Varney interview among most complained moments

Nick Varney, Merlin Entertainments

A news interview with Merlin Entertainments’ Nick Varney was one of the most complained about television moments of the past decade.

Varney, Merlin’s chief executive, was interviewed by Sky News’ Kay Burley in the aftermath of the Smiler rollercoaster accident which seriously injured five people at Alton Towers in June 2015.

Burley’s questioning style attracted more than 1,800 complaints, which was the tenth most complained about television moment of the 2010’s, according to regulator Ofcom.

A petition to sack Burley subsequently attracted almost 58,000 signatures.

The presenter was widely criticised for repeatedly asking Varney the same question regarding other rides’ safety.

During the 14-minute exchange, Burley continually interrupted Varney during his responses, saying that the feature was “an interview, rather than just a statement”.

Burley also quizzed Varney over how the Health and Safety Executive would perform technical testing on the Smiler ride’s trains.

She also asked the Merlin CEO if one of the injured riders had “lost a limb”, to which Varney replied saying that was “absolutely personal information”.

Petition creator Gareth Pugh said of Burley: “This interviewing is an embarrassment to Sky News, she was rude and patronising not giving him chance to explain.”