Entertainment & Arts

Dermot O'Leary cleared over swearing during Comic Relief danceathon

Dermot Dances for Comic Relief
Image caption O'Leary danced for 24 hours non-stop during the broadcast

Dermot O'Leary's been cleared by watchdog Ofcom after swearing during a live broadcast of his 24-hour danceathon on the BBC One Red Button.

Dermot Dances for Comic Relief saw the BBC Radio 2 presenter dancing outside London's New Broadcasting House.

O'Leary swore at 13:30 on 13 March - well before the watershed - after a friend made a surprise visit.

Ofcom said he was initially unaware he had sworn but apologised 40 seconds later with a further apology on screen.

After being alerted by a producer, O'Leary said: "I'm so sorry if I swore - I swear, I didn't swear?"

Ofcom said that, while he was an experienced broadcaster who knew the rules about bad language and knew he was wearing a microphone, at the time of the swearing O'Leary had been "very tired".

He had been dancing for 18 hours, including through the night, after beginning the Comic Relief challenge at 19:00 the previous evening.

Image caption Hundreds of people turned out to support O'Leary during his challenge

The watchdog added that despite it being regarded as "the most offensive language", the word had not been scripted and had been directed at a friend, so was "said in a tone which was amicable rather than aggressive".

Ofcom said the BBC "took all reasonable steps in a timely manner to mitigate any offence caused", having broadcast both O'Leary's apology and an on screen caption stating, "we apologise for the use of strong language".

The watchdog said in light of these factors it now considered the matter resolved.

Hundreds of supporters - including Rastamouse, Sir Terry Wogan, Davina McCall and Little Mix - turned up to cheer O'Leary on during the broadcast, many of them dancing with him or serenading him.

The former X Factor host raised £643,336 for the charity.

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