A homophobic outburst by comedian Jim Davidson on a reality TV show did not break broadcasting rules, the industry’s watchdog has ruled.

197 people complained to Ofcom in September after the comedian, appearing on ITV’s Hell’s Kitchen, mocked fellow contestant Brian Dowling about his sexuality and used the words ‘poof’ and ‘shirt lifter.’

Dowling, who came to public attention through appearing in reality shows, was reduced to tears.

Davidson voluntarily left the show shortly after his clash with Dowling.

Yesterday Ofcom said that reality show viewers needed “an unedited insight into the contestants’ personalities”.

“There was a consensus view on the programme that Jim Davidson’s behaviour towards Brian Dowling was not acceptable and that he was in the minority.”

“Why do shirt lifters pull that same face?” Davidson asked Dowling and another contestant about some customers in the restaurant.

“Please don’t say shirt lifters,” Brian replied. “It’s really rude.”

“I don’t care,” Davidson replied. “Some gay men have the same look.”

“What look?” Dowling asked: “Do I have that look?”

“No, only when you put it on,” Davidson replied. “It’s a sort of preen.”

Later on Davidson asked Dowling: “Why do you have to play the homophobic card?”

“How can you say that to me?” Dowling asked while sobbing “I am sitting right beside you. I am an equal to you Jim, in everything we have ever done.”

“Sure – that’s what GAY stands for,” Davidson replied “‘Good As You’. I know that.”

“Jim don’t say that,” Dowling replied. “Jim, I am Brian – not ‘Good As You’. I am an equal to you. You are being really, really horrible to me now .Why can’t I be Brian and you be Jim?”

31 complaints about the use of the term ‘pikey’s picnic’ by chef Marco Pierre White were also rejected.