Saturday Night Takeaway: Ant and Dec show investigated by Ofcom

Saturday Night Takeaway: Ant and Dec show investigated by Ofcom for ‘breaking broadcast rules’ after viewer wasn’t allowed to sit on ‘Secret Sofa’

An investigation has been launched into whether the most recent season of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway broke broadcast competition rules.

A viewer complained that they arrived at a ‘Secret Sofa’ location for a chance to win a prize before the deadline, but the off-camera signing-in process meant they were unable to register for the competition in time.

A spokeswoman for broadcasting watchdog Ofcom said of the March 10 episode, at which the incident took place: ‘We are investigating whether this programme broke our broadcast competition rules.’

Bending the rules? An investigation has been launched into whether the most recent season of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway broke broadcast competition rules

The ‘Secret Sofa’ segment sees a location unveiled with a sofa in it. Viewers are told that if they recognise the location and if they live close by and can get to it before the show finishes airing, they are in for a chance to win a prize.

On arrival, viewers are put through a supposedly swift registration process where they are assigned a number.

This number puts them into the draw to win a trip to wherever the season finale is taking place – in the case of this year, Universal Orlando Resort in Florida. 

Take a seat: The ‘Secret Sofa’ segment sees a location unveiled with a sofa in it. Viewers are told that if they recognise the location and if they live close by and can get to it before the show finishes airing, they are in for a chance to win a prize

Take a number: On arrival, viewers are put through a supposedly swift registration process where they are assigned a number. This number puts them into the draw to win a trip to wherever the season finale is taking place – in the case of this year, Universal Orlando Resort in Florida

The viewer in question supposedly arrived at the location with enough time, but was delayed by the registration process and denied the chance to take part, told they weren’t allowed on to the sofa. 

On ITV’s website, however, the terms and conditions state: ‘You understand that by being in attendance at a Location does not guarantee that you will be registered before the deadline.’ 

Ant McPartlin’s co-host, Declan Donnelly, presented the final two episodes of the hit ITV show on his own after McPartlin stepped back from his TV commitments following a drink-driving incident.

You can’t sit there: The viewer in question supposedly arrived at the location with enough time, but was delayed by the registration process and denied the chance to take part, told they weren’t allowed on to the sofa

On ITV’s website, however, the terms and conditions state: ‘You understand that by being in attendance at a Location does not guarantee that you will be registered before the deadline’

McPartlin was banned from the road for 20 months and fined £86,000 after pleading guilty to driving while more than twice the legal limit.

The TV presenter said he was ‘truly sorry’ after the crash, expressing that he had let down his family, friends and fans.

He has had a turbulent year – following a stint in rehab due to an addiction to pain killers, and the break down of his marriage to now-estranged wife Lisa Armstrong.

Troubled: Ant McPartlin’s co-host, Declan Donnelly, presented the final two episodes of the hit ITV show on his own after McPartlin stepped back from his TV commitments following a drink-driving incident

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