Saturday Night Takeaway's Ant and Dec's drag act receives 59 Ofcom complaints

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Saturday Night Takeaway hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly’s drag act has received 59 Ofcom complaints and sparked a bizarre ‘womanface’ row online.

At the end of Saturday night’s episode as the hosts returned for the first show of the 18th series, they donned wigs and sparkly dresses to perform in drag.

While the End Of The Show Show was celebrated by many, some viewers were left unimpressed by the performance and claimed it was ‘misogynistic’.

Unimpressed: Saturday Night Takeaway hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly's drag act has received 59 Ofcom complaints and sparked a bizarre'womanface' row online

Unimpressed: Saturday Night Takeaway hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly’s drag act has received 59 Ofcom complaints and sparked a bizarre ‘womanface’ row online

One angry viewer wrote on Twitter: ‘Absolutely DIGUSTED in you doing #womanface on TV. It’s not fun to appropriate the identities of others and parody them.

‘Women are fed up being the only oppressed group it’s ok to abuse. Pure misogyny.’

Many people complaining about the act used the term ‘woman face’, which is defined online as ‘men who deliberately behave, stereotypically feminine (a lot of makeup, fake breasts, tight clothes). It is a form of misogyny that reinforces gender stereotypes.’

Showtime! At the end of Saturday night's episode as the hosts returned for the first show of the 18th series, they donned wigs and sparkly dresses to perform in drag

Showtime! At the end of Saturday night’s episode as the hosts returned for the first show of the 18th series, they donned wigs and sparkly dresses to perform in drag

According to Ofcom, they received 59 complaints related to a drag routine and eight complaints related to a prank made against Jeremy Clarkson.

During the show they were joined by three winners from RuPaul’s Drag Race UK – The Vivienne, Lawrence Chaney and Krystal Versace.

Ant and Dec – who called themselves Lady Antoinette and Miss Donna Lee – did receive some backlash following the performance. 

Referencing the act on social media, one person said:'#womanface is pure undistilled #misogyny'

Referencing the act on social media, one person said: ‘#womanface is pure undistilled #misogyny’

Referencing the act on social media, one person said: ‘#womanface is pure undistilled #misogyny.’

While adding: ‘I am a lesbian. Straight men doing #womanface certainly would not have changed my life in a positive way.

‘Seeing positive portrayals of lesbians on TV would have. Unfortunately, there were none in the 80s.’

Another person fumed:'It's degrading and disgusting. We are not a paraody or fetish'

Another person fumed: ‘It’s degrading and disgusting. We are not a paraody or fetish’

Another person fumed: ‘It’s degrading and disgusting. We are not a paraody or fetish.’

While one viewer creditted the performance as ‘wonderful’ online, another person replied to the tweet, questioning: ‘In what way is woman face wonderful?’

One other said: ‘Drag is #misogyny #dragrace #sexmatters #womanface.’ 

Another said:'Ant and Dec have sunk to the lowest common denominator, a sex parody of a woman'

Another said: ‘Ant and Dec have sunk to the lowest common denominator, a sex parody of a woman’

One other upset fan, said: ‘Drag is no “identity”. This is a parade of sexist stereotypes, a pornified mockery of women – created for the sake of adult male entertainment. It’s offensive af, it’s humiliatin women, it hurts girls to see this.’ 

Another said: ‘Ant and Dec have sunk to the lowest common denominator, a sex parody of a woman.’ 

A third put: ‘I have disturbed for some time by underlying misogyny of many drag acts. Why is it OK to dress up as, grotesque and ridicule women when it wouldn’t be acceptable to target any other group this way.’ 

They wrote:'They say it shows young people "it's ok to be who you want to be". Why is that always appropriations /imitations / mockery of women though?'

They wrote: ‘They say it shows young people “it’s ok to be who you want to be”. Why is that always appropriations /imitations / mockery of women though?’

Another person linked an article from the BBC which quoted Ant and Dec’s make-up artist saying that their primetime performance would ‘change the lives of so many young queer children’.

They wrote: ‘They say it shows young people “it’s ok to be who you want to be”. Why is that always appropriations /imitations / mockery of women though?’

Another said: ‘Say no to #womanface.’ 

Another said:'Say no to #womanface'

Another said: ‘Say no to #womanface’

Make-up artist Ellis Atlantis, who joined RuPaul’s make-up mogul Raven, on the show told the BBC after the show: ‘While I was doing Dec’s make-up I said to him: “You might not realise this…

“But when you go out there in drag and you do this song on a mainstream stage it’s going to change so many young queer children’s lives”. And he totally got it.’

While some took took umbrage with the performance, the high-profile presenters others into a frenzy with their Drag Race routine. 

Special guest: During the show they were joined by three winners from RuPaul's Drag Race UK – The Vivienne, Lawrence Chaney and Krystal Versace

Special guest: During the show they were joined by three winners from RuPaul’s Drag Race UK – The Vivienne, Lawrence Chaney and Krystal Versace

Wow! The hosting duo performed We Werk Together in aid of The Trussell Trust - who support a network of food banks across the UK

Wow! The hosting duo performed We Werk Together in aid of The Trussell Trust – who support a network of food banks across the UK

The hosting duo performed We Werk Together in aid of The Trussell Trust – who support a network of food banks across the UK.

They claimed earlier in the proceedings that it would be the first time in the show’s history they wouldn’t be starring in the final instalment – but later left mouths agape as they hit the stage in statement ensembles and full faces of makeup.

ITV viewers flocked to Twitter in excitement at the time, with one impressed fan tweeting: ‘They looked better than the actual drag queens!’

Others were also quick to heap praise onto the spectacular finale, writing comments such as: ‘What an end of the show show!’ and, ‘Ant and Dec in drag is unbelievable. That makeup is incredible.

It was first time the show has welcomed back a live audience in two years since last series’ proceedings went virtual owing to the Covid-19 pandemic – and both Ant and Dec were taken-aback at the roaring crowd’s enthusiasm on their return. 

Making an entrance: The duo hit the stage in statement ensembles and full faces of makeup

Making an entrance: The duo hit the stage in statement ensembles and full faces of makeup

Impressed: Others were also quick to heap praise onto the spectacular finale, writing comments such as:'What an end of the show show!' and,'Ant and Dec in drag is unbelievable. That makeup is incredible'

Impressed: Others were also quick to heap praise onto the spectacular finale, writing comments such as: ‘What an end of the show show!’ and, ‘Ant and Dec in drag is unbelievable. That makeup is incredible’

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