Entertainment & Arts

UKIP drama sparks 1,000 complaints to Ofcom and Channel 4

Actress Priyanga Burford in UKIP: The First 100 Days Image copyright Rory Mulvey/Channel 4
Image caption Actress Priyanga Burford plays UKIP's only Asian female MP in UKIP: The First 100 Days

Channel 4 docudrama UKIP: The First 100 Days has prompted more than 700 complaints to media watchdog Ofcom since its broadcast on Monday night.

The programme depicted rioting on the streets after UKIP win the general election, mixing archive footage with imagined scenes.

Channel 4, which has defended the programme, has also had 250 complaints.

Ofcom said: "We will assess these complaints before deciding whether to investigate or not."

UKIP party leader Nigel Farage is among those who have condemned the programme.

"Looks like 100 Days of UKIP may well have backfired on Channel 4. A biased, partisan depiction of the only party that Believes in Britain," wrote Mr Farage on Twitter.

Speaking on LBC Radio, UKIP MEP and parliamentary candidate Gerald Batten called the docudrama "a piece of bile and vitriol from our political opponents".

"Political debate is one thing, and having a debate where people can put another point of view, or even a factual documentary about a political party. But this wasn't that," said Mr Batten.

He continued: "[Channel 4] can just spout their views and don't actually have to go out and defend them in elections, which we do."

Channel 4 said "a lot of research" went into the film and that Mr Farage was invited to watch it before it was broadcast, and to do an interview, but he declined.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Ukip leader Nigel Farage was not involved in the programme

The First 100 Days featured actress Priyanga Burford as the party's only Asian woman MP, who is elected for Romford in an imagined landslide making Mr Farage Prime Minister.

She is left grappling with her conscience amid riots and protests over tough anti-immigration raids.

Channel 4 said the show was fully in compliance with the broadcasting code and its "obligations to be fair, accurate and duly impartial".

It added: "This rise of UKIP's electoral support is one of the biggest political phenomena in recent years and this is reflected in The First 100 Days, which used policies and statements made by the party and its members to create a fictional future where the party is in power."

Ofcom said all of the 731 complaints raised the same issue, describing the programme as an unfair portrayal of UKIP ahead of the election period.

Channel 4 has said "the election period set out in the Ofcom broadcasting code has not started".

The broadcaster added: "Channel 4 has a role to encourage debate and engage viewers in political issues.

"The schedule will include a broad range of programming in the build-up to the election including news and current affairs investigations, a party leader debate and a major new political drama on the formation of the coalition government."

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