoh Coronation coverage (ITV) – 8,371
- Jeremy Vine Show (Channel 5) – 2,250
- Ant Payne (Capital) – 1,430
- Naked Education (Channel 4) – 1,413
- Love Island (ITV) – 1,312
- Grand National (ITV) – 746
- Britain’s Got Talent (ITV) – 460
- Scared of the Dark (Channel 4) – 302
- The Alternative Match of the Day (GB News) – 222
- Coronation Street (ITV) – 144
‘I’m very struck by that. I am also looking at those younger generations and thinking: ‘What are the nuances that they will inhabit when they grow?”
The actress’s remarks prompted a backlash on social media, with thousands also complaining to Ofcom.
Andoh appeared on BBC Radio 4 the following day to clarify her comments and apologise. She said: ‘I think I upset a few people yesterday.
‘I was talking about the day and how marvellous it was and then looking at the balcony at the end and suddenly going: ‘Oh it’s so white!’ because the day had been so mixed and I didn’t mean to upset anybody.’
Andoh then issued a statement later in May following the backlash.
She said Charles had made a ‘loving prayer, reflecting his wide embrace of the rich diverse peoples celebrating his coronation’ during the service at Westminster Abbey.
She added: ‘Sitting in the warmth of that intentionally wide embrace, I was simply caught by the visual shift on the balcony – not a particularly original observation.
‘There was no intention to upset anyone. I continue to celebrate the King who created the Prince’s Trust (charity), loves the arts, cares for all faiths and for the future of our environment, as he has done for many decades. It’s an exciting moment in our history.’
The actress plays Lady Danbury, left, in the popular period Netflix series Bridgerton
Today, an Ofcom spokesman said: ‘We have concluded our assessment of complaints we received about a comment made during ITV’s coverage of the Coronation of King Charles III, and can confirm we will not be pursuing these further.
Ten most complained about TV moments ever
1 – Jerry Springer: The Opera – BBC 2 – 2005: 55,000 for swear words and blasphemy.
2 – Jade Goody and Shilpa Shetty race row – Celebrity Big Brother – 2007: 44,500 after Goody called her ‘Shilpa Poppadom’.
3 – Piers Morgan’s comments about Meghan Markle – GMB – 2021: 41,015 complaints after Morgan accused the duchess of lying about having suicidal thoughts.
4 – Jeremy Clarkson’s comments about striking workers – The One Show – 2011: 31,000 complaints after he said they should be ‘executed in front of their families’.
5 – Ghostwatch ‘death’ – ITV – 1992: 30,000 after viewers were left traumatised by a presenter being ‘killed’ by a ghost.
6 – Celebrity Big Brother ‘punchgate’ row – 2018: 25,327 complained after Roxanne Pallett falsely claimed that fellow contestant Ryan Thomas had assaulted her.
7. Love Island barracking – 2021: More than 25,000 complaints over scenes showing Faye Winter shouting and swearing at Teddy Soares, after she was shown footage of him telling another Islander he was attracted to her.
8. Britain’s Got Talent Diversity dance – 2020: 24,500 complaints after the troupe did a dance that included a police officer kneeling on Ashley Banjo’s neck.
9. EastEnders’ baby swap – 2010: After discovering her son James had died in his cot, Ronnie secretly swapped his body for Kat’s Tommy.
10. Adjoa Ando on ITV’s Coronation Coverage – 2022: Bridgerton star Adjoa Andoh’s description of the Buckingham Palace balcony as ‘terribly white’ during the Coronation.
‘We received 8,371 complaints from viewers about a comment made by actress Adjoa Andoh during the live broadcast, which focused on the appearance of the Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
‘Complainants also objected to references to the comment made by ITV News presenters Tom Bradby and Chris Ship.
‘While we understand some viewers had strong feelings about this comment, after careful consideration we have concluded that the comment was a personal observation which was part of a wide-ranging panel discussion which also touched on other diversity-related topics, and which contained a range of viewpoints.
‘Our decision to not pursue these complaints further also takes into account broadcasters’ and guests’ right to freedom of expression.’
Ofcom also confirmed today that it is still the watchdog’s most complained-about moment of 2023 so far.
The second most complained about moment of the year so far was a comment on the Jeremy Vine Show about junior doctors, which attracted more than 2,250 complaints for several supposed errors.
In third place was Capital Radio DJ Ant Payne’s ‘insensitive’ joke about earthquake-hit Turkey.
The presenter, who hosts the 4pm to 7pm slot on the station, said on air that it was ‘actually the best time’ to start looking for ‘cheap flights’ to the country.
He also joked that listeners could ‘get your teeth done while you are over there’ and ‘come back looking 19 years old’, adding: ‘You will be on Love Island next year if you are doing that.’
A total of 1,430 listeners complained as a result.
The most-complained about programme of 2022 was Love Island which received 2,360 complaints on July 17 after alleged misogynistic and bullying behaviour by some contestants in the villa.
In second place was I’m a Celebrity…. Get Me Out Of Here! from November 6-27 where viewers objected to the inclusion of Matt Hancock in the series.
Richard Madeley sparked 860 complaints after discussing death threats made to Sir Keir Starmer on Good Morning Britain.
Another large talking point was Gary Neville’s ‘politicised’ comments during the World Cup Final in 2022, which received 605 complaints.