PIERS Morgan’s comments about the Duchess of Sussex on Good Morning Britain has help drive a record number of complaints to Ofcom this year.

The Newick-born presenter left GMB in March after storming off set following a clash with co-star Alex Beresford follows comments made about Meghan Markle's interview with Oprah Winfrey.

His comments sparked more than 50,000 complaints - the most in watchdog Ofcom’s history.

Ofcom ruled his remarks were “potentially harmful and highly offensive” but said they were thoroughly challenged by his co-host Susanna Reid and ITV News’s royal editor Chris Ship during the programme.

The Argus: Piers Morgan GMB walkoutPiers Morgan GMB walkout

Complaints to Ofcom increased by 124 per cent in 2021, with more than 150,000 complaints made throughout the year.

The total figure did not include complaints about the BBC, which are handled by the corporation.

Ofcom’s director of standards and audience protection Adam Baxter said: “Interestingly, it’s a relatively small number of TV shows driving the lion’s share - the top five most-complained about programmes account for 80 per cent of all complaints.

“Social media – a digital home for modern-day water-cooler conversations – also has its influence on complaints figures.

“But for me, these volumes demonstrate the British public’s interest and passion for TV and radio programmes, and shows just how important they are to the cultural fabric of our nation.”

An episode of ITV’s Love Island was the second most complained about moment after contestant Faye Winter delivered a lengthy outburst to her partner Teddy Soares, prompting 24,921 complaints.

In third place was Celebrities: What Happened To Your Face on Channel 5, which looked at plastic surgery in celebrity culture.

A total of 7,125 complaints were made in regard to remarks made about the appearance of a number of stars featured in the programme.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s bombshell interview with Winfrey in March was the fourth most complained-about show of the year, with a total of 6,486 complaints.

The full list of the most complained-about programmes of 2021 is below:

1 - Morgan’s comments about Meghan’s mental health on Good Morning Britain (54,595)

2 - Faye Winter’s expletive-laden outburst towards Teddy Soares on Love Island (24,921)

3 - Remarks about famous figures on Celebrities: What Happened To Your Face (7,125)

4 - Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Harry and Meghan (6,486)

5 - The postcard from Casa Amor on Love Island (4,337)

6 - A discussion about the number of unvaccinated people in hospital on Lorraine (3,769)

7 - Discussion between Morgan and Alex Beresford on Good Morning Britain (3,249)

8 - Dr Hilary Jones criticises a fake Covid-19 information pamphlet on Good Morning Britain (2,632)

9 - A Good Morning Britain segment titled: “Ditching unvaccinated friends?” (2,104)

10 - A This Morning segment called: “How to lose the lockdown pounds” (1,942)

Mr Baxter said the high number of complaints do not necessarily mean rules have been broken.

“The judgments we make each day are often finely balanced – such as our highest profile case this year,” he said.

“But, given the importance of the right to freedom of expression, we only step in or take action against a broadcaster when we consider it necessary.”

Since Piers’ departure from GMB, ITV has not hired a full-time replacement and instead has featured a rotating cast of presenters, including Adil Ray and Richard Madley.

In September, it was announced that Piers would be joining the newly formed talkTV channel by News UK.

He joins News Corp and FOX Media as part of this deal where he will launch a new TV show in early 2022.

He also joined The Sun and New York Post as a columnist, as well as present a series of True Crime documentaries.

In 2021, Ofcom concluded 33 investigations and recorded 20 breaches, with many of these about hate speech or coronavirus misinformation.