ITV knuckles rapped over airing The Enfield Haunting advert during pre-watershed Britain's Got Talent ad break

Catherine Neilan
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The ad featured "eerie music", poltergeist references and a woman telling a teen "this is a house of death for you" (Source: Sky)

ITV has had its knuckles rapped over the airing of an advert for Sky Living drama The Enfield Haunting during an episode of Britain's Got Talent.

The advert for the series, which was based on claims of poltergeist activity in the north London suburb between 1977 and 1979, had been cleared by Clearcast with an ex-kids restriction, meaning it should not have been shown "in or around programmes made for, specifically targeted, or likely to be of particular appeal to children", Ofcom said.

However the ad - which featured "eerie music", references to poltergeists, exploding light bulbs and a woman telling a teenage girl "this is a house of death for you", was aired at 8:45pm during one of ITV1's most popular family shows.

In total 37 viewers complained, some of whom said their children had been distressed by the ad.

ITV said the ad had been "appropriately scheduled", arguing that young children were likely to be in bed at the time, but Ofcom upheld the complaints.

"The ad had been scheduled at 8.45pm on a Saturday night during Britain’s Got Talent, which we considered was likely to be seen as family viewing and that younger children might therefore stay up to watch it with their families," the watchdog said.
"Although the Barb data showed that children made up a relatively small proportion of the programme’s audience, it was nonetheless seen by approximately 1.6 million children, 745,000 of whom were aged between four and nine years. Viewers would therefore expect ads to be scheduled with the family audience in mind and were unlikely to expect to see ads that would be frightening to younger children. As outlined above we considered that the ad could be distressing to younger children.
"We also noted that the ad was shown at a time which was likely to be close to the bedtime of the younger children watching, and that a number of the complainants had referred to their children having difficulty sleeping because they were frightened. We therefore concluded that the ad had been inappropriately scheduled."

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