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BSA upholds complaint over classification and scheduling of offensive content on reality TV show

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has upheld a complaint about the classification and scheduling of an episode of SAS Australia which screened on Bravo at 7.30pm.

The episode, following 17 Australian celebrities put through a gruelling training course replicating Special Air Service selection, featured aggression, potentially distressing psychological elements and frequent coarse language with more than 35 instances or variations of the f-word.

The complaint alleged the programme breached the good taste and decency, children’s interests, and violence standards.

The Authority found the content warranted a higher classification of ‘16’ rather than ‘M’, a stronger warning for frequent coarse language and a later time of broadcast outside of children’s normally accepted viewing times (after 8.30pm).

It therefore upheld the complaint under the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards, finding that viewers were not given enough reliable information to make an informed viewing choice or exercise discretion.

“Viewers would have anticipated some coarse language from the rating and the ‘L’ advisory, and the onscreen warning prepared them for the psychological elements to an extent. However, we do not agree that more than 35 instances of ‘f***’ is a ‘moderate’ level of content,” the BSA said in its decision.

This was especially so when this language was combined with the mature themes and the “rather aggressive and potentially disturbing tone of the programme overall, which also included elements of bullying, interrogation, humiliation and duress”, the Authority said.

Classifications and timebands are among a number of tools developed and promoted by the BSA to help parents and carers protect children from content that might harm them. Information on the available tools can be seen at



For more information contact Pete Barnao on 021 623 794.


The programme was broadcast on Bravo on 4 February 2021. The full decision is available at The decision was made under the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice (2020 edition) which is available to view on our website:


The BSA is an independent Crown entity that oversees the broadcasting standards regime in New Zealand. The BSA determines complaints that broadcasts have breached standards, undertakes research and oversees the development of broadcasting standards in consultation with broadcasters.

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