Entertainment & Arts

Fireman Sam 'Koran' scene cleared by Ofcom

An image from TV show Fireman Sam. A sheet of paper is depicted in mid-air - it is a page from the Koran, according to programme makers Image copyright Mattel
Image caption Ofcom said the Arabic text on the page (centre) 'could not have been deciphered, nor recognised as being from a given text'

Complaints over an episode of Fireman Sam, which seems to show a character treading on a Koran page, will not be investigated by watchdog Ofcom.

The scene shows a fireman slipping on papers and, as they fly up, a page with Arabic script appears to be among them.

Ofcom received 170 complaints but said on Monday it could not confirm the page was from the Koran.

The episode was pulled from Channel 5's streaming service but was first broadcast on TV in October 2014.

"We studied a recording of the programme in the highest possible resolution," an Ofcom spokesperson said.

"We found that the page did appear to contain Arabic text, but its contents could not have been deciphered, nor recognised as being from a given text."

Mattel, which produced the show, previously apologised and said it did not believe it was done "maliciously".

'Immediate action'

The company, which produces brands including Bob The Builder, Pingu and Thomas The Tank Engine, blamed the animation studio for the mistake.

"It's just an unfortunate incident where someone from the production company thought they were just putting in random text," a Mattel spokesperson said.

"We have no reason to believe it was done maliciously."

In a statement, at the time the complaints were made, Mattel said: "The page was intended to show illegible text and we deeply regret this error.

"We sincerely apologise for any distress or offence it may have caused."

It said it would "no longer be working with the animation studio responsible", and would take "immediate action to remove this episode from circulation".

"We are reviewing our content production procedures to ensure this never happens again," it added.

Fireman Sam began in the 1980s, and was broadcast in Welsh on S4C and in English on the BBC.

It aired on the BBC until 2008, when a new version of the show - which uses computer-generated imagery (CGI) rather than stop-motion animation - began on Channel 5.


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