Warning: This article contains content that some readers may find disturbing.
Britain’s Got Talent is in hot water with its 16th season after the second episode drew in a staggering 334 complaints – a total of 400 across both episodes, Ofcom reported.
The stunt that caused the ire, dubbed “insensitive” and “unacceptable” by the public, saw a professional stuntman named Thomas Vu cover himself in a fire-retardant gel, before he was set alight and left to solve a Rubik’s Cube.
In the wake of the stunt, hosts Ant and Dec were quick to issue a warning to viewers, telling them “do not try this at home, ever.”
And when the clip was uploaded to the official BGT Twitter account, the text ‘do not try this at home’ is splashed across the video.
However, distressed viewers still took to the comments section to share their distaste, with one writing that it was “absolutely ridiculous and irresponsible [and] should never have been allowed to be televised especially on a family programme!!”
Stuntman Thomas Vu solved the Rubik’s cube in the most UNEXPECTED way: https://t.co/nSEWOokCSb
— BGT (@BGT) April 20, 2023
“BGT totally ill-considered showing a guy setting himself on fire whilst solving a Rubik’s Cube,” tweeted another. “No thought to the fact that impressionable children watch the show.”
“Don’t get me wrong,” one began, “people do crazy stuff and it’s their choice and that’s fine by me but maybe that last act should have been well after the 9pm watershed?? Not sure that kind of playing with fire thing is suitable for young kids who probably stay up to watch BGT.”
“Like what has BGT come to when we set people on fire for entertainment,” someone else said on the matter.
And as yet another user put it, “sorry but showing a man setting himself on fire on a ‘family’ show is not acceptable. Even with the mention ‘do not try this at home’.”
Concern for children continued from there, with one tweeting “The Rubik’s Cube fire stunt on BGT was totally inappropriate. Did you not think about burn victims and how seeing this would affect them?”
Meanwhile, others simply found the stunt to be insensitive, with one even referencing the 1965 Bradford City disaster when they wrote “I just find this insensitive to anyone that has been through any trauma caused by fire.”
Criticism for the episode was so intense, coupled with the volume of complaints flowing in, that the show was forced to issue a statement, telling viewers “Britain’s Got Talent showcases a mix of variety acts to engage audiences.
“In this case, it was made very clear on screen that this act should not be tried at home and the programme was subject to strict compliance rules.”
Images: Britain’s Got Talent / ITV
This article first appeared on Over60.