An episode of TV drama Casualty has breached broadcasting rules after swear words appeared in subtitles before the watershed, Ofcom has ruled.
The media watchdog received a complaint about offensive language in the optional subtitles of a repeated episode of the British TV series which aired on June 12, including two instances of the word “f**king” despite the programme’s audio not using any offensive language.
On Monday, Ofcom ruled that the programme had breached its rule that prohibits the “most offensive language on television before the watershed” as it aired at 10.30am on TV channel Drama.
UKTV Media, which holds the licence for Drama, said the episode was “incorrectly subtitled” and apologised for the incident.
It also explained that subtitling of the show is outsourced to Red Bee Media and the subtitler, who had not followed protocols, had been “disciplined and withdrawn from subtitling duties until they have been through a thorough retraining process with their line manager”.
UKTV said that it provides “huge volumes of access services across our linear channels” and the “error” in this circumstance was “the first issue of this nature UKTV has experienced”.
It also said that both UKTV and Red Bee had taken action and put extra processes and training in place to stop it from happening again, while asking Ofcom to consider the case resolved.
The UK regulator said while it took into account UKTV had not experienced the issue before and took action to address it afterwards, there were no mitigating factors such as on-air apology.
Ofcom ruled the broadcast was in breach of rule 1.14 of the code which prevents offensive language before the watershed.
A spokesperson from UKTV said: “This subtitling error occurred due to human error and we apologise for any offence caused. We have comprehensive guidance in place which has been reshared with the subtitling team.
“We take our commitment to providing subtitling for our viewers extremely seriously and we continue to exceed the required quota for subtitling and audio description on our channels.”
Drama is a television channel which specialises in repeats of well-known British TV drama series, including Casualty, which usually airs on BBC One.