Sky News was cleared of breaching rules by the broadcasting regulator today after Peter Andre broke down during a live interview, prompting hundreds of viewers’ complaints.
Ofcom found that Kay Burley’s interview in February was “persistent and probing” – but not “bullying and intimidating”.
Andre appeared on rolling news programme Afternoon Live shortly after it was announced his ex-wife Katie Price had married cage fighter Alex Reid.
The singer, who has children Junior and Princess Tiaamii with Price, had been booked to appear on the show a week earlier to talk about his new album.
But Burley introduced the interview by saying they would “talk about the wedding anyway”.
Burley said that Andre was “pre-warned” that the programme had interviewed footballer Dwight Yorke, the father of Price’s first child Harvey.
A clip from that interview was played in which Yorke criticised Andre’s interest in adopting Harvey.
Burley said she wanted to show Andre the clip “because we were wondering how you might feel if Alex Reid said he wanted to adopt your kids”.
Andre appeared visibly upset and said he did not wish to talk about the issue and asked to cut the interview.
Ofcom received 881 complaints from viewers, the majority of whom were concerned by the “intrusive” manner in which Andre was interviewed.
But neither Andre, nor anyone authorised to act on his behalf, complained of unfair treatment or infringement of privacy to the regulator.
Ofcom found it was “in keeping” with the established editorial line of the programme to ask Andre questions about the new marriage given that it was a major news story.
Ofcom said: “Further, it was understandable that the presenter focused on the human interest angle of the wedding by asking Peter Andre for his reaction, and how it would impact on their children.
“In Ofcom’s view, the audience could therefore reasonably have expected the presenter to ask him about the wedding, and the implications of it, given that the interview was taking place on a rolling news programme on the same day that the wedding featured as a major news item.”
The watchdog said Andre “knew that the wedding had taken place, was a major news story, and that he would be asked questions about it when he agreed to proceed with the interview”.
Ofcom described Burley’s tone as “measured” overall and said she did not put inappropriate pressure on him for a response.
Ofcom said of Burley: “She also expressed concern about his well being and apologised for any upset the broadcast may have generated.
“Ofcom also notes that although he appeared upset to some extent by the style of interviewing, Peter Andre is a well known professional singer with considerable experience of the media, who had agreed to appear on the programme to promote his album knowing that the wedding of his former wife was a topical news story.
“Overall, therefore, we concluded that the style of interview did not breach generally accepted standards.”
Ofcom also noted that in the past Andre had talked “candidly and frequently in public” about his relationship with Price and his children.
“Therefore the subject of his family and his marriage breakdown has been previously brought to public attention on several occasions and it would not in Ofcom’s opinion have exceeded viewer expectations for questions on these subjects to be put to him in the context of a programme with a populist news agenda.”
Ofcom concluded: “Kay Burley’s approach was persistent and probing, but in Ofcom’s view it could not reasonably be described as bullying and intimidating.”