I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! aired comments on Sunday night, where Dame Arlene Phillips dubbed herself as ‘completely OCD’.
The former Strictly Come Dancing judge, 78, who is the oldest contestant to ever be on the show, made a remark about OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) on her way to camp.
During her car journey to Gwrych Castle, she told viewers what she was worried about in preparation for her stint.
She said: ‘I cannot live with dirt. I am completely OCD about everything in my life being organised, clean, neat and tidy.’
However, the comment was heavily criticised by many viewers who live with the condition, and felt it played down what it is like to live with OCD.
Now, charity OCD Action has reminded broadcasters how important it is that OCD is portrayed accurately on screen and is not trivialised via comments on shows millions of people tune into, such as I’m A Celebrity.
A spokesperson from OCD Action told Metro.co.uk: ‘OCD is a serious and often debilitating condition which can cause huge distress.
Arlene is currently in the Castle Clink camp (Picture: ITV/Rex/Shutterstock)
‘It is important that OCD is portrayed accurately on television as we know that stereotypes can prevent people from seeking the treatment they need.
‘OCD can get better with the right treatment and support, and we would encourage anybody who is struggling to consider speaking to their GP.’
OCD is the name given to a recognised condition that causes someone to become stuck in a cycle of distressing obsessions and compulsions.
It’s estimated around 1-2% of the population has the condition, but it can often be undiscovered due to being a very debilitating and often misunderstood condition.
Calli Kitson, who has OCD, told us: ‘In the past, insensitive comments about OCD would make me angry, but Arlene’s comment on IAC just made me feel disappointed. We talk about mental health so much more now, but why is OCD an illness that’s still seen as something to joke about?
Arlene said she would struggle with ‘dirt’ on the show (Picture: ITV/Rex/Shutterstock)
‘I was disappointed – the clip could’ve easily been taken out but then, at the same time, maybe this comment will shine a light on the fact OCD still has a huge stigma attached to it.’
She went on to say: ‘Arlene’s comment needs to start a conversation, we need to realise that OCD is rarely portrayed or talked about in the media. When someone talks about OCD correctly, it can be powerful, it can make those with the compulsive disorder feel less alone.’
Calli also noted the importance of accurate portrayals on TV and shared how characters like DI Neville Parker from Death in Paradise have helped her to ‘feel normal.’
Viewer Aron shared: ‘I’ve lived with and supported those with OCD for much of my adult life. And while a sense of humour is often useful in alleviating the suffering OCD engenders, it is vitally important that this nasty condition is understood as both serious and debilitating.
‘Societal compassion and access to good treatment remain key to tackling OCD and ensuring people do not continue to suffer needlessly.’
It’s not the first time a similar incident has occurred with a public figure, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak recently speaking of his ‘OCD approach to dishwashers’ in an interview with the Daily Mail.
Many fans were surprised the remark wasn’t edited out the programme, and have asked for the broadcaster to ‘do better’.
One tweeted: ‘As it was pre-recorded I’m disappointed that @ITV didn’t edit out. #OCD is not a funny quirky desire to be clean. It is a mental health condition that can turn people’s lives upside down. Apology needed from #imaceleb.’
‘OCD is not an adjective and not a ‘quirk’… please can @ITV take this on board? Let’s all work together to raise more awareness that OCD is a serious mental health condition and not a term to describe how clean you are.. #ImACeleb,’ said another viewer.
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Another agreed: ‘No, Arlene, you are not “OCD” about cleaning. OCD is a terrifying, life-changing illness and we need people to stop throwing the term around #ImACeleb.’
‘How many times, OCD isn’t a cute little quirk about liking things tidy. It’s a debilitating mental health disorder. Do better ITV, you didn’t have to show Arlene saying that #ImACeleb,’ a viewer added.
ITV declined to comment when approached by Metro.co.uk.
I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! airs daily from 9pm on ITV.
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