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Sunday 31st May 2020

Contagion screening on ITV receives 160 complaints about 'disrespectful' timing

Timing is everything

While some might believe there is no time like the present to show a pandemic movie, many viewers did not agree.

ITV received 160 complaints to Ofcom about the decision to screen Contagion last night - just as the nation gets to grips with the coronavirus crisis.

And many viewers let their feelings out on Twitter, where the decision to screen it was described as "disrespectful" and "irresponsible."

Read more: Coronavirus: Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte clap for our NHS and carers

Gwyneth Paltrow stars as Beth Emboff in the 2011 movie

In the 2011 movie, Gwyneth Paltrow and her son become infected by a deadly virus. After they die from it, the US Centers for Disease Control attempt to contain it while the world descends into widespread panic.

Medics enter into a race to create a vaccine as social order breaks down. The virus is eventually discovered to have started in animals, passing from bats to pigs, in another parallel with coronavirus.

"Why @ITV aired the film contagion tonight is beyond me. How irresponsible and disrespectful to those suffering the effects of the C-virus right now."

Matt Damon plays Beth's husband, Mitch Emboff, who discovers he is immune to the deadly virus.

Read more: Coronavirus: Aldi shopper deliberately coughs at customer's face in row over social distancing

Jude Law wears a full bio-hazard suit in Contagion (Credit: Splash News)

A star-studded cast, including Matt Damon, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard and Laurence Fishburne, were not enough to distract viewers from the unfortunate timing.

Many registered their complaints on Twitter.

One wrote: "So the UK is in lockdown so the geniuses at ITV decide to put contagion on."

Another said: "Poor taste by @ITV to show the movie 'Contagion' on ITV2 this evening at 9.00pm. Social responsibility?"

Yet another viewer wrote: "Why @ITV aired the film contagion tonight is beyond me. How irresponsible and disrespectful to those suffering the effects of the C-virus right now."

A few viewers were keen to argue that now is exactly the right time to watch a film showing exactly how a pandemic is likely to pan out.

"Might just be a stroke of genius ITV showing Contagion tonight," one Tweeted.

Viewers gave Contagion, starring Matt Damon, a chilly response (Credit: Splash News)

Those in favour of the screening seemed to think it would help educate people about the risks of COVID-19, and encourage those who are not practising social distancing yet to start.

The scientific adviser on the film, veterinary pathologist Tracey McNamara, has spoken out on the message of the film earlier this month.

"I wish people had paid closer attention to it when the film came out, because it really was a warning to the federal government that this could happen and you need to prepare," she told Buzzfeed News.

What did you think? Was it in poor taste for ITV to show Contagion last night, or was it just what we needed? Go to our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyfix and let us know your views.