I HAVEN’T watched Celebrity Big Brother for years but I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to watch recently, after hearing about the ‘punchgate’ incident.

Contestant Ryan Thomas received a warning after the incident, shown last Thursday, which appeared to show him air-punching in housemate Roxanne Pallett’s space.

What was an innocuous incident, with the 35-year-old giggling at the time, quickly turned darker as she claimed to have been punched in the ribs.

Producers reviewed the footage and although taking it seriously, and giving the warning, they appeared satisfied Miss Pallett was not hurt and took no further action. Had nothing else happened it is doubtful it would have attracted national attention, but things escalated as Miss Pallett's seemed to exaggerate the story, saying she was "hit like a punch bag", claiming they were hard punches, and even at one point mentioning a police investigation.

The worst of the claims was labelling Mr Thomas a 'woman beater', with viewers rightly pointing out this could undermine the accounts of real abuse victims.

It was all very bizarre and uncomfortable to watch as Mr Thomas broke down in tears and confused housemates questioned what had happened. Miss Pallett chose to leave the show and in an apologetic interview yesterday said she had "overreacted", explaining her judgement was clouded after suffering domestic abuse in the past.

In a July Fair Point column I was critical of producers of Love Island for their treatment of contestant Dani Dyer in an incident that attracted 600 complaints to Ofcom. The 'punchgate' incident received a much larger reaction - more than 11,000 complaints to the watchdog - but this time I find it difficult to be critical.

Many on social media called for Miss Pallett to be removed, having tried to damage Mr Thomas' reputation. As everyone could see the footage though it is obvious there will be no long term damage to Mr Thomas' acting career - who will be probably now go on to win the show.

If the situation had continued for longer there is an argument producers would have been at fault for letting it drag out for ratings. But as Miss Pallett walked it was quickly resolved, so you have to say producers handled a tough situation very well.