BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Fleming and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2014-079

  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
  • Mary Anne Shanahan
  • Samantha Fleming

Summary [This summary does not form part of the decision.]

A promo for the series Broadchurch screened during a PGR-rated episode of Masterchef New Zealand. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the promo contained material likely to alarm or distress children. Any suggestion of something sinister occurring in the series was implied only, and not explicitly described or shown. None of the content warranted an AO classification or later time of broadcast.

Not Upheld: Children's Interests


[1]  A two-minute promo for Broadchurch outlined the premise of an upcoming series. It screened within a PGR-rated episode of Masterchef New Zealand, at 7.30pm on TV ONE on Sunday 4 May 2014.

[2]  Samantha Fleming complained that the promo contained material that would have been distressing for children and was unsuitable for the timeslot.

[3]  The issue is whether the broadcast breached the children’s interests standard of the Free-To-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.

[4]  The members of the Authority have viewed a recording of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.

Did the broadcaster adequately consider children’s interests?

[5]  Standard 9 requires broadcasters to consider the interests of child viewers during their normally accepted viewing times – usually up to 8.30pm.

[6]  The promo began by showing a distraught mother, and as it progressed, it implied something sinister had happened to her son.

[7]  Ms Fleming argued that the scenes of ‘a very distraught woman collapsing, images of a child’s bedroom and one character asking another whether other children were in danger’ constituted disturbing and alarming material that would be upsetting to children.

[8]  TVNZ said that while the material was ‘not necessarily designed for child viewers [it] would not alarm or disturb them’, and none of the content was ‘unsuitable to screen in this host programme’. While the promo implied that something bad had happened, TVNZ said, no violence was shown in the promo and the nature of the crime was not discussed. The broadcaster concluded that sufficient care had been taken in screening the promo at that time, and it was suitable for broadcast during a PGR timeslot.

[9]  In our view, the promo did not contain anything which went beyond its PGR classification. The PGR classification is defined in Appendix 1 to the Code as follows:

PGR – Parental Guidance Recommended

Programmes containing material more suited for mature audiences but not necessarily unsuitable for child viewers when subject to the guidance of a parent or an adult.

[10]  While the promo did carry a sinister undertone, at no point did the promo explicitly state that anything bad had happened, or what that was. Nor did it contain any graphic or violent material. The premise of Broadchurch, as depicted in the promo, was more suited to a mature audience, but parents were able to supervise their children’s viewing, or in the course of the two-minute promo, change the channel, if they were concerned. This is consistent with the PGR rating, and we do not think that the content was so explicit or distressing as to warrant an Adults Only classification or restriction to a later time.

[11]  We are satisfied that the broadcaster adequately considered the interests of child viewers by screening the promo within a PGR-rated host programme. We therefore decline to uphold the complaint.


For the above reasons the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority



Peter Radich
25 September 2014


The correspondence listed below was received and considered by the Authority when it determined this complaint:

1            Samantha Fleming’s formal complaint – 4 May 2014

2            TVNZ’s response to the complaint – 3 June 2014

3            Ms Fleming’s referral to the Authority – 26 June 2014

4            TVNZ’s response to the Authority – 30 July 2014