Ofcom tightened its rules on contributor welfare in 2020 which means that prank shows where contributors are purposefully fooled are no longer allowed.
Instead, participants have to be informed of any “potential risks arising from their participation” that “may affect their welfare” in advance of filming.
The strict new regulations mean Sacha Baron Cohen would no longer be able to interview members of the public as his fictional characters Ali G and Borat to purposefully fool them.
Speaking to the Times, Alf Lawrie, Channel 4’s head of factual entertainment, shared: “You can’t make Ali G, Borat or Brass Eye now because the rules have changed.
“You can’t hoodwink people on the same grand scale. TV has become a slightly more regulated environment than it was 20 years ago.
“When you were making Borat 20 years ago, you could pretend quite seriously that he was from Kazakhstan and until it aired they had no idea otherwise. These days you can’t mislead people in the same way.”
Baron Cohen was catapuled into the spotlight on Channel 4's The 11 O'Clock Show in 1998, when he debuted his Ali G character, a wannabe gangster from Staines.
The character would approach members of the public and try to embarrass them by getting them to agree with a shocking insult or an inaccurate fact.
After the segment received much success, the “voice of da yoof” landed his own show on the broadcaster titled Da Ali G Show, which aired from 2000 to 2004.
Similarly in Borat, the writer pretended to be a reporter from Kazakhstan who travelled from his homeland to America to learn about US culture while pranking many along the way.