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Ofcom Vs Ferne McCann: Let Battle Commence

08/12/2015 10:38 GMT | Updated 07/12/2016 10:12 GMT

Five hundred people have complained because Ferne McCann ate a live spider on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! Speaking as a militant vegan and part-time arachnid rights activist, I do hope that Ofcom will put an end to this kind of barbarity. My thoughts and prayers are with the spider's family at this difficult time.

I also feel for the distress that these five hundred complainers must have suffered. Presumably they had forgotten that these modern television sets come with devices called "remote controls" that enable the viewer to change channels and thereby determine what appears on the screen.

In the spirit of fair play, surely ITV should now arrange for Ferne McCann to be tied to a stake and eaten alive by hordes of flesh-eating spiders? The footage would have to broadcast after the watershed, but I'm certain the ratings would be high.

Or perhaps the death of one spider isn't all that important after all. There are plenty of other reasons to find the show offensive, not least that it entails a complete surrender of all one's intellectual faculties in order to enjoy it.

It's very easy to get Ofcom riled up these days. Last month Jimmy Carr's jokes about dwarves on The One Show kicked off an Ofcom investigation after just two complaints. Of course Carr should have known better. Comedy, after all, should always be about punching up, attacking those in positions of power. But attacking dwarves is punching down, both literally and figuratively.

The problem isn't the complaints, but the fact that Ofcom feels obliged to take them seriously. People now understand that in today's febrile climate offence-seeking actually works and can be used to one's advantage. Recently, for instance, I went to buy some electrical cables in Maplin, only to discover that they are designated as "male" or "female" depending on whether the connector is protruding or receiving. As a gay man I was appalled by this flagrant heterosexism. I complained and was given a free memory stick.

And now that I know it only takes two complaints to get Ofcom on the case, I'm determined to use this to my advantage as well. Perhaps with a concerted effort, we could have all those banal and pointless reality shows expunged for good. We just need a good excuse.

So let's start complaining about the auction show Flog It! for its alarmist and triggering use of an exclamation mark. Let's call for the banning of Homes Under the Hammer for its partisan favouring of capitalism over a Marxist critique of private ownership. Let's have The Apprentice investigated for its disproportionate representation of total bellends. Surely such a lack of diversity can't go unchallenged?

Ofcom deserves our support. With their help, we can make watching television a better experience for all.