Big Brother Live on E4 and streaming is a unique programme. It is live and spontaneous. As a result it presents a range of regulatory and legal issues, which make gaps in the sound at times unavoidable. Though frustrating these gaps are essential. Without them we would not be able to broadcast live coverage from the House.
There are three main areas that result in a gap in sound:Strong Language and Adult Discussions, Privacy of people outside the Big Brother House and Legal Matters.
1) Strong Language and Adult Discussions
All E4 programmes transmitted between 05:30 and 21:00 (the watershed), must not breach the provisions of 'Family Viewing Policy' as set out by the ITC Programme Code. The code states that 'Material unsuitable for children must not be transmitted at times when large numbers of children may be expected to be watching'.
During these times, all swearing, discussions of a sexual nature and any other material inappropriate for 'Family Viewing' are edited.
After 21:00 we are able to gradually increase the amount of adult material through until 05:30.
2) Privacy of people outside the Big Brother House
Housemates often say things about friends, family or colleagues which are of a private or personal nature.
If broadcast, such comments would constitute an unwarranted invasion of that person's privacy.
The friend, member of family or colleague has not agreed to take part in the programme and has not given consent for personal information to be disclosed on television.
Even a seemingly innocuous remark may constitute an unwarranted invasion of a person's privacy. For example, a contributor may mention in passing that his sister-in-law has a particular illness. Even though true, that person may not wish the illness to be public knowledge. This example would result in a gap in sound.
3) Legal Matters
Libellous comment is the biggest issue in this area.
Problems arise when a comment is made about an individual, or a company or its products/services, which would tend to make a reasonable person think less of them as a result.
This may be an allegation that they have acted in a criminal way, or it may be a much less serious suggestion, for example, that they have lied, acted dishonourably or been hypocritical.
The main defence to a libellous statement is proving it is true. This requires convincing a jury that there is evidence to prove that what was said is actually true - an often very difficult task.
The person/company who has been libelled does not have to prove that what was said was untrue - The burden of proof is on E4 or streaming, the broadcaster of the comments. Obviously extreme caution has to be exercised in this area.
Please bear with us
We have an experienced team of people working 24 hours a day viewing the live coverage of Big Brother.
This team is in place to prevent contentious material being broadcast but with minimal disruption to the live transmission.
We endeavour to make the sound dips as short as possible.
Our experience has also taught us that there are more gaps in the first few weeks because of the number of people in the House.
As housemates are evicted, the number of gaps in sound will drop.
So keeping tuning in - it will get better.