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Celebrity Big Brother: 11,000 complaints over 'punching' episode

Ryan Thomas Image copyright PA

More than 11,000 complaints have been made to media watchdog Ofcom about the Celebrity Big Brother "punching" episode.

In Thursday's episode, Ryan Thomas was given a warning for "punching" fellow housemate Roxanne Pallett.

The former Corrie star said there was "no anger or malice" in what happened after Roxanne complained to the show's producers about his behaviour.

Big Brother bosses issued him with a formal warning for physical contact.

Some viewers have uploaded footage of the incident to YouTube, arguing that Thomas was play-fighting.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Roxanne said the incident made her feel "uncomfortable"

Ofcom said it had received 11,215 complaints about the episode, adding: "We are assessing these complaints against our broadcasting rules, before deciding whether or not to investigate."

Both Roxanne and Ryan are currently housemates in the latest series of the Channel 5 reality TV show.

Pallett made her name as Jo Sugden in ITV soap Emmerdale while Ryan found fame playing Jason Grimshaw in Coronation Street from 2000 to 2016.

During last night's show Ryan was seen approaching Roxanne in the kitchen before appearing to use his fist to make contact with her body.

She said: "Ouch that hurt, I was going to wash your clothes but I might shrink them now."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The actress made her name playing Jo Sugden in ITV soap Emmerdale

After returning to the bedroom, the Emmerdale star added: "Just been beaten up by Corrie's Jason Grimshaw. Big Brother that hurt."

Roxanne then entered the house's diary room where she demanded to speak to producers.

"Something that's just happened made me feel really uncomfortable," she said.

"I'm in shock, I went from upset to angry. A boy has punched me repeatedly, unprovoked and deliberately punched me. Like a boxer punches a bag."

A producer of the show told her they took the incident very seriously and would be reviewing the footage.

"I can't believe you're letting somebody stay that has done that, it's not okay," Roxanne replied.

In another visit to the the diary room, the 35-year-old refused to sleep in the same room as Ryan and was allowed to sleep in a spare room.

"I am now suffering and I am now having to alter my experience because someone was violent. Now I am going to get nominated for being unsociable," she said.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ryan Thomas starred in Coronation Street for 16 years

Big Brother bosses then called Ryan to the diary room where they pointed out that while "almost play fighting" he "punched Roxanne in the ribs".

He was reminded of the show's rules and given a formal warning for his behaviour.

"We both know and Roxanne knows there was no malice, hurt or anger in anything I did during this time. I am sorry and I understand," he said.

The incident sparked a big debate on social media.

Some argued Ryan was being playful and Roxanne was overreacting.

Ryan's brother, Scott Thomas, accused Roxanne of trying to damage his "brother's reputation over what was blatantly some harmless play fighting".

Writing on Twitter, he said: "Be a drama queen all you want but don't try and ruin someone in the process."

Some even said Roxanne was "making a mockery" of domestic abuse.

But others argued that dismissing her claims was why some domestic abuse victims were not believed.

Newsbeat contacted Channel 5 but the broadcaster has refused to comment.

The current series of the show has already been marred by controversy.

More than 1,000 people complained to the media watchdog, Ofcom, after contestant Rodrigo Alves used the N-word in a conversation with another housemate.

He was removed from the house two days later for what producers described as "a further incident".

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