TV soaps have came under fire from media watchdog Ofcom for showing too much violence. Ofcom said it was concerned about a growing number of viewer complaints, and took the unusual decision to 'remind' broadcasters to limit such content. Ofcom issued the statement to broadcasters after viewers complained about four episodes of ITV1's Emmerdale, which were broadcast at 7pm last September. The storyline featured businessman Tom King and ex daughter-in-law Sadie being kidnapped by Cain Dingle. Viewers saw Cain appear to shoot Sadie. ITV said it regretted that 37 viewers judged the violence inappropriate but said 'whilst Emmerdale stories do not condone violent acts, it need not and should not shy away from them'. But Ofcom found the violence breached the broadcasting code. "During the concluding episode transmitted on September 21, Cain shot Sadie in the stomach at close range causing a large blast effect injury to her which was visible and in close-up. "Whilst this shooting later transpired to have been elaborately faked by Cain and Sadie, it appeared completely real to the audience at the moment of broadcast and it was, in Ofcom's view, an unsuitable level of violence to portray in a programme before the watershed at a time when children were likely to be viewing." In a separate statement to broadcasters, it added: "Ofcom has concerns about a growing trend of complaints regarding the portrayal of violence in soaps." But it noted that the programmes are aimed at adults and that producers will sometimes wish to include 'challenging material'. It added that, as these programmes are generally transmitted before the 9pm watershed, broadcasters must ensure such content 'is treated with particular and due care'.
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