ITV News hit with dozens of Ofcom complaints after Rageh Omaar falls ill on air

73 complaints were lodged after the broadcast

Emma Guinness
Wednesday 01 May 2024 16:17 BST
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ITV News presenter ‘receiving medical care’ after becoming ‘unwell’ live on-air

ITV News is facing dozens of Ofcom complaints for seemingly allowing Rageh Omaar on air while suffering a medical episode.

Viewers of News at Ten contacted the regulating body after the award-winning broadcaster, 56, fell unwell while presenting the show on Friday (26 April).

In concerning footage broadcast live and later posted to social media, Omaar slurred and stumbled over his words but remained on air until the programme ended almost half an hour later.

Now, Ofcom’s weekly report has revealed that it received 73 complaints about the show with a spokesperson confirming that they were all “concerns about Rageh Omaar’s health during this broadcast.”

ITV has since confirmed Omaar received medical treatment in hospital and said he was “recovering at home with his family.”

A spokesperson said: “We appreciate viewers of last night’s News at Ten were concerned about Rageh Omaar’s wellbeing.

“Following medical treatment at hospital, he is now recovering at home with his family. We are wishing Rageh a speedy recovery and look forward to him being back on screen when he feels ready.”

The presenter subsequently received treatment in hospital
The presenter subsequently received treatment in hospital (ITV / screengrab)

The presenter subsequently issued a statement confirming that he had received medical attention after the event and thanked viewers and colleagues for their concern.

He said: “I would like to thank everyone for their kindness and good wishes, especially all the medical staff, all my wonderful colleagues at ITV News, and our viewers who expressed concern.

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Rageh Omaar thanked fans and colleagues for their well wishes (Ian West/PA)
Rageh Omaar thanked fans and colleagues for their well wishes (Ian West/PA) (PA Archive)

“At the time, I was determined to finish presenting the programme. I am grateful for all the support I’ve been given.”

It is not known what illness befell the presenter on air, although it has been reported as a suspected “mini-stroke.”

An insider reportedly told The Times earlier this week: “There are big questions about why he was allowed to go on air. Perhaps they thought, ‘He is a pro and the adrenaline will kick in when he gets on air.’

“Even if you think that he was just having an off day, you don’t need a medical degree to see that it was clear when you watched that something was seriously wrong.”

However, the MailOnline suggests ITV bosses attempted to replace Omaar with the standby presenter after realising something had gone wrong, but were unable to convince the veteran broadcaster to stand down.

ITV News told The Independent they refute all allegations that they knowingly allowed the presenter to work while sick.

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