Channel If you expect festive cheer from your favourite soap this week, you'll be disappointed. For TV writers have been doing their best to give us the bleakest Christmas on record.
A corpse in a lake, the attempted strangling of a pensioner, a baby abduction and the return of a notorious killer and drug addict, will feature in some of the most popular shows.
And producers have been accused of upping the ante on the last year's Christmas shock tactics to win the ratings war.
Coronation Street will arguably be home to the most dramatic storyline, as one of the older characters is throttled with a negligee. Jed Stone falls foul of Tony Gordon at the factory.
On Emmerdale, a dead body is discovered in an ice-covered lake after another character falls in. And in EastEnders, character Sean Slater kidnaps the baby he thought was his and takes her to a deserted flat on Christmas Day. Then on the New
Year's day show he falls into an icy lake with his estranged wife Roxy, before leaving the show in a dramatic fashion.
John Beyer, of the TV pressure group Mediawatch-UK, said the soap shock-tactics were out of control: I just think there is enough doom and gloom around at the moment. Everyone's Christmas should be a time of joy and peace, not a misery fest.
Once again I feel like broadcasters are out of step with public feeling.
He added: They are all competing with each other to get the biggest audiences. They keep upping the ante to try to keep the ratings up and the logical conclusion is that they will end up alienating the audience.
I think there are
questions of compliance... [With what we think people
should be watching]
Channel 4 has received a few nutter complaints over a disgusting sex education series screened at a time when young children could be watching.
KNTV Sex , described by the channel as the alternative guide to sex education, goes out at 11am on weekdays.
Aimed at 14 to 19-year-olds, it covers issues such as masturbation, sexually-transmitted diseases, fetishes, bisexuality and homosexuality.
It attracted 100 complaints from viewers.
One said: I cannot believe that C4 would put such a disturbing programme on the air at 11am. The programme is not teaching anything except that sex is something amazing that you should do - it's absolutely disgusting.
John Beyer of Mediawatch UK said: I think there are questions of compliance and how this show works with the broadcasting codes and the protection of children. Ofcom needs to look at this. The trouble is that Channel 4 just do what they want
Norman Wells of Family and Youth Concern said: Once again Channel 4 is seeking to push back the boundaries of what constitutes acceptable material for daytime television. The last thing children and young people need is another TV series that
trivialises and cheapens sex and divorces it from any moral context.
KNTV Sex combines animation and comedy clips taken from TV shows.
It is presented by the animated characters Kierky and Nietzsche, two teenagers from the fictional country of Slabovia, which is described as the last communist state in Europe.
A Channel 4 spokesman said last night it takes a new approach to dealing with important issues around sex and relationships education for a teenage audience.
This series is based on information and advice from both sexual health charities and teachers. There is no explicit imagery and the content is suitable for the morning schedule.
A documentary that appears to show the moment when a man dies after going through with an assisted suicide was strongly criticised yesterday by anti-euthanasia campaigners and Mediawatch-UK.
The film, which is being screened on the Sky Real Lives channel tonight, seems to show the moment when 59-year-old Craig Ewert, who had motor neurone disease, died. It is believed this would be the first time the instant of the a person's death
in an assisted suicide has been shown on British television.
Both the documentary maker, Oscar winner John Zaritsky, and Sky insisted that the film, Right to Die? - which is being shown at 9pm - is an important contribution to a vital debate.
Ewert, a retired university professor from Harrogate, Yorkshire, travelled to Dignitas, the organisation in Zurich that helps people to die, because he did not want to spend the rest of his days in a living tomb.
The documentary shows Ewert and his wife, Mary, exchanging a last kiss. He says: I love you sweetheart - so much. Have a safe journey. I will see you some time.
Ewert is then given a liquid and told he will die if he drinks it. He drinks through a pink straw, then asks for some apple juice and music. Shortly before his eyes close, he says: Thank you.
Dr Peter Saunders, a director of the Care Not Killing alliance, branded the film macabre death voyeurism. This is taking us a little further down the slippery slope. It seems there is a macabre fascination in this death tourism.
Dominica Roberts, of the Pro-Life Alliance, said the programme sent out the message that some people's lives are worthless , adding: It is both sad and dangerous to show this kind of thing on the television.
John Beyer, director of Mediawatch-UK, said: This subject is something that is quite an important political issue at the moment and my anxieties are that the programme will influence public opinion.
Barbara Gibbon, head of Sky Real Lives, said: This is an issue that more and more people are confronting and this documentary is an informative, articulate and educated insight into the decisions some people have to make. I think it's
important that broadcasters give this controversial subject a wider airing.
It can be revealed that expletives were inserted into Ramsay's show when it was broadcast in the UK, after they had been bleeped out in the original version first shown in the US.
Nutters predictably said the decision to edit swear words back into Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares USA for British viewers was extraordinary.
In one episode of the series, more than 40 swear words were heard by viewers when the programme aired on Channel 4 earlier this year, compared to none when it was broadcast by Fox in the US last year.
The US series of Kitchen Nightmares was a spin-off from the British series of the same name, in which Ramsay attempts to turn around the fortunes of failing restaurants.
Instances of 'fuck', along with profanities such as 'shit'-, 'dickhead' and 'bollocks', were bleeped out of the hour-long shows when they were shown in the US in a 9pm slot in autumn 2007. When the series was broadcast in the UK this year, in a
10pm slot, the swear words returned.
John Beyer, director of the nutter group Mediawatch-UK, said: It is extraordinary, and only goes to show how much the television channels here can do what they like.
They keep defending the amount of swearing on television, but all their concerns about 'freedom of expression' and 'the need to reflect reality' seem to go out of the window when it comes to making money by exporting these programmes to America,
where they know audiences won't tolerate it.
Channel 4 said its version was shown after Britain's 9pm watershed and was preceded by a clear on-air warning about its content. The US equivalent of the watershed is the 10pm safe harbor , after which more swearing is permitted.
A Channel 4 spokesman said: Gordon Ramsay is a well-known TV personality and viewers watching his programmes know what to expect. In the context of Kitchen Nightmares the strong language is a genuine expression of Gordon's passion and
Little Britain USA is at the latest target of the easily offended after 400 people lodged complaints about the series. The BBC comedy sketch show featured apparent full frontal male nudity and sexual innuendo from one of the comedians
dressed as a child.
Nutters of mediawatch-uk described the programme as in poor taste and called for a consultation regarding taste and decency on the BBC. mediawatch-uk director, John Beyer, said: I am not surprised that they've had quite a number
of complaints. It's not my favourite viewing and some of the sketches I've seen are in poor taste. I hope that the BBC will consider having a public consultation about taste and decency. They should be considering how these things get on air in
the first place.
A BBC spokeswoman said: 'The BBC strives to make programmes that appeal to all sections of the viewing community and, of course, not all programmes appeal to everyone.'
John Beyer, director of mediawatch-uk, said Jonathan Ross should do the honourable thing and resign over the Andrew Sachs affair. He said it would save the BBC any more embarrassment and sends a signal that standards at the corporation
would be upheld.
Beyer also called on broadcasting regulator Ofcom to fast-track its own investigation into the infamous incident on Russell Brand's Radio 2 programme to ensure it was concluded before Ross's scheduled comeback in late January.
The Sunday Express understands that Ofcom has assigned fewer than 10 officials to its inquiry and such a small team is unlikely to file its report for several weeks, particularly with the Christmas and New Year break. With three months not an
unusual duration for Ofcom probes, it is quite likely that Ofcom could go public, with a possible maximum £250,000 fine, at the same time as Ross's return to TV screens on January 24.
Beyer said that would be an embarrassment for the BBC and that Ofcom should consider allocating more resources. He said: Given the circumstances, they should look at fast-tracking their investigation so that this gets done sooner rather than
later. That would be very helpful for all concerned.
Beyer also said that Ross, whose lewd calls with Brand to Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs sparked national outrage, was continuing to drag down the BBC. He said he was satisfied with the thoroughness of Friday's report from the BBC Trust but
said Ross was blocking further progress: I think his position is untenable. Senior managers at the BBC have gone, even Russell Brand has resigned so clearly there is a question about Jonathan Ross. He should carefully consider his position. It
would be the honourable thing to do. What the BBC needs to do more than anything now is to show it has learned from all of this. There must be a review of standards of taste and decency and it has to be up to senior managers and presenters to
adhere to them with sanctions in place for breaches.
Jonathan Ross is expected to escape further sanction over the obscene calls scandal.
The BBC is thought to have concluded his three-month suspension was sufficient punishment for a broadcast that sparked 42,000 complaints.
It means that in January Ross will be able to return to fronting all his shows for the corporation.
David Davies, Tory MP for Monmouthshire, said: The BBC is pathetic for not sacking Jonathan Ross. It is a slap in the face to the licence payers to let him stay on.
John Beyer, of the pressure group Mediawatch UK, said: It is difficult to see how this decision can be justified when there seems to be so much public disquiet about employing him at all. He has already had one chance too many. If this is the
case they [the BBC] will end up looking like they have not been tough enough.
It is expected that the BBC Trust and managers will issue a rebuke to Ross and Brand today while ruling out further punishment.
A senior BBC source said yesterday: It would be a huge surprise if there was any further sanctions for Jonathan Ross. Much of the drama has already been played out, he is suspended, two senior figures in BBC radio have resigned and
acknowledgements have been made about tightening up compliance procedure.
It is believed that an internal inquiry will condemn poor editorial practices on BBC music radio stations. Insiders say the report will claim some controllers have been too weak in policing presenters. Sources are suggesting that the new rules
will mean every radio programme, even concerts, will have to be vetted by a senior executive.
John Beyer of Mediawatch-UK has initiated a petition against swearing on TV:
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to make urgent representation to the Broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, the broadcasting institutions operating in the UK and film regulators, asking them to stop the use of
unnecessary swearing and bad language in their productions (including those available for downloading from websites) and to urge providers of user-generated content to take similar action.
Concern about the volume and nature of swearing on television made headlines when in November 2008 Michael Grade, the Executive Chairman of ITV, observed that swearing had become “unrestrained” and “indiscriminate”. He also
stated that people do not want to hear those words.
In May 2008 the Radio Times conducted an opinion poll, which found that 69% of people believed there is too much swearing on TV. In November 2008 the Sunday Express launched a Clean Up TV Crusade focusing on the excessive use of swearing and the
Sunday Telegraph conducted a poll which found that 56% of people thought the f*** word should never be used on TV.
The Office of Communications (Ofcom) in its Communications Market reports for 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 found that the majority of people believe there is too much swearing on TV.
mediawatch-uk believes that swearing on TV has reached such proportions that it is threatening the English language, that it is undermining the Government's policies on Education to improve communication skills and hindering initiatives to
restore respect and civility to our society.
Mediawatch-UK have commissioned a poll about violence on TV. Polling firm ComRes interviewed 1,010 adults earlier this month for the survey.
The poll claims that a majority of people believe there is too much violence on TV. The survey found that 64% of viewers think that entertainment programmes contain too many scenes of violence. Women are even more likely to disapprove, with 71%
condemning the current output compared with 57% of men.
Of those questioned, 65% agreed that the Government has a role in reducing violence on screen, but only 47% believed that regulator Ofcom is effective in controlling scenes of violence on TV.
Mediawatch-UK director John Beyer said: It is clear that the majority of people want action taken to reduce screen violence, but the crucial question now is how broadcasters, film and game producers will respond to this latest expression of
public concern about violence in entertainment.
At a time of rising social and criminal violence, manifested in the shocking level of gun and knife crime, we know there is widespread support for standards to be raised generally, especially on television."
Films containing 'high levels of bad language' are being approved for children to see at the cinema, a bollox investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has found.
Ten films cleared for children's viewing were monitored for their use of expletives. In total, 'fuck' and its derivatives were used 17 times, 'bitch' 20 times, 'ass' 56 times and 'shit' 77 times.
All 10 films were passed recently by the BBFC with a rating of 12A, meaning that they can be watched in cinemas by over-12s alone, and by under-12s when accompanied by an adult.
The bollox findings come three weeks after this newspaper launched the 'Vulgar Britain' campaign, which has sparked a nationwide debate about standards on television, on radio and in films.
The investigation also found that films are being subjected to fewer cuts than ever by the BBFC. None of the 10 films studied was subjected to cuts before being awarded its 12A classification. So far this year, only five films, or 0.9% of the
total released, have been required to make cuts by the BBFC to get their preferred classification - the lowest percentage since records began in 1914. Only one of the 159 films classified as 12A was subjected to cuts, even though many contain
strong language, violence and scenes of a sexual nature. None of 45 films classified as 18 have had to cut any content.
Among the supposed offenders was Ghost Town , a comedy starring Ricky Gervais. It featured two uses of the 'fuck' and four 'shit'. Shotgun Stories , an American film about two sets of feuding half brothers, featured the 'fuck'
three times and 'shit' 20 times. Another film monitored by this newspaper, Where in the World is Osama bin Laden? , a documentary about the war on terror directed by Morgan Spurlock, contained 'fuck' four times, 'shit' twice and the phrase
‘son of a bitch' eight times.
On its website, the BBFC, which is funded by the film industry, states that it allowed the film to be released with no cuts. It adds: The four uses of that particular term 'fuck' in this case were allowed at 12A because the work was
considered to be of educational value to an adolescent audience.
Sue Palmer, the educational consultant and author of Toxic Childhood said: It is absolutely terrifying that the BBFC considers it appropriate to subject our children to this level of effing and blinding.
Nigel Algar, a senior curator of fiction at the British Film Institute, said: There is a definite drift downwards in terms of what children are considered able to view, and these decisions are sometimes surprising.
John Beyer, the director of Mediawatch-UK, said the level of swearing in 12A films was scandalous. We are spending millions of pounds on trying to improve education skills but by allowing these films through without cutting some of the
swearing, the BBFC is undermining these efforts and normalising the use of obscene language by children.
A spokesman for the BBFC said: The role of the BBFC is not to see how many cuts we can make to films but to put them in the most appropriate age category. All our age category guidelines are based on extensive consultation with the public, so
our classifications are a direct reflection of what the public think.
At present, the use of the f-word up to four times in a 12A film is considered acceptable. These guidelines are currently being looked at again, in a public consultation of more than 11,000 people, and if the public tell us that there is too much
swearing at the 12A level, we will take this into account.
Mediawatch-UK's autumn newsletter has just been published on the website.
Mostly predictable stuff but it does have an interesting summary of feedback in response to Mediawatch-UK comments about banning the up 'n' coming MadWorld game:
John Beyer, director of mediawatch-uk, said: This game sounds very unsavoury. I hope the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) will view this with concern and decide it should not be granted a classification.
Without that it cannot be marketed in Britain.
We need to ensure that modern and civilized values take priority rather than killing and maiming people. It seems a shame that the game's manufacturer has decided to release this game exclusively on the Wii. I believe it will spoil the 'fun
for all the family' image of the Wii."
Within hours of these remarks being published a rain of hostile emails from gamers poured into our office telling us to "shut the f*** up", suggesting that we have "got our knickers in a twist", demanding, as though we were on
trial for an heinous crime, to know what right we had to impose our "narrow minded bigotry" on them and stopping them playing an "adult" game of their choice.
Others, of a more sober character, asked reasonably why we should be so concerned about games when there was so much violence in films and on television! We were also accused us of being "cowards" for not responding properly to
belligerent strictures and one ‘emailer' observed glibly that "violent acts are not a symptom of video games and films, but rather the human condition". Another said: "If you don't like violent content, don't view or use it".
Others thanked us cynically for drawing attention to the game saying they would rush out and buy it as soon as it was available. Yet others told us to focus on retailers and said that parents should safeguard their children from "adult"
Feature articles, grossly exaggerating the significance of our comments, were written in computer game magazines exonerating the multimillion pound games industry and headlines were achieved on Google News UK and dismissive remarks made in The
Guardian newspaper. It is comforting to know that the BBFC, too, received "abusive and incoherent" protests from gamers who disagreed with their decision to reject the game Manhunt II - a decision that was subsequently overturned on
Most people in Britain think the f-word should never be used on air, an opinion poll has found.
The survey for The Sunday Telegraph also shows that a majority believe that there is now too much swearing on television and radio, and that comedy programmes have become too vulgar.
In the nationwide poll of 1,005 adults, by ICM, 56%felt the word 'fuck' should never be broadcast. Only 36% said it should be allowed, while 9% replied it depends.
More than half – 57% – said that there was too much swearing on television and radio, while only 2% felt that there should be more, and 38% felt that broadcasters had got the balance right.
Asked whether television and radio comedy is too vulgar, 57% replied 'Yes', 39% 'No' and 4% 'Don't know'.
John Beyer, the director of Mediawatch-UK predictably called on broadcasters to take urgent action to reduce the amount of swearing on air. This poll clearly shows just how offensive the public finds certain words and how tired they are
of hearing their repetitive use on air at any time of the day.
Broadcasters must take urgent action to eradicate gratuitous bad language from programmes. They are long overdue in responding to public opinion on the issue, and the poll shows that doing nothing is no longer an option.
John Whittingdale MP, chairman of Culture, Media and Sport select committee:
I am concerned. It appears that some broadcasters seem think that as soon as you get to 9.01pm, it is no holds barred with bad language. What seems to be getting worse is the gratuitous nature of so much of it, particularly
in comedy shows where it seems to be routine for everyone to use bad language. People find that offensive.
Obviously we need to be careful about being too censorious, and swearing is permissible in some instances ...BUT... broadcasters need to be more thorough about making sure there's a good reason for it. The effect of the watershed is also
being affected by the use of on demand services and services like the BBC's iPlayer, where any programme can be watched at any time of the day.
Broadcasters are also so desperate to attract the 17 to 25 demographic, they are often ignoring the offence that is caused to older viewers and listeners with some of the material put out there to try and draw in the younger audience.
Not so long ago, if some bad language was going to be aired on a programme, you would get a proper warning about the content before it was broadcast. Now we don't get that with programmes like the Graham Norton Show , Friday Night with
Jonathan Ross or Mock the Week . That is something the broadcasters should address."
Mock The Week has been criticised for broadcasting jokes about the Queen.
Frankie Boyle was one of several comedians on the show asked to think of something the Queen would not say in her Christmas speech.
He put on a high-pitched voice and said: I have had a few medical issues this year - I'm now so old that my pussy is haunted.
Other comedians in the show also offered suggestions, including Hugh Dennis saying the Queen would not say: This year, I am in an unusual location - I am in a cave with Osama Bin Laden.
Dennis also offered the suggestion: Yum, yum, I've just eaten a swan.
Russell Howard said the Queen would not say: And now for an impression, before performing a version of Shaggy's reggae song Mr Boombastic.
John Beyer, of MediaWatch UK, told the Daily Mail: It is very offensive and should not have been broadcast. It is indicative of the sloppy way in which this kind of thing gets on air. There is a great deal of respect for the Queen and people
do feel very strongly about any kind of disrespectful comments about her.
A BBC spokeswoman said the show was a well-established satirical comedy series which sometimes built on provocative humour.
A Sunday Telegraph investigation found widespread strong language in programmes broadcast just after the watershed.
In the investigation, 25 programmes shown on the five terrestrial television channels between October 17 and October 23 were monitored for their use of swear words. All started between 9pm, the official watershed, and 10.35pm.
In some cases, strong language began shortly after the watershed. In all, 'fuck' and its derivatives was used 88 times, 'shit' 26 times and 'piss' 13 times.
Particularly notable was last week's episode of Jamie's Ministry of Food , the Channel 4 series following attempts by the chef Jamie Oliver to encourage the people of Rotherham to cook healthy food. The programme, which aired at 9pm on
Tuesday, featured the 'fuck' 23 times.
Another programme with a high count was BBC 1's Traffic Cops , broadcast on Monday at 9pm, where 'fuck' and its derivatives were used 20 times. On Natural Born Sellers , ITV's answer to The Apprentic e, broadcast on Thursday
at 9pm, the 'fuck' was used 19 times.
John Beyer [erroneously misprinted as John Meyer] , the nutter director of Mediawatch-UK, predictably described the findings as appalling. The use of bad language on television is now completely out of
control. The fact is the public is offended by bad language but broadcasters are doing nothing to respond to that concern – instead they are burying their heads in the sand and stretching the regulations to the very limit.
Obviously there are still plenty of young viewers tuning in after 9pm, so why do broadcasters think that so many obscenities after the watershed is OK? What is the point of the Government spending millions trying to improve our children's
language and literacy when broadcasters are seeking to undermine it?
Beyer called for the media regulator, Ofcom, to be given greater powers in overseeing the way online programmes are aired. It is very worrying that children are increasingly gaining easy access to adult programmes online. The solution is for
Ofcom to have regulatory oversight over internet downloads, as well as on air programmes.
BBC iPlayer and other on-demand services are currently regulated by the BBC Trust and the independent regulator, The Association for Television in Demand (ATVOD). The Government is carrying out a consultation process on proposals to make Ofcom
the complete regulator for all on-demand and online broadcasting.
Ed Vaizey, the shadow culture minister, said: There is too much swearing on television, particularly in certain programmes which people construe as family viewing. Broadcasters should take the view that there are still young viewers after 9pm,
and that 9.01pm does not mean an automatic license for bad language.
A BBC spokesman, said: The BBC has robust guidelines in place making clear the most offensive language should not be broadcast before the watershed and needs to be justified by the context.
Whilst we have a duty to reflect real lives and people, we are very sensitive about what we broadcast when children are most likely to be listening, and receive very few complaints about offensive language.
"arents have a responsibility to monitor what children watch both on TV and online, but we have introduced an iPlayer lock to help parents prevent younger viewers from accessing guidance-rated programming.
A spokesman for Ofcom, said: Swearing is not banned after the 9pm watershed. However, when investigating complaints received about programmes broadcast after the watershed, we do take into consideration audience expectations of a programme,
the size and composition of the audience, and whether children are likely to be watching.
Jamie Oliver has received complaints from television viewers 'offended' by his repeated use of strong language in his latest programme.
website has received messages accusing him of using gratuitous obscenities throughout Jamie's Ministry Of Food.
Some suggest he is trying to usurp Gordon Ramsay as TV's most colourful chef.
Last week's episode of Oliver's Channel 4 programme, which follows his attempts to encourage the people of Rotherham in South Yorkshire to cook healthy food, was peppered with swearing. In one five-minute segment he used the word 'fucking' six
Last night, the usual nutters questioned why Channel 4 did not cut some of the obscenities out of the final edit of the show, which is broadcast at 9pm.
John Beyer of Mediawatch UK said: The issue of bad language is something people are very sensitive to. Research suggests that the majority of people find the repeated use of obscenities extremely offensive.
For Channel 4 - a public broadcaster - to continue to broadcast a programme in which Oliver continually uses obscene language in the face of so much offence being caused to the public is extraordinary.
Dominique Walker, Channel 4 commissioning editor, said: The language does need to be seen in the context that the series is a post-watershed observational documentary and features Jamie at his most passionate.
A spokesman for Ofcom said: Our guidelines state that the most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed when children are likely to be watching. This programme is after the watershed.'
A new BBC series depicts a man possessed by the devil and being skinned alive in a gay sauna. Another episode shows a father threatening to sexually assault his daughter while in another, Mother Teresa is seen on her death bed.
The series, called Apparitions , was the idea of the actor Martin Shaw, who also stars in it as a Roman Catholic priest.
He said he realised the programme would be controversial but added: I'm not going to pretend this is the most positive show on Earth. We're talking about the end of all things but the message is that love conquers all. It doesn't show a wholly
positive message, otherwise it would be Songs Of Praise and people would switch off. It is going out at nine, an acknowledged watershed.
Catholic bishops advised the scriptwriters and production company to help them portray the exorcism accurately, but a spokesman for the Catholic Bishops' Conference said: I will not watch the drama myself, it is not tasteful I haven't seen it
but people might well be shocked. I have to stress, it is a work of fiction. The Catholic Church would not have chosen the drama form to explain the issue of exorcism.
John Beyer, the director of the nutter group Mediawatch-UK, said the programme was bound to cause controversy: This series is likely to be a clear breach of the Broadcasting Code. I'm surprised the BBC consented to a show like this as a way of
depicting the battle between good and evil. There must be better ways of doing that. They've got people sitting on crucifixes. It will cause very serious offence. This will create the same type of furore the BBC caused when it screened Jerry
Springer The Opera.
A BBC spokeswoman said: Apparitions is a post-watershed drama and the scenes are a vital part. Representatives of the Catholic Church were invited to ensure accurate depiction of all religious rituals. They read all the scripts.
John Beyer tortured by TV
In Channel 5's Unbreakable the contestants are buried alive, trapped in a tent full of CS gas and must wade through piranha-infested water. They are also subjected to waterboarding, a torture technique used by the CIA on terror suspects.
Critics say the content is simply unacceptable .
John Whittingdale, Tory chairman of the media select committee, said: You have to ask, where is it going to end? It seems that scenes of torture are being used as entertainment. What next? Reality contestants having electric
shock treatment? There is a point where such things should not be shown on television.
The motto for Unbreakable, which starts on Five tonight, is Pain is Glory, Pain is Pride, Pain is Great to Watch.
John Beyer, director of lobby group Mediawatch UK, said: Ofcom's Broadcasting Code states that programmes should not include material that is harmful and/or offensive. This programme could well be in breach of the code.
Waterboarding is a form of torture that I believe is illegal under international law and so should not feature in any programme merely as a form of entertainment.
We hope very much that Ofcom will be monitoring this series and taking whatever action is appropriate.
A Five spokesman said: All the participants in Unbreakable were aware of the type of the challenges they would face prior to filming. The spokesman added that all tests were supervised by experts and that volunteers had mental and physical
assessments before the show.'
We advocate deep cuts be
inflicted on the
The government has launched an advertising campaign warning of the evils and dangers of knife crime.
Beyer sees this as the perfect opportunity to push his agenda by writing to the Prime Minister blaming the entertainment industries for the problem. Beyer wrote:
Bearing in mind that the Government has itself launched an advertising campaign through the media, thus recognising the power of the media to influence behaviour, we believe that the time has come for the Government to make
it clear to broadcasters and film-makers that the gratuitous portrayal of the use of guns and knives, merely for entertainment, is no longer tolerable given the situation we all face.
If the necessary changes in attitude and culture are ever to be achieved we believe tackling the entertainment industries is essential no matter how contentious the task may seem.
We believe that the time has come for the Government to make it clear to broadcasters and film-makers that the gratuitous portrayal of the use of guns and knives, merely for entertainment, is no longer tolerable given the situation we all face.
Speaking today John Beyer, director of mediawatch-uk said:
We very much welcome the new Council and wish it every success in its endeavours. Many parents are very worried and concerned about the offensive and harmful material so easily accessible on the Internet. We hope that the
Council will provide a much needed forum where these issues can be raised and properly considered. The highest priority for the Council is the protection of children and the Prime Minister was right to set it up. We hope that other countries will
follow the example we have set in the UK and we hope it will lead directly to an International Treaty on content that will effectively require the plethora of pornographic and violent imagery currently available to be taken down and the stopping
of new offensive and harmful imagery being uploaded.
We hope it will lead directly to an International Treaty on content that will effectively require the plethora of pornographic and violent imagery currently available to be taken down and the stopping of new offensive and harmful imagery being
Comment: Ban it All
So as usual, this does not go far enough for Beyer. He wants an all powerful International Treaty that will ban and remove all porn from the internet.
As we all know nothing will satisfy Beyer when it comes to protecting children other than the government agreeing to ban everything Beyer and his cohorts disapprove of.
Those responsible for protecting children online have come up with all sorts of workable recommendations (such as giving parents more information as to the content of websites) but no recommendations other than BAN THE LOT will do for
Beyer and his chums.
Beyer and Mediawatch UK see protecting children as a chance to impose their views on everyone else.
The BBFC has rejected the DVD The Texas Vibrator Massacre which means that it cannot be legally supplied anywhere in the UK.
From Alan: Texas Vibrator Massacre Nonsense
This idiocy defies belief. I just visited the BBFC website. The first clause of the first sentence [" the independent regulator of the film and video industry in the UK ". ] is a piece of smug, sanctimonious self-congratulation
on their own "independence". So "independent" that they work within the crippling framework of the Obscene Publications Acts and the Video Recordings Act. So "independent" that I understand that their leading lights
include Lord Taylor of Warwick, Sir Somethingor other and Mrs Janet Double-Barrel. This shower are fully integrated within the establishment, intent upon doing its dirty work, and couldn't demonstrate real independence if their lives depended on
I can't be more precise about names because the BBFC website appears not to identify any of the jobsworths. Remember the lamented www.bbfc.org.uk? These unsavoury jobsworths got the "Ban the Board of Film Censors" site shut down. It
identified some of these scumbags impertinently telling other people what they can and can't watch and tried to encourage whistleblowing among the body's employees. Something similar is urgently needed.
From the Melon Farmers: Establishment or What?
Thinking of being part of the establishment, you can't get much more establishment than the BBFC appointee vice president, Gerard Lemos, he is a director of the Crown Prosecution Service!
Gerard Lemos is a Partner in Lemos and Crane Social Research and Visiting Professor in International Social Policy at Chongqing Business and Technology University, China. He is also a non-executive Director, Crown
Prosecution Service; Chairman of the Banking Code Standards Board and Deputy Chair of the British Council.
From Dan: Beyer Happy
As usual Beyer's only happy with the BBFC when it's banning things.
Speaking today John Beyer, director of mediawatch-uk, praised the BBFC's decision to reject this film. He said: We are delighted by this decision and we hope it will go some way to restoring confidence in the Board and it's Classification
Guidelines. It shows that some extreme material is still outside the very broad scope of what the Board finds acceptable for public exhibition."
At 9am during the school holidays, Noel Gallagher had a guaranteed audience of youngsters.
They heard the Oasis star boast about his drug-taking habits, and add that he was still drunk from the night before.
Gallagher slurred his way through a 15-minute interview on Chris Moyles's Radio 1 breakfast show, confessing that he had managed only two hours' sleep. He went on to claim that he had taken drugs for more than 18 years.
The BBC was criticised by the usual nutters for failing to take Gallagher off the show.
MediaWatch's John Beyer said: It's not appropriate for that time in the morning for a man to be in that state of mind or behaviour. The BBC should have been aware of his state and asked him to come back when he was sober.
He is a role model that has a responsibility to youngsters and it doesn't set a good example - but I think the real fault lies with the BBC and the DJ who should have made the decision that he was not capable of being on air. He is belittling the
effects of drugs and that is irresponsible.
A BBC spokesman said: Noel Gallagher was very clearly briefed in advance and monitored during the live interview this morning. We have not received any complaints. As ever Noel was a lively and opinionated guest. Of course Radio One does not
condone drug abuse and if we felt our guest was drunk we would not put him on air.
Some distributors including Universal, 20th Century Fox and Path้ are failing to include BBFC consumer advice for films or their age classification on posters and publicity material.
The BBFC has sent a warning to the studios reminding them of their agreements. Its guidelines require that all films which carry the U, PG, 12A, 15 and 18 certificates must display their classification and warnings about sexual or violent content
on all promotional material, including trailers.
But inquiries by the BBFC and The Sunday Telegraph have found a few new releases being advertised on billboards and in magazines either without their certificate or the warnings, or both.
Posters promoting The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor do not carry the film’s 12A certificate or the BBFC’s warning that it contains moderate violence and horror.
John Beyer, the director of Mediawatch UK, said that the BBFC should do more to ensure film companies include the certificates and guidance on material: It is the board’s responsibility placed on it by the Government to provide
information for people, mainly parents with young children. I think part of the problem is that the BBFC is an industry body rather than a public body.
Although the studios are not legally obliged to abide by the guidelines, the board “expects” them to do so. The BBFC, which is funded by the film industry, agreed to introduce the certificate in 2002 on condition that movies carried
highly visible warnings about content.
Other examples that have not carried the guidelines are Shine a Light , Martin Scorcese’s documentary about the Rolling Stones, and Lars and the Real Girl .
A spokesman for the BBFC said: Often one of the reasons why the certificate doesn’t appear is that the art departments working on the publicity haven’t featured it into their designs. On other occasions the publicity material for
films is released so far in advance that the movies haven’t even got a certification.
Nintendo will dramatically transform Wii's image with the release of ultra violent video game MadWorld which, revolves around the themes of brutality and exhilaration, according to its creators.
Players in the hack and slash game, which is due for a UK release in early 2009, can impale enemies on road signs, rip out hearts and execute them with weapons including chainsaws and daggers.
The decision to release a violent game on a console which has supposedly based its reputation on family fun has shocked anti-violence pressure groups.
The game has not yet been given an age rating.
Mediawatch-UK said MadWorld will 'spoil' the Wii. John Beyer: This game sounds very unsavoury. I hope the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) will view this with concern and decide it should not be granted a classification. Without
that it cannot be marketed in Britain. What the rest of world does is up to them. We need to ensure that modern and civilized values take priority rather than killing and maiming people.
It seems a shame that the game's manufacturer have decided to exclusively release this game on the Wii. I believe it will spoil the family fun image of the Wii.
The BBFC has played
a key role in shaping our
culture and society
John Beyer has taken the opportunity of the debate about the Batman age classification to rant at the BBFC:
We are not the least bit surprised that the BBFC finds itself embroiled in yet another row. The decision on the Batman movie and the Board's response to the public disquiet illustrates again how intransigent this
self-appointed "regulator" has become. It was a very great pity that Parliament rejected long overdue proposals to make the Board accountable for its actions through the House of Commons Select Committee system. The BBFC has played a
key role in shaping our culture and society and it is right that the Board should be properly accountable.
By adopting a permissive approach to film classification over many years the most brutal violence, the most obscene and profane language and the most explicit sexual conduct has effectively been normalised and glamorised. Evidently the BBFC is
blind to the moral, ethical and social havoc it wreaks and it is time for the Board to be modernised so that civilised values and behaviour are reflected in its judgements.
Comment: Moral, Ethical and Social Havoc
Nice to see Beyer is using the controversy to push his own agenda. Remember folks it's not just about the BBFC giving a film the wrong age rating but about the BBFC being responsible for moral, ethical and social havoc!
it is time for the Board to be modernised so that civilised values and behaviour are reflected in its judgements.
Yes yes by having people like John C Beyer presiding over what people should and should not be allowed to see.
The latest Batman movie has put MP David Lammy in a flap after he condemned the film for its "disturbing" content.
The Tottenham MP wrote to the BBFC claiming The Dark Knight' s depiction of knife violence and brutality is too much for a film classified as only 12A. He said: Many Tottenham parents will take their children to see the new Batman film
only to learn that the cumulative effect of the violence in this film is very disturbing. The film goes far beyond the superhero or fantasy film tradition.
Lammy has demanded the BBFC be made accountable to parents, adding that it is "unacceptable" to expose young children to graphic scenes. But he did call the film accomplished and very enjoyable.
A grisly cannibal sex plot is set to spark nutter outrage over the new series of Wire In The Blood.
The drama will show a Hannibal Lecter-type serial killer who eats his victims while they are still alive. Realistic scenes of severed hands, fingers and body parts will be shown after the 9pm watershed.
Graphic scenes set in a fet club will show a leather-clad dominatrix played by former Doctor Who actress Mary Tamm.
Cristian Solimeno plays a kinky cop who is strung up with ropes by the killer. He defended the scenes saying: It's fictitious and you have to suspend disbelief.
John Beyer, of Mediawatch UK, said: If this is what ITV thinks is acceptable, they are mistaken. I wish they would reconsider showing it. People are longing for family viewing.
The current spate of knife related violent killings around the country (and in particular in London) has given the tabloid press the perfect chance to whip up a panic of knife wielding youngsters going around stabbing people to death. This has in
turn given John Beyer and Mediawatch UK the perfect bandwagon with which to jump on to boost their own agenda and push their campaign to garner more support.
Cut out the blades
or we'll cut off your balls!
Brown Targets 'Problem Families'
More than 110,000 "problem families" with disruptive youngsters will be targeted as part of a crackdown on knife crime, Gordon Brown has said. They will get parenting supervision, with the worst 20,000 families facing eviction if they
do not respond. He aimed to make it "unacceptable" to carry a knife, with "prevention, enforcement and punishment" the focus. The prime minister also urged more councils to impose 90-day teenage curfews "where there is a
The comments came as he used his monthly news conference to defend the government's plans for tackling knife crime, which have been derided as "half-baked" by the Liberal Democrats. BBC News online 14/7/2008
Cut out the violent stuff
or we'll kick you in the polls!
Speaking today, John Beyer, director of mediawatch-uk, said that the Prime Minister's wide ranging solution to the current knife crime crisis lacked one essential component: the media.
In his briefing today there was no mention of the harmful influence of violence in entertainment which, over the years, has done a great deal to glamorise and normalise gun and knife use. We believe that the problem of knife
crime will never be solved until the culture of violence and killing, aggressive and anti-social behaviour portrayed in entertainment is stopped, he said.
We believe the Prime Minister should initiate urgent talks with the top executives of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, BSKYB, Virgin Media, the BBFC and the Computer Games Industry to discover exactly what they intend to do to stop portraying
violent gun and knife use in the entertainment that they think is acceptable. It is in the public interest for them to declare what part they intend to play in the overall effort, that must involve everyone, to reverse the culture of violence
they have created. It is no longer credible for the Government, despite its long-standing principle of non-interference, to exclude the influence of the media from the "root causes" of this most serious and urgent problem.
The major film about the life of Mary Whitehouse "boobed" by not showing Wigan artist James Lawrence Isherwood's original painting of her with five bosoms.
The Mary Whitehouse Story , shown on BBC 2, told how the nationally famous TV campaigner annoyed the Beeb's director general so much that he commissioned a portrait of her with five boobs from Isherwood.
It was Sir Hugh Carleton Greene's way of "getting his own back" against Mrs Whitehouse whose tirades against BBC programmes made his life a misery.
The TV film showed a toned-down "mock-up" of the portrait by another artist. In fact, Greene's original painting was readily available to the film-makers and would have added great authenticity to the show.
The outrageous portrait hung in Greene's office at Broadcasting House and his habit was to fling chewed pieces of paper at it aiming to get five out of five.
The artist's sister-in-law Molly Isherwood said: It's a pity they didn't make a few inquiries and I would have arranged for them to have an original of the Whitehouse painting. My brother-in-law hated any kind of censorship and loathed Mary
Whitehouse in particular. He must have been delighted when Sir Hugh commissioned the work of art.
The Sixties were swinging and letters signed “Disgusted of Tun-bridge Wells” went unanswered by the permissive executives at the BBC. Who could stem this rising tide of filth?
Step forward an indomitable housewife-superstar from Wolverhampton, She Who Must Be Dismayed. Her clean-up crusade brought down the BBC'
s Director-General and terrified liberals in the Church, the state and the stage.
It has taken the BBC eight years since her death to dare mine the comic potential of her life as the self-appointed leader of the “moral majority”.
The Mary Whitehouse I knew was a tough, feisty, vainglorious woman, in league with the right-wing moral rearmament movement, instinctively aware of her opponents'
weaknesses and unscrupulous in exploiting them.
However, in all her autobiographies (she wrote three), she created the myth of the humble, self-effacing teacher, chosen by God to lead the country out of the moral wilderness cultivated by clever liberals. She was David, who dared to take on the
Goliath at Broadcasting House, slaying him, not with pebbles, but with postbags of complaints by her legion of followers, who sat glued to BBC Two solemnly recording every swearword in the Play for Today and every innuendo in Pinkie and Perky.
The dramatist Amanda Coe has taken her at face value and run with her own account of the humble housewife who has greatness thrust upon her. It is a richly comic story and Mary is robustly reincarnated by Julie Walters, upstaged every few minutes
by Alun Armstrong as Ernest, her bewildered postman husband, who alerts her to the acronymic danger of her original name for her campaigning organisation, Clean Up National Television .
To make the production work, Mary'
s enemies must be made equally ridiculous. So, Sir Hugh Carleton Greene is reinvented as a manic John Cleese figure, a lecherous, upper-class, overclever twit brought down by the simple soul he is too stuck-up to meet. Hugh Bonneville does a fine
imitation. And there is a wonderful (and more accurate) portrayal of Lord Hill, the smarmy “radio doctor” who ran ITV and disarmed Mary with tea and cakes. But it was Harold Wilson, not Mrs Whitehouse, who really engineered Sir Hugh'
s removal by making the pliant Hill chairman of the BBC. It was Greene'
s penchant for satirising politicians and not his support for Play for Today that was his undoing.
The television play ends by showing how Mary learns to manipulate the media – a formidable talent she had from the outset. It swallows her pretence that she was not interested in politics, but, on the contrary, despite the laughable obsession of
her followers with sexual innuendo, her true concern was with liberal and left-wing ideology. Her early target was Cathy Come Home – Ken Loach'
s drama about the underclass – and she discerned psychological discord and social anarchy in every Dennis Potter play.
Her fear of homosexuals was visceral. She claimed that homosexuality was caused by abnormal parental sex during pregnancy or just after .
Her real political agenda came to the fore in her alliance with Mrs Thatcher, whom she supported at every election. This was a betrayal of her cause at the time that it could have meshed with the antiporn feminists in the Labour Party. It was
under free enterprise Thatcherism that sexual profiteering began to thrive in the Eighties – from the groaning “adult” shelves of every corner newsagent to the dirty talk on telephone lines leased from the newly privatised British Telecom.
s bandwagon was finally derailed when her prosecution of the National Theatre for staging The Romans in Britain (Howard Brenton'
s play attacking British Army actions in Northern Ireland) collapsed. She had privately prosecuted the play'
s director, but had been too mean to pay for her solicitor witness to occupy the best seat in the stalls, forcing him to sit at the back of the Olivier Theatre. From this vantage point, he could not say for certain whether the object that touched
the naked buttocks of Greg Hicks (playing a druid priest) was the tip of a centurion'
s penis or the tip of a centurion'
s thumb. After the case was thrown out and she had been ordered to pay costs, she cut a doleful figure, muttering tearfully that God will provide.
s cultural vandalism left its mark, curbing the most creative period in British TV drama. If the corporation ever wishes to pay her a genuinely backhanded compliment, it should run a Mary Whitehouse season, devoted to all the comedy, drama and
current affairs programmes condemned by her National Viewers'
Association. It would provide more entertaining and enriching television than its current output.
The British public continues to
retain a high degree
of common sense
allowing the public to decide
what is acceptable or not,
is simply passing the buck.
[...A buck that Mediawatch
is happy to accept]
Thousands of people have been able to watch a sickening video showing the massacre of young Russian men before it was eventually deleted from YouTube. The horrific footage shows the terrified men lying beside a road having their throats slit in
turn. It was posted on Sunday, May 18. Three days later it was still there and had been viewed more than 8,300 times. YouTube promises that videos flagged by users as inappropriate will be removed from the site.
The film clip was removed within two hours of Sky News Online contacting YouTube. The 10-minute video was apparently posted by a 17-year-old Russian. The description which accompanied it said: This is a little part of the full horror!
But John Beyer, director of campaign group Mediawatch-uk, said:
While I recognise the argument about regulation at the periphery, allowing the public to decide what is acceptable or not, is simply passing the buck. It points up a lack of internal regulation. People take advantage
of the system and by the time someone takes notice it's too late - the damage has been done. It's a huge problem. We need an international legal framework to decide what is permissible. This sort of material should simply not be uploaded.
Comment: Public Hypocrisy
Well if the public can't be trusted to decide what is acceptable or not, Then it rather puts a dent in
Beyers usual rhetoric eg ...
British public demands accountability for film censors
The results confirm what we have always believed. The British public continues to retain a high degree of common sense and is not impressed by the self interested demands of the film industry.
Jonathan Ross has wound up nutters with some boisterous sexy banter with Gwynet Paltrow.
Ross said he wanted to 'fuck' married mother of two Gwyneth Paltrow if his wife would give him permission.
His liberal use of strong language on his recorded BBC1 chat show Friday Night With Jonathan Ross prompted gasps from the audience and the interview tone left Ms Paltrow speechless and looking shocked at times.
The astonishing language – thought to be the first time a major film star has been spoken to in such a direct sexual way on television– has been heavily criticised by the nutters of Mediawatch UK and an MP.
Tory MP Philip Davies said Ross'
s undignified remarks called into question the BBC'
s role as a public service broadcaster, particularly as he is reportedly paid £6million a year of licence fee-payers'
money: Mr Ross likes to use inappropriate language in an attempt to be outrageous but the question is, should licence fee-payers have to pay for it on a public service broadcasting channel? My view is that they should not have to. I
believe this issue should be raised with the BBC by the select committee when we have our next meeting with them.
The Sunday Express pointed out that, although the programme airs at 10.35pm, it is available during the day through the online iPlayer service.
The interview with Ms Paltrow was broadcast a week ago last Friday. Ross talked about her two young children, Moses and Apple, and inquired if she was thinking of having another child by asking her: Maybe having sex again soon?
A startled-looking Ms Paltrow responded: With you?
Ross then replied: Christ yes. I will phone my wife and if she gave permission, I would fuck you. Clearly you are gagging for it.
Broadcaster Michael Aspel, a guest on the same programme, spoke about his days presenting Miss World and Ross asked him if he had 'fucked' a contestant.
Mediawatch UK director John Beyer said: Clearly the BBC is not regulating this programme or monitoring the language being used, which is unacceptable and unnecessary and degrading. With the iPlayer system, the 9pm watershed is meaningless.
s Los Angeles publicist Steve Huvane said: Gwyneth very much enjoyed her appearance on the show and the joking was all in good fun. She was not offended.
Speaking today, mediawatch-uk director, John Beyer,
said about the Dangerous Pictures Act:
We are delighted that Mrs Longhurst has at last succeeded in her noble campaign, in memory of her beloved daughter Jane, to criminalise the possession of extreme pornography.
We hope that this will be a first step on the road to restoring decency and respect in our society.
We remain of the opinion that the scope of the new legislation is too narrow and we will continue to press for further strengthening of the Obscene Publications Act.
Comment: Narrow Minded Beyer
“We remain of the opinion that the scope of the new legislation is too narrow”
Yes yes Beyer. Because you and your cohorts believe that legislation should outlaw all sexual material and make it a criminal offence to be in possession of even consensual adults sexual entertainment.
“We will continue to press for further strengthening of the Obscene Publications Act.”
Yes. Until all that nasty grubby porn is banned and all the dirty little pervs who look at it in their filthy rooms are locked up in jail where they belong eh?
The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act has completed its 3rd reading in the House of Commons and has received Royal Assent so becomes law.
According to BBC Newsbeat, the Dangerous Pictures clauses will be enacted from January 2009.
John Beyer, Director of Mediawatch UK, and supporter of even stricter measures on pornography Said: It is important for there to be clear divide between what is legal and what is not. People need to know. Contrary to the views expressed by
protesters, he feels the new law provides that clarity on extreme material. But there may be a need for an amnesty, during which the public are able to hand in any material that could be considered a crime to possess. The last thing anybody
would want is for the police to be raiding people's homes.
The maximum penalty for obscene publications has also been raised from 3 years to 5 years in prison.
The Dangerous Pictures clauses went unamended but the Government backed down and allowed a free speech protection to be written into its proposed 'homophobic hatred' clauses.
The decision came after the Government was defeated for a second time in the House of Lords. Peers voted 178 to 164 in favour of the protection.
This marks the end of a lengthy battle to make clear that the new criminal offence should not interfere with free speech or religious liberty.
The amendment says, for the avoidance of doubt, the discussion or criticism of sexual conduct or practices or the urging of persons to refrain from or modify such conduct or practices shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended
to stir up hatred.
Words or behaviour which are threatening and intended to stir up hatred will be caught by the offence, which carries a maximum seven year prison sentence.
Speaking in last night's debate, Lord Waddington said: My understanding is that the Government do not wish to see discussion stifled and people harassed, bullied, interrogated and sometimes arrested for expressing their views. However, if that
is so, it really is time that they did something about it.
Senior judge and 'gay rights' sympathiser, Dame Butler-Sloss, agreed that free speech needed protecting. She said: ...there are religious groups, not only Christians, not only bishops, but many Jews and Muslims, which share strong views that
they gain from the Bible, the Old Testament in particular, or the Koran. Those people are potentially at risk.
She continued: It is those people who will potentially be intimidated; they will certainly be bothered and may go through an extremely unfortunate experience before calmer heads point out that under the new clause, as under older clauses, they
have not committed any offence.
The Government said the issue could be made clear by publishing guidance instead of inserting a free speech protection into the Bill. But Lord Clarke said: If we mean that we are to maintain the principle of free speech, we should make sure
that it is in this Bill and not leave it to the interpretation of guidelines, which would become another lawyers' paradise.
Following the Lords vote, the Government backed down and the measure was passed by a substantial majority in the Commons. The offence will become law with the free speech protection included.
The BBC is under nutter attack for allowing access to mature material 24 hours a day on its new iPlayer internet service.
The programmes are subject to the post 9pm watershed ruling when they are shown on terrestrial television. But children are able to bypass age restrictions on iPlayer by simply ticking a box to say they are over 16.
They can then watch programmes with sex scenes, strong language and other material deemed unsuitable.
While the readily available mature content on the internet is nothing new, many nutters are predictably horrified the BBC is not taking a tougher stand.
Nutters fear that it is in danger of rendering the watershed extinct with the iPlayer service. Others have called for media regulator Ofcom to be given more powers in overseeing the way online programming is aired.
Conservative MP Philip Davies, who sits on the Commons culture, media and sport select committee, said: "I think parents would be massively concerned if they realised how easy it was for their children to access such inappropriate
material. Having that kind of tick-box self- certification is clearly inadequate. They may as well have no control on at all.
John Beyer, director of Mediawatch UK, said: The BBC is promoting its iPlayer at every possible opportunity and they know that children and young people are accessing this kind of material.
A corporation spokesman said, however: "The BBC takes its responsibility to enable parents or guardians to protect younger viewers from unsuitable BBC content on its websites very seriously and provides a number of tools to do this. For
example, BBC iPlayer clearly labels programmes which may be unsuitable for young audiences. A lock system allows parents or guardians to prevent younger viewers from watching guidance-rated programmes unless they have a password. Setting up these
systems is optional but they can be easily activated at any time.
Wednesday 28 May 2008, BBC: Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story
With Julie Walters starring as Mary Whitehouse and Hugh Bonneville playing her arch-enemy, BBC Director-General Hugh Carleton Greene, Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story will bring to life the battle for Britain's morals that raged in the
Julie Walters said: I am very excited to be playing Mary Whitehouse, and to looking at the time when she attacked the BBC and started to make her name.
Ofcom have cleared BBC1's Catherine Tate Show of breaching broadcast regulations with an expletive-littered Christmas Day episode that became the most complained-about programme of the festive period.
Forty-two people complained to Ofcom about the number of four-letter words and stereotyping in the show, which featured a sketch in which a Northern Ireland family exchanged presents including a knuckleduster, balaclava and chocolate penis.
More than 100 viewers also complained to the BBC about the show, including the excessive use of the word "fuck" by Tate's foul-mouthed character Nan Taylor in the first sketch of the show. Nan's catchphrase is "what a fucking
The regulator cleared the show, saying viewers were already aware that the show was likely to contain offensive language. It said it had been preceded with a warning about offensive language and was broadcast 90 minutes after the watershed.
Overall this episode was typical of the Catherine Tate Show and would not have gone beyond the expectations of its usual audience, said Ofcom in its ruling: For those not familiar with the show, the information given at the start was
The regulator said the depiction of the Northern Irish family, who discover that their son is gay, did not breach broadcast standards: In Ofcom's view it would have been clear to the audience that, in a comedy show such as this, exchanging
Christmas gifts of terrorist paraphernalia was absurd in the extreme . Comedy has a long tradition of engaging with challenging subjects and confronting taboos.
The Catherine Tate Christmas Special, which guest-starred George Michael, was broadcast at 10.30pm on Christmas Day and was watched by 6.4 million viewers. In all it received more than 100 complaints.
The regulator reported: As for the use of this language on Christmas Day, the BBC said that it does not regard any word as being more obscene on one day than on another. It did take account of the different audience expectations on
different occasions, but in its view it was not the general expectation of audiences that everything broadcast on Christmas Day should reflect its character as a religious festival.
Speaking today John Beyer, director of Mediawatch-uk said that this finding “is a disgrace” and “seriously inconsistent” with Ofcom's finding last week about the obscenities used in the Live Earth concert.
No wonder the viewing public is confused and have lost confidence in the regulation of broadcasting. Considering that Ofcom has itself found that the majority of viewers believe there is too much swearing on television, this finding is all the
more extraordinary. The Communications Act 2003 requires that “generally accepted standards” are applied to the content of television and radio services and it seems to me that Ofcom is failing to take public opinion into account - and that is a
breach of trust and certainly not what Parliament intended when setting up the new regulatory regime.
John Beyer director of mediawatch-uk joined the long line of groups welcoming the Byron report and said:
Firstly, we welcome the fact that the Prime Minister set up the review at all which we believe indicates that violence and pornography it is a matter to be taken seriously
Secondly, we welcome proposals for a uniform system of rating games and the requirement that all games involving weaponry and combat are certified
Thirdly, we welcome the tough new sanctions proposed against retailers who disregard the age classifications on games.
Fourthly, we welcome the proposals to raise awareness of game and internet content among parents and guardians and the proposals to improve information on blocking inappropriate website content.
Fifthly, we welcome the important proposal to establish a UK Council on Child Internet Safety and the recommended objectives. This could provide a forum where any aggrieved person could seek relief.
Finally, we welcome the criticism of some social network sites and the proposals for improved management and oversight of them.
In conclusion Mr Beyer said: We cannot help but wonder how these important proposals will work out in practice and how quickly any new legislation needed can be enacted. The critical thing will be the Government's
response to Dr Byron's Review and how long it takes to implement the proposals. Their effectiveness must be monitored carefully and we will do our best to highlight the successes and any failings.
Comment: Has Beyer gone soft?
Thanks to Dan
Generally Beyer believes that age ratings and giving parents more information over violent/sexual content is not enough and there should be tougher legislation to stop such content being released in the first place.
But he here is welcoming age ratings and more content information for children. Has Beyer gone soft? Maybe he might change his mind about locking up porn viewers next?
Don't bank on it though Still it's a suitable plug for Mediawatch UK's Children and the Media Booklet (to advise parents.... That the media is a toxic corrupting spawn of the devil destroying our children with violence, sex and perversions and
needs to be stopped now!)
Meanwhile the Daily Mail with Anne Diamond put a suitably Ban these sick games for the sake of our children spin on the story:
According to Ms Diamond some games such as Resident Evil 4 shouldn't be allowed to be sold even to adults. Does her role as a Mum of 4 give her the authority to tell us adults what games we should and should not be allowed to play? No! And I
reckon she is a worthy candidate to be included in your Hall Of Shame.
Sorry, sane adult
thinking not allowed until 9pm
...and I knock off at 5
The continuous promotion by the BBC of its iPlayer over recent weeks, and Channel 4's On-Demand service, has given rise to questions about how this ingenious facility is to be regulated so that the predominantly young people, at whom it is aimed,
may be protected from offensive and harmful content, as the Broadcasting Code requires.
Ofcom, in its Draft Annual Plan for 2008/09, has drawn attention to the gap in regulation of downloading and says: These developments are exposing differences in the regulatory frameworks because many of the rules applicable to content
delivered by traditional broadcasters do not apply to very similar or identical content delivered over the internet.
Ofcom says: We will encourage all content providers to promote and make available information about potentially harmful or offensive content in a form that is easy to understand. At the same time we will encourage the promotion of internet
filters, firewalls and PIN access to television services that are easy to use and are effective in helping people manage their access to the media.
In the letter to Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham MP John Beyer said:
Our concern is with regulation. I have recently been in correspondence with Ofcom who tell me that the Communications Act 2003 excluded downloaded material from its regulatory oversight. Given that this Act requires Ofcom to have special
regard for the protection of under-18s from offensive and harmful material we wonder whether the Government has any plans to remove the exclusion so that Ofcom does have regulatory oversight of material downloaded from the websites of
broadcasters who are normally subject to their regulation.
You will not need me to point out that the ability to download programmes anytime makes the "watershed" completely redundant. We are aware that Broadcasters continue to defend offensive and harmful material shown after 9.00pm because of
the watershed. This is also one of the reasons for Ofcom failing to intervene on content when many people feel it is necessary.
We would certainly value your advice on how children and young people are to be protected from harmful and offensive material in the downloading environment especially as neither Film nor Broadcasting was included in the brief given to Dr Tanya
Beyer is calling for an immediate review of the regulatory oversight of Ofcom and is recommending that it be extended to include programming that is downloaded from broadcasters who are normally subject to its jurisdiction.
The BBC has been criticised for its supposedly "irresponsible" portrayal of binge drinking in its top dramas.
Baroness Coussins, a peer who sits on the Advertising Standards Authority council, claims the corporation is failing to show the negative effects of abusing alcohol in shows such as EastEnders and Holby City .
Speaking at an advertising conference, Baroness Coussins said: Holby City had doctors, no less, in excessive drinking scenes. Where are the calls for BBC programming codes, or the equivalent in the commercial sector, so the consequences
of irresponsible actions have to be shown?
In October, the Portman Group, which was set up by alcohol producers to promote responsible drinking, complained to media regulator Ofcom that an episode of the hospital drama Holby City had been "highly irresponsible".
And yesterday, John Beyer, of pressure group Mediawatch UK, pointed out that two of the most popular soap operas on TV, EastEnders and Coronation Street , are mostly set in pubs, adding: The Baroness has a point. But the question
is, what are the broadcasters going to do about it?
The problem is that they never seem to want to do anything about anything other than to carry on with their own agenda.
He added: Soaps are so popular with young people and it is mostly young people with disposable income that are binge drinking.
A BBC spokesman said neither EastEnders nor Holby City set out to "glamorise" alcohol but intended instead to "reflect society". A spokesman claimed the corporation always tried to handle the issue
"sensitively" and said it did in fact show the negative consequences of alcohol.
Mediawatch-UK have commissioned a poll to show support for Julian Braziers BBFC Accountability Bill to be debated in Parliament today. They asked:
Melon Farmers Comment
The amount of violence permitted in films, games and on television should be more tightly regulated?
Nonsense question. DVDs are completely regulated with practically all of them requiring state approval before release. Can't get much tighter than that. No doubt Beyer wants to twist this answer to mean that people want more content cut or
There is an established link between the level of violence shown in films, games and on television, and the rate of violent crime in society?
Hard to disagree with the statement at first glance but note that it does not ask about a causal link.
The system of classification for films and games should reflect broad public opinion?
And the BBFC agree. They at least did an extensive survey and the results are far more believable than anything Mediawatch claim about public opinion
The BBFC process for approving films and games with a violent or sexual content should be fully transparent and accountable to parliament?
And indeed they are accountable. They can be sacked from their DVD and games roles. (No accountability for cinema censorship though). And in terms of transparency, they clearly explain all of their decisions.
The question does not ask whether people want MPs to be censors though which is what Brazier wants in his bill
Anyway the press release reads:
British Public Demands Accountability for Film Censors.
Mediawatch UK, the UK broadcasting watchdog, today publishes an important survey showing that 80% of the British public wants the BBFC to be fully transparent and accountable to Parliament.
The results of the survey, carried out by ComRes, coincide with a Private Members Bill introduced by Julian Brazier MP (Canterbury), which is receiving a second reading in the House of Commons today. The Bill attracted publicity earlier this
month when the Board classified a number of video works, banned by the Director of Public Prosecutions, such as ‘SS Experiment Camp'.
John Beyer, director of Mediawatch-uk, comments: “The results confirm what we have always believed. The British public continues to retain a high degree of common sense and is not impressed by the self interested demands of the film industry. We
again call upon the BBFC to review its guidelines on violence, call upon the games industry to act more responsibly on violence and call upon the Office of Communications to enforce the terms of the Broadcasting Code much more vigorously,
particularly with regard television programmes that condone and glamorise seriously antisocial behaviour and violence.”
With 76% of respondents wanting the amount of violence permitted in films, games and on television to be more tightly regulated, and 68% believing there are links between violent crime and the level of violence in films and on television, there
is great public concern that the BBFC's classification decisions should reflect broad public opinion and suggests that the general public is dissatisfied with the current system.
Beyer continues: We believe that the Prime Minister, who has expressed personal concern about all the violence and pornography that children can so easily see, was wrong to exclude film and television from the remit given to psychologist Dr
Tanya Byron whose report is due next month. Film is a very powerful global influence and it is astonishing that the Board has escaped proper scrutiny for almost 100 years. It is right that Parliament should represent public concerns and we hope
very much that Mr Brazier's Bill will go through unopposed.
"It beggars belief that the BBFC continues to defend the indefensible. We are supporting Mr Brazier's timely attempts to make the Board more accountable to Parliament. This is a long overdue reform and the Board's
latest decisions prove the need for his initiative."
Comment: In Other Words
We are supporting Mr Brazier's timely attempts to make the Board more accountable to Parliament. Then it will have to finally answer to us and the legions of other blue rinsed moral guardians who like us vote Tory, read the Daily Mail and are
disgusted at all the morally corrupting society destroying filth that the wet liberal lefty morons at the BBFC allow people to watch at the cinemas.
This is a long overdue reform. It`s high time the BBFC stopped giving people the choice over what they watch and only allowed them to watch what we the silent moral minority think is good for them to watch.
'A very important Private Members' Bill has been introduced in Parliament by Julian Brazier MP (Canterbury), which aims to make the BBFC more accountable to Parliament. For some time the BBFC has been classifying films with unacceptable levels of
brutal violence, obscene language and some very explicit sexual conduct and nobody can do anything about it.
mediawatch-uk believes that Mr Brazier's proposals are long overdue and we are supporting his efforts. Mr Brazier has specifically asked mediawatch-uk members to help him by writing letters to their Members of Parliament, or contacting
www.writetothom.com, urging them to support his BBFC (Accountability to Parliament and Appeals) Bill which will be given a Second Reading on Friday 29 February 2008
Needless to say if we do not do all we can to support Mr Brazier we will only have ourselves to blame if the Board continues to classify ever-worsening material.
We have said for a very long time that the Board is a law unto itself and should be accountable to Parliament. Mr Brazier's Bill will go some way to achieving this and we hope his Bill will lead to a regime of classification that is more
responsible, promoting greater respect and civility in our society. Keith Vaz MP, Anne Widdecombe MP, Jim Dobbin MP and John Gummer MP among others are supporting the Bill.
More information can be found at: http://services.parliament.uk/bills However, it should be understood that Private Members' Bills are vulnerable and do not always become law unless they are very well supported by other MPs. We would be very
grateful indeed for donations towards this campaign, costing around £2,000. .
Julian Brazier (Con) is a senior backbencher and a Catholic.
On New Year's Day 2007 Channel 4 had what it called a Monty Python evening . This included another showing of the film Monty Python's Life of Brian and a programme about what the ‘Pythons' have done since the making of the film.
The first programme, shown at 8.00pm, in which John Beyer, director of mediawatch-uk was invited to take part, was The Secret Life of Brian which purported to be a retrospective look at the 1979 film that caused a global furore .
John Beyer was interviewed for this programme for more than an hour by Will Yapp on 1 March 2006 and so it was a disappointment that only a few seconds of the interview was used.
In the interview John Beyer made it clear that we recognised Brian was a distinct character that was not meant to be Jesus Christ. He said that we had sought legal advice and had been told that the film did not constitute a criminal offence of
blasphemous libel. The programme perpetuated the idea that Mary Whitehouse led a campaign to prosecute the film. This is simply not true and we have correspondence on file to prove this. The programme failed to distinguish between the
representations made by the then Festival of Light, and others, to ban the film.