back to top

That John Oliver Segment On Brexit Was Not Shown On British Television

The reason? Because if it had been broadcast it could have broken Ofcom guidelines.

Posted on

You may have seen John Oliver's 15-minute rant on Last Week Tonight's Facebook or YouTube channel on why the UK should remain in the European Union.

HBO / Via

In the video Oliver criticised UKIP's comments on migration and some of the claims made by Vote Leave, the official campaign for Britain to leave the EU.

Last Week Tonight is shown on Sky Atlantic, a British TV channel, one day after it appears on HBO. However, last night the programme did not air as scheduled.

Seriously, this is fascinating. Either Sky Atlantic can't show @LastWeekTonight for legal reasons or they've chosen not to broadcast it.


So @LastWeekTonight with @iamjohnoliver, where he makes a case for Remain on Rupert Murdoch-owned Sky, has been moved to Thursday, 11.45pm.

In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Sky said it couldn't show Last Week Tonight due to broadcasting restrictions.

"Sky have complied with the Ofcom broadcasting restrictions at times of elections and referendums that prohibit us showing this section of the programme at this moment in time," it said. "We will be able to show it once the polls have closed on Thursday."

According to Ofcom guidelines, programmes like Last Week Tonight cannot broadcast a political opinion without providing either a counter-argument or at least a challenge to that political opinion.

Broadcasters take this especially seriously during the run-up to a referendum or election. There are also additional rules for elections and referendums.

However, no such regulations exist for shows that are not broadcast on television, hence why you are able to watch his rant in full on the internet.

HBO / Via Facebook: video.php

Sky Atlantic has confirmed that this particular episode of Last Week Tonight will be shown after the polls have closed for the EU referendum on 23 June.

HBO, which makes Last Week Tonight, has also been contacted for comment.

Scott Bryan is a TV editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London. Contact this reporter at:

Contact Scott Bryan at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.