One of the BBC's most senior executives, Caroline Thomson, has reportedly said it is acceptable to feature strong language in television comedies.
The BBC's chief operating officer suggested one of the main criteria for comedy shows was to cause offence and to make her flinch . But I think sometimes that is one of the points of comedy. It is very tricky because language that
will give you offence, won't give me offence. And language which gives me serious offence won't give my son offence.
Speaking at the annual Voice of the Listener and Viewer conference, she explained that there was an enormous intergenerational difference about what is acceptable .
Vivienne Pattison, director of campaign group Mediawatch UK, claimed the comments were out of step with her audience .
Ofcom do research every year asking if there is too much swearing on TV. And every year, more than 50 per cent of the viewers say there is too much, she told the newspaper.
The idea that bad language in comedy is good -- it's not big, it's not clever and it's not funny.
Channel 4 has come in for a bit of nutter stick over a joke by Little Britain star David Walliams.
Appearing on Chris Moyles' Quiz Night , Walliams agreed with Moyles that Harry Styles was his favourite member of teenage boy band, One Directio n. Walliams talked fondly about the singer's hair, and then cracked: I'd like to
suck his dick.
The show was aired at 10pm, an hour after the watershed.
Peter Foot, the chairman of the National Campaign for Courtesy, said that Walliams's remark was worse than the legendary gag by Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand. Foot Said:
I've never heard of anything going this far. I'm amazed there hasn't been more of an uproar about this because that it is incredibly graphic language to use. It doesn't leave much to the imagination.
Foot claimed that Channel Four could not justify the lewd joke by saying it was shown after the watershed as he said many teenagers could have been watching.
Vivienne Pattison, director of mediawatch-UK, said that Channel Four's decision to broadcast the obscene remark demonstrates how far the boundaries of decency have been pushed.
You expect comedians to push the envelope, but it's down to producers to check that it doesn't overstep the mark, she said. Chris Moyles and David Walliams have a huge young following. They are role models and responsibility comes with that.
Instead, jokes like this set up a context of behaviour that somehow normalises and justifies it. This is leading to a coarsening of our culture.
A Channel 4 spokesman said:
The show was appropriately scheduled post-watershed at 10pm and viewers were warned of strong language and adult humour.
An Ofcom spokesman said:
Ofcom received two complaints about the episode of the programme, which was broadcast after the watershed. We will assess the complaints against the Broadcasting Code.
This Morning 'stunned' a few easily offended viewers by showing a naked model being checked for testicular cancer live on air.
The ITV1 magazine show had been running a feature on male-related cancers when they showed a man having his testicles examined by the show's doctor. The intimate shots showed the model, naked save for a white dressing gown, having his genitals
examined by Dr Chris Steele as host Phillip Schofield looked on.
Reaction to the today's footage was largely positive however, with many congratulating This Morning for tackling a serious health issue head on.
However, not all reaction to the daring segment was positive, as some viewers were left stunned and bemused by the intimate examination. The Daily Mail scoured Twitter and found 2 tweets:
I know it's for a good reason but watching a mans testicles on this morning was strange
No This Morning, I do not want to see testicles on my TV screen at lunch time.
A spokesperson for This Morning said:
Testicular cancer is an important issue to our viewers and the item and advice offered on today's programme - which we have covered before with lots of positive feedback - has again generated many positive comments and no complaints.
But as usually lately, Vivienne Pattison offered up her trivial sound bite via the Sun:
Vivienne Pattison, director of MediaWatch UK, which campaigns for responsible broadcasting, said: "Lots of people were offended."
It seems that Vivienne Pattison has switched sound byte from the Daily Mail to the Sun.
The Sun reports that a few This Morning viewers were left spluttering their tea and biscuits over an Item on Monday's show. It featured golden oldies demonstrating a sex position.
Host Phillip Schofield told astonished viewers: We are going to be demonstrating positions, showing sex aids and discussing intimate details.
The sex surgery item included various sex toys, including remote-controlled and glow-in-the-dark vibrators. Meanwhile a pair of pensioners in pyjamas performed on a double bed accompanied by cheesy music.
Psychologist Jo Hemmings told viewers: You don't need to be an Olympic athlete for this. They seem to be enjoying it, it's brilliant!
A few 'shocked' viewers took to Twitter to express their feelings. Chris Roberts tweeted: I can't believe my eyes #ThisMorning talked about sex positions and vibrators with over 60s models.
While Marktharparms added: Oh how TV has changed. Phil Schofield and Holly Willoughby on @itvthismorning discussing vibrators and sex positions for the over-sixties!
Vivienne Pattison, director of MediaWatch UK, said: Lots of people were offended.
But only four viewers phoned ITV to complain directly.
Offsite: And even those few 'outraged' tweets, weren't so 'outraged' after all
Oh how TV has changed, I wrote on Twitter, as the topic moved on to comfortable sex positions for the over sixties: Phil Schofield and Holly Willoughby on ITV This Morning discussing vibrators and sex positions for the over-sixties!
Now, let's get one thing straight: I'm no prude. I am one of the most open-minded, liberal individuals you are ever likely to encounter and I found the fact that a Sir Stirling Moss looky-likey, in blue silk pyjamas on a studio double-bed being
straddled by an excited looking granny, highly entertaining. In fact, I was close to tears with laughter.
My tweet referred to the fact that not that long ago such shenanigans would have been frowned on if they'd been shown after the 9pm watershed, let alone at 11am on a Monday morning.
I'm quite aware that the things I say on Twitter might occasionally get picked up and used in the media, but the Daily Mail -- that harbinger of doom for the pub trade -- wrote a shock-and-awe piece on yesterday's This Morning and detailed how
horrified members of the public were expressing their disgust via Twitter.
My tweet was there in glorious detail, citing me -- along with two others -- as complaining about the material. I'm quite happy for the Daily Mail to have used the message, but I'd just like to clarify something: it should have been listed on the
line beneath, where one tweeter was said to have found the piece amusing and commented on having had worse days than receiving sex education from Holly Willoughby.
Mediawatch-UK have been wound up by a rather puerile sounding edition of The Wright Stuff.
Matthew Wright got a bit of a response from the usual suspects after hosting a TV debate entitled Foxy Knoxy: Would Ya? Wright discussed with panellists how Amanda Knox was undeniably fit and loves wild sex .
In a preview blurb for the episode of The Wright Stuff, the Channel 5 website said: So if you were a guy who'd met her in a bar and she invited you back to hers, would you go? Crass and insensitive: Viewers of The Wright Stuff were stunned
when presenter Matthew Wright asked viewers to vote on whether they would 'take home' Amanda Knox in light of her acquittal for murder
Vivienne Pattison of Mediawatch-UK said the discussion was unbelievable and totally inappropriate. She said:
To think that someone thought this would be an acceptable format for a show is beyond belief.
It's entirely insensitive and should not be aired at any time, let alone as part of a morning chat show.
It seems totally sick and is as bizarre as it is cruel. It's cruel for all concerned and is an example where the boundaries of 'banter and entertainment become blurred.
Of all the takes on this huge and sensitive case this has to be the worst. 'I should hope there would be some serious questions asked by producers on this.
A Wright Stuff spokeswoman defended the show saying the topic was handled sensitively. She said:
The discussion conducted between Matthew Wright and our panel of Kelly Hoppen, Christopher Biggins and Liz McClarnon was handled extremely sensitively and at no point did we lose sight of the fact that at the heart of the matter is the tragic
death of a young girl - Meredith Kercher.
The Foxy Knoxy episode of The Wright Stuff was taken down from Channel 5's online video service so that an apology could be added.
Matthew Wright duly apologised during the next edition, saying:
While I'm not going to apologise for discussing Amanda Knox's future after all the terrible things the media has said about her these past four years, I do want to say sorry for the way I framed the debate.
The on-screen title was wrong, no doubt about it. I only wish all those mouthing off about it on twitter had seen the whole 20-minute debate and not just reacted to the 10-second introduction. But nevertheless, I am sorry.
So far Ofcom has received less than 20 complaints about the episode but will consider further investigation.
The BBC has announced a new programme lined up for BBC 4.
In 1979, Monty Python's film Life Of Brian caused nutter outrage around the world. Nuns with banners picketed cinemas, councils banned the film and the religious group Festival of Light organised a concerted campaign against the film,
trying to get it banned.
Against this backdrop Michael Palin and John Cleese found themselves facing prominent society figures Malcolm Muggeridge and the Bishop of Southwark in a television debate in front of a live studio audience to defend their film against charges of
blasphemy: but who won?
Written by Tony Roche, Holy Flying Circus is a fantastical re-imagining of the controversy surrounding the release of Life Of Brian. Witty and humorous in tone, the comedy drama incorporates surreal cutaways including puppetry and
animation in telling its narrative.
Richard Klein, Controller BBC Four, comments: This is a smart and witty take on both the nature of censorship and the world of Monty Python. Tony Roche's script is both bold and entertaining, a wonderfully warm homage to one of the most
original of British comedy teams.
MediaWatch aren't happy with a man winning money after serving time and maybe changing his life for the better. Perhaps MediaWatch would prefer ALL criminals to be executed or banished to poverty and destitution (a perfect
place to forced to re-enter the criminal lifestyle) irrespective of whether they've been successfully rehabilitated.
'Furious' campaigners have demanded an apology from Red or Black boss Simon Cowell for allowing a convicted criminal to scoop £ 1million on TV.
Nathan Hageman was jailed for battering his ex-girlfriend's boyfriend after breaking into his flat. He was seen by 8.1 million viewers hugging Red or Black presenters Ant and Dec as he won his windfall.
But 'furious' MediaWatch-UK spokesman John Turtle branded the scenes sickening and said having a former violent crook on the show was an insult to the victims of crime: By accepting him they are condoning violence and the crime he
committed. If Simon Cowell doesn't apologise for this, he too is condoning his crime. It is staggering they knew about his past and still allowed him on the show. What message does this send to victims of crime?
Hageman, the first Red Or Black millionaire winner, insisted he had paid for his crime and should be allowed to get on with his life.
Red Or Black bosses learned of his secret shame during a criminal record check. But they kept him on because he'd served his sentence. A source close to boss Simon Cowell said: Everyone deserves a second chance.
Nutters have Complained about BBC's Torchwood over sex scenes featuring Captain Jack Harkness and his gay lover Angelo.
Thursday's show, in which Captain Jack (played by John Barrowman) seduced Angelo, reportedly drew hundreds of complaints from viewers.
According to the Daily Mail, more than 500 viewers showed their disapproval by complaining to the Beeb, calling the scenes pointless .
Some questioned the need for sex scenes, gay or straight, in a sci-fi show while others were said to be concerned that younger viewers would be 'shocked'.
David Turtle, from campaign group Mediawatch-UK, told the Mail: The BBC will say the programme is being shown after the 9pm watershed. But it doesn't alter the fact that the programme is watched by a lot of young people and is easily
accessible on iPlayer at any time of the day.
A BBC spokesperson responded by saying: We felt the content was justified in terms of the context and character and within the expectations of regular viewers. We aim to depict relationships, whether heterosexual or homosexual in an honest and
realistic way. These scenes are not meant to cause offence.
In fact the BBC had previously said that they would cut a scene showing Captain Jack sleeping with a barman:
It wasn't that it was a gay scene that worried people, but just the fact that it was such an explicit sex scene full stop, a source said. You can get away with scenes like that on American cable channels, but you can't on
primetime BBC One.
Even though the show airs after the watershed, it has a lot of young fans who would have been shocked at the graphic nature of the sex.
So it seems that even cutting the scenes isn't enough for the likes of Mediawatch-UK
A boy of eight whose parents allowed him to watch violent movies was found hanged after viewing a film that features ritualistic suicides.
Lewis McGlynn had been watching the Tom Cruise film The Last Samurai , which has a 15 certificate, when his father discovered him hanging from his bedroom door.
His family and neighbours desperately tried to resuscitate him but he was pronounced dead at hospital shortly afterwards.
An investigation revealed Lewis had a large number of DVDs in his bedroom that belonged to his older brother, but his parents, John and Beth, had not stopped him watching them. He also had a habit of playing out scenes in
Hertfordshire coroner Edward Thomas warned of the danger of allowing children to watch adult movies as he recorded a verdict of accidental death following an inquest in Hatfield: He may well have been doing some of the
things he might have seen in videos, he told Mr and Mrs McGlynn. You described he wanted to be Indiana Jones with a whip and things like wrestling. I think he was playing around. It's so important that these videos have 18 or 15
certificates. They are there for a purpose. It's important that kids do watch what is suitable for their age. He didn't need to die.
Vivienne Pattison, director of lobby group Media Watch UK, said the death highlighted the dangers of exposing children to extreme violence : Violence is not a taste issue but a harm issue and this case
unfortunately shows what can happen when children are exposed to extreme violence. Parents must ensure they keep these films and games out of reach of children.'
Comments: Wonder Woman
12th August 2011. From David
Vivienne Pattison, director of lobby group Media Watch UK, said the death highlighted the dangers of exposing children to extreme violence: [,,,]. Parents must ensure they keep these films and games out of reach of
Hang on, is that actually her recommending proper parental responsibility instead of just banning stuff? Wonders will never cease!
The nutters of Mediawatch-UK have urged the BBC to introduced a TV style watershed for radio.
This was in response to Radio 4's Today programme repeatedly used the words bullshit and bastards during a recorded item. The words were spoken to illustrate a report about the abuse aimed at academics researching chronic
fatigue syndrome or ME.
The item, introduced with no warning by regular presenter Sarah Montague, said researchers who suggested ME might be a mental illness had been subjected to a hate campaign. Actors used to read the e-mails from sufferers quoted: Those of you
responsible for preventing us sick ME sufferers getting the help we need, wasting £ 5million on flawed bullshit, you will all pay. Another said: How are you evil bastards going to explain
away another piece of evidence? Sister station Five Live aired the same report but warned listeners beforehand.
As the BBC launched an investigation following complaints, Radio 4 insisted the words were essential and Today listeners could cope without a warning. The written version on BBC online did not mention the swearwords and neither did TV bulletins
later in the day.
Mediawatch-UK said that was because television is banned from using swearwords before 9pm, while radio is freer to broadcast abuse at any time. Director Vivienne Pattison said that made no sense and the loophole should be closed. She said she
frequently had to leap across the room to switch off her radio to prevent her children hearing words of adult content aired during the day.
Pattison said: The BBC is somewhat of a repeat offender on this issue. There isn't a watershed on radio and it's time we had one. Ofcom's research finds too much swearing is being broadcast. People don't like it.
Two Tory MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport select committee have backed the call for a radio watershed Therese Coffey was not even aware there was no watershed. She said: It strikes me as being inconsistent. There's no expectation of hearing
that kind of language at that time and I'm sure people would have been shocked. Her colleague Philip Davies added: The lack of a watershed is an anomaly that needs to be addressed.
A spokesman for the Today programme said: E-mails including abusive language were included in the report to demonstrate the level of intimidation involved in the campaign. We felt this was editorially justified.
BBC executives have offended the Daily mail by ruling that a clever reference to 'cunts' was cleared for a 6:30pm radio show.
In a scripted joke, radio presenter Sandi Toksvig said: It's the Tories who have put the "n" into cuts
The Corporation decided that the word has lost much of its shock value and is tolerable for radio and television.
An executive who cleared it for daytime transmission on flagship Radio 4 even said it would delight many of its audience, who would love it .
Sandi Toksvig made the joke on The News Quiz and BBC executives cleared it before broadcast
The BBC's ruling is outlined in the rejection of a complaint from a member of the public, who took 'offence' at the reference. He complained to the BBC and the BBC Trust. Both bodies rejected his complaint A subsequent appeal to the Trust's
Editorial Standards Committee was also rejected.
In a letter dated 20 January, 2011, Francesca O'Brien, head of Editorial Standards at the BBC Trust Unit, said:
The BBC guidelines include this word as one of the most offensive so I accept your comments regarding the potential offensiveness of the word.
However given the nature of the programme, service and time and the expectations of the likely audience, the fact that the word was not actually spoken but only referred to in word-play and with reference to the context of
cuts which had been announced that week, I do not consider that there is a reasonable prospect of success for your appeal on the point.
John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport select committee, said: The vast majority of people still regard this an offensive term and it should not have been broadcast at this time.
Vivienne Pattison, of the nutter campaign group Mediawatch-UK, said radio programmes, currently free of any controls, should now be given their own watershed. She said: This is still an offensive term and is in fact one of the only truly
offensive terms we have left. It should not have been broadcast at this time.
Vivienne Pattison, spokesman for campaign group Mediawatch UK, said: I have concerns as these games are hyper-real and take place in a landscape we are familiar with. In light of the fact we have just had the 7/7
inquests, it is in incredibly poor taste.
Activision, who make the game, said: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is a fictional action game aimed at mature adults and set in World War Three. The scenes in the game are entirely fictional and are not intended to
recreate any historical events.
Interesting to note that the nutters of Mediawatch-UK are aware that their bleatings may contribute to hype, and hence may increase sales. They write in their latest blog entry:
We were called by several news outlets who wanted our view of the game. We walk a fine line when commenting on games like this because scenes are often inserted which are likely to attract protest thus creating a media buzz
and selling more copies. Because we've not yet been able to play the game or see anymore than the contents of the trailer we weren't prepared to comment beyond saying that ,coming so close on the back of the 7/7 inquests which showed the
devastating effects of an attack on the tube, including this in the game would appear to be cynical and in poor taste.
Mediawatch-UK, the nutter campaign group, says children today are the polluted generation . It will launch a campaign tomorrow to alert parents. Acting with the charity Safermedia, it will put up 10ft-high letters reading Block Porn
outside BT's headquarters in London as part of a drive to encourage providers to restrict access to pornographic content.
A Mediawatch spokeswoman said: Parents seem to be unaware of the scale of their children's porn consumption. Seventy-five per cent of teenagers say their parents have never talked about porn with them.
Far from being harmless, we are seeing evidence that children's consumption of pornography is affecting their development.
On the 7th February 2011, Ed Vaizey MP, the Minister for Culture met with the major British ISPs to discuss the potential of this suggestion. Following a good discussion, the ISPs are now looking at the technical side of implementation and the
next meeting with Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey MP, is today on the 18th May 2011.
As part of this campaign, on May 16th 2011 Safermedia travelled to central London and built a 10ft structure with coloured blocks outside the BT headquarters calling on ISPs to BLOCK PORN at the source.
Channel 4 is to show live footage of the effects of Class A drugs in a programme to be called Drugs Live.
The broadcaster explained in a press release:
With higher levels of cocaine and amphetamine use than any other nation in the European Union, Britain has recently been deemed the drugs capital of Europe. So what actually happens when someone takes a drug or drinks
alcohol - what are the effects on a human body?
Channel 4 announces a radical new science series examining the claims and counterclaims made about the effects of recreational drugs by testing them on live television. Under strict medical supervision and in a controlled
clinical environment, individuals will be filmed as they use different substances. Their physical and psychological effects will be monitored, as will their social interaction with others as the drugs enter their systems.
Recreational drugs were used by 2.8m adults in England alone from 2009 to 2010, yet their dangers are disputed, with opinion having been divided between government policy-makers and scientists. The last Government dismissed
its own chief scientific advisor and another expert recently described the current classification of drugs as: a very British farce .
Specialist Factual Commissioning Editor David Glover says: This subject is fraught with controversy and confusion - this series will provide viewers with unmediated access to a live drug trial. Viewers will be able to
see for themselves the actual effects the drugs have in scientific detail. We will work closely with the leading research institutes from across the world. The aim is to bring new clarity to the facts of illegal drug use.
This four-part series, made by Renegade Pictures with Alan Hayling as executive producer, will examine the effects of individual drugs and explore how addictive they are and how they affect a range of behaviours.
...BUT... Vivienne Pattison, director of campaign group Mediawatch-UK, fears that Channel 4 will not handle the issue carefully enough.
I can't say it fills me with joy because Channel 4 have got a bit of a reputation for doing "educational" programmes that turn out to be sensationalist, she said. She pointed to the recent show The Joy of Teen Sex, which she said
was similar to soft-core porn .
Pattison added: The bottom line is Channel 4 have got to deliver an audience, because people won't advertise if they don't. Let's see how it turns out. But I have got concerns given their previous track record.
She added: We know children don't look at this sort of thing in the same way as a mature adult.
In another final breaking down of barriers, the BBC will now show the final dying moments of an 84-year-old cancer sufferer.
Known only as Gerald, viewers of the science series, Inside the Human Body , will see his final breath as he dies at home surrounded by his family.
Gerald died on January 1. Like him, his family hope the programme will help others, and its presenter, Michael Mosely, has been quick to head off criticism. In an interview with the Radio Times, he said: There are those who feel that showing a
human death on television is wrong, whatever the circumstance. Although I respect this point of view, I think there is a case to be made for filming a peaceful, natural death -- a view shared by many who work closely with the dying.
The BBC has also filmed the last moments of a man at a Dignitas clinic in Switzerland for a Terry Pratchett documentary.
Vivienne Pattison, of Mediawatch-UK said:
Both these programmes had the consent of all those involved. They are not turning death into Big Brother-style reality TV, but it is a question of balance, and I can understand why concerns are being raised, particularly by
the Dignitas programme.
Quite a number of programmes have already been screened which have taken a pro-euthanasia stance. It's an emotive subject, but there are just as many people who oppose it, and their views don't seem to be represented. Our
job is to campaign for socially responsible broadcasting and against content that is offensive and harmful to viewers.
I don't think showing someone's last moments is necessarily harmful, but the goal posts on what is acceptable on television have shifted greatly over the last decade.
The Living Body will air tonight (12th May 2011) on BBC 1 at 9pm.
Tory MP John Whittingdale, chair of the Culture, Media and Sports select committee, warned: Death is usually something that should not be turned into a spectacle for a TV audience.
A BBC spokesman said: Death is an important part of the human experience, and showing Gerald's death is integral to understanding what happens to the body when it is no longer able to function properly. The BBC does not shy away from difficult
subjects like this.
The X Factor Final
ITV1, 11 December 2010, 19:00 (repeated 12 December 2010, 09:30)
The X Factor Final was the climax of the seventh series of this popular talent show.
While viewers waited for the voting to be concluded and the announcement of the name of the act which had made it through to the Sunday final show, the programme featured two well known singers. One, Rihanna, performed her latest song, What's
My Name , at 20:32 in a dress which was removed by a dancer during the performance to reveal a strapless top and high waisted pants. Later at 20:47 Christina Aguilera sang the song Express from the film Burlesque in which
she stars. This featured the singer with a number of dancers performing in a burlesque- style of dance and dress.
Ofcom received 2,868 complaints that the performances by Rihanna and Christina Aguilera were too sexually explicit for broadcast before the 21:00 watershed. Some considered that The X Factor was a family show and that the content of
both performances was not suitable for children to view before the watershed. With reference to both performances complainants commented that they [Rihanna and Christina Aguilera] performed in a very sexual manner and the content was
too sexually explicit and inappropriate for the young audience of this show . With specific reference to Christina Aguilera's performance, complainants expressed concern that: the dancing, costumes and tone were sexually explicit and at
odds with the watershed which should seek to protect children from sexualisation and there were extremely revealing background dancers performing indecent dance moves .
Approximately 2,000 of the 2,868 complaints about this programme were received following coverage about the performances in a daily national newspaper. The newspaper coverage reported on concerns that the performances were too explicit for a
family programme, and included a number of still images of the performances. However, from a comparison of the images it is clear that the photographs that were published in the newspaper were significantly more graphic and close-up than the
material that had been broadcast in the programme, and had been taken from a different angle to the television cameras. Readers of the newspaper would have therefore been left with the impression that the programme contained significantly more
graphic material than had actually been broadcast.
Rule 1.3: Children must be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.
Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context...
Ofcom Decision: Not in Breach...Just...
In considering this case, Ofcom took into account that The X Factor is a Saturday night programme which many families sit down together to watch.
With reference to Rihanna's performance (which commenced at 20:32), Ofcom noted that she began in a long wrap-around dress and approximately half way through the routine the dress was removed by a dancer to reveal a strapless top and high-
Rhianna's dance routine had some mildly sexual overtones and included images of her gyrating and rocking her buttocks. However, it was largely shot at a wide angle to show all of the dancers on the stage and from a distance. Where there were
close ups of Rhianna, these focussed on her front or her head and shoulders, not her exposed back. Additionally, the camera panned quickly and continuously throughout the performance, resulting in the shots of the individual dance movements of
both Rihanna and her dancers being very brief.
Ofcom was therefore of the view that, taken as a whole, the performance by Rihanna was presented in a style which would not have exceeded the likely expectations of the audience either on 11 December between 20:30 and 21:00 or the following
morning from 09:30. With reference to the content, the performer and the dancers were in Ofcom's opinion adequately dressed with clothing covering their buttocks. The part of the dance routine which featured some gentle thrusting of the buttocks
by Rihanna was in keeping with her performing style, suitably limited and brief in duration, and in Ofcom's view was suitable for a pre-watershed audience.
Ofcom concluded therefore that this material was appropriately scheduled and the broadcaster complied with Rule 1.3.
Christina Aguilera's performance
Ofcom considered that this performance taken as a whole was sexualised in nature to some extent. The outfits of some of the dancers were revealing, with limited coverage of the buttocks, and were of a sexualised nature because they were based on
lingerie such as basques, stockings and suspenders. The outfits, taken together with dance positions featuring thrusting buttocks and women bent over chairs, resulted in a routine which aimed to reflect the essence of burlesque but contained
sexualised elements. Taken individually, some of these images may not be uncommon in programmes broadcast pre-watershed. The routine however had a number of simultaneous, sexualised elements concentrated into a relatively short period of time and
there was therefore a cumulative effect.
We note the explanation given by Channel TV that its control over the detailed nature of the performance itself was limited in this case. In such circumstances, broadcasters must take particular care to employ other measures to retain
independence of editorial control. In this case, we acknowledge that Channel TV had sought to minimise the potential for offence by taking other measures, such as particular camera angles. Therefore, while the dancers did adopt some sexualised
positions intermittently as described above, Ofcom noted that shots of these poses were fleeting, as is expected in a fast paced routine. Additionally, the performance was largely shot at a wide angle to show all of the dancers on the stage and
from a distance Ė minimising the potential impact.
Importantly, throughout the routine there were no close-up shots of individual dancers so the viewer was not drawn to any one dancer's clothing or actions in detail. The dancers were in effect a backdrop to Christina Aguilera, who was not wearing
similar clothing or following the same dance routine. For all these reasons, the impact of the dancers on-screen was significantly lessened.
Ofcom considered that there was editorial justification for the type of costumes that the dancers were wearing, and the style of the dance routine overall. They reflected the burlesque-theme and storyline of the feature film Burlesque in
which Christina Aguilera starred, and which was shortly due to go on general cinematic release at the time of this broadcast. However, the overtly sexual nature of the burlesque-style routine of the dancers was, in Ofcom's view, nevertheless
clearly capable of causing offence to some viewers and we considered that this content was at the very margin of acceptability for broadcast before the 21:00 watershed, and especially when broadcast on 12 December 2011 at 09:30. However, on
balance, and taking all matters into consideration, including the steps taken by Channel TV to minimise the potential for offence, Ofcom was of the view that this performance was not in breach of Rule 1.3 of the Code.
Ofcom concluded however that the performance was sufficiently justified by the context in which it was presented. In particular the performance was within the likely expectations of the audience for pre-watershed programmes. The broadcaster
therefore applied generally accepted standards and Rule 2.3 was not breached.
Ofcom will shortly be issuing new guidance about the acceptability of material in pre- watershed programmes that attract large family viewing audiences. We will also be requesting that broadcasters who transmit such programming attend a meeting
at Ofcom to discuss the compliance of such material.
Not in Breach of Rules 1.3 and 2.3
Offsite Comment: This is what Ofcom calls 'acceptable'
One blonde dancer is dressed, if that's the word, in a low-cut basque while striking a lewd pose that leaves nothing to the imagination. Another in skimpy bra, suspenders and stockings leans provocatively over a chair while others leer
suggestively into the camera.
The scantily-clad women formed part of the sleazy performance by Christina Aguilera during last year's controversial final of ITV's X Factor. Family friendly? A blonde dancer strikes a raunchy pose that leaves little to the imagination
TV watchdog Ofcom this week ruled that explicit routines by Miss Aguilera and fellow pop star Rihanna were at the limit of acceptability for broadcast before 9pm for a family audience.
But, to the astonishment of many, the media regulator said they did not breach broadcasting rules.
Instead, the regulator rebuked the Daily Mail, saying that some 2,000 of the 2,868 complaints it received followed our coverage of the sexual content of a programme which horrified parents and politicians. Ofcom claimed the Mail used images that
suggested the talent show contained significantly more graphic material than had actually been broadcast . Now readers can judge for themselves.
During the last 10 years, it seems the watershed has quietly been eroded. So much so, that Christina Aguilera's sexual X Factor routine was recently cleared by the broadcasting watchdog of being inappropriate for a young
Ofcom did say it was 'at the very margin of acceptability', but it does make you wonder what they would have to do to breach the guidelines. The argument goes that society has changed and, therefore, what's acceptable on
television has changed.
However, in recent years, far too much emphasis has been placed on 'freedom of expression' with little or no emphasis on the corresponding responsibilities.
The next time you see Christina Aguilera on The X Factor, she will likely be dressed as a nun (and not the perved-up Lady Gaga variety).
Christina-gate is big news in Britain, where Right-wing commentators are of the view that an entire generation risks being corrupted by the sight of Aguilera slow-grinding up against a chair. Which raises the
question: has anyone in the UK ever heard of the internet?
The notion that the most scandalous image a young person is likely to see today is a semi-clad pop singer is beyond ludicrous. Five minutes trawling the web will reveal images that make Christina look like a Saturday morning
TV presenter from 1979.
So we got to hear Jacqui's reaction to bukkake -- All she is, that woman, is a receptacle. Is this bukkake? I think it's horrible --, a chandelier made of penises and her first ever viewing of a porn film. It's
anal sex with a man with a very big penis... She doesn't look as if she's being forced to do anything she doesn't want to... there's not a lot of story... says Jacqui.
It's quite odd to think of a middle-aged married person never having seen pornography, or having experienced it; even odder still to think of a public representative or politician legislating on matters they haven't
directly experienced. After all, Smith went out on the streets to see crime fighting for herself while home secretary, so the curiosity is there, beyond a photo opportunity, surely.
As one interviewee points out, here's someone who legislated as home secretary without ever having seen adult entertainment; Jacqui's response is that she didn't try hard drugs but she had to legislate on that too.
But this was a documentary very much about opinions, rather than evidence. Throughout, Jacqui was keen to present her idea that pornography had a deleterious effect on users (there's that drugs link again) without
ever really getting to the bottom of why she felt that way.
I kid you not, at one point she consulted a professor for feminist liberation and theology . Yes. Feminism and theology in one package. A double whammy.
Of course she also interviewed the left's ever convenient intellectual Allan de Botton. Anyone who knows of him, knows that he is an avid champion of social interventionism. In short, he argues that we need nannying for our
own good. So what a coincidence that Smith chose to interview him on porn. His conclusion? Porn needs banning for our own good. Anyone surprised? Please speak up if you are.
To prove herself even handed, she interviewed porn producers, primarily Phil and Cathy Barry. But that was more a question of who they were and what they produced. Not the nasty, foreign stuff . There seemed little
doubt that such appearances of the pornsters were not there to add to the argument but to try and make the program more entertaining. In short they were the light relief who added sauce to the program. For rather tellingly no one was interviewed
who would argue on a deeper level why porn should be legal. No one was allowed to question the idea of prohibition. There was never a serious pro argument forwarded by anyone. But plenty of contra .
All the while, did Jacqui Smith talk to trafficked women, forced into porn? Any crack addicts appearing solely to feed their habit? Oddly, no. None of it. After all, where would she find these fictitious creatures? But of
course, there was everlasting editorial about her concerns .
Again, there was the endless stream of verbiage about what effect this pornography is having on the viewers. Was any science applied to this? Why bother with science if you can just speak into the mike and voice concern
The BBC was today accused of ignoring its own charter requirement to offer balance by coming down firmly on the side of opt-in in respect of internet porn regulation.
An alliance of the concerned drawn from academics and individuals representing the adult film industry added their voices to a chorus of dissent, claiming that Porn Again , a documentary produced by former Home
Secretary Jacqui Smith and aired last Thursday, was biased, inaccurate, and went out of its way to sideline any voices at odds with its central thesis that pornography is harmful.
Speaking to The Register today, Jerry Barnett, Chairman of the Adult Industry Trade Association (AIT), said: The documentary appears to have been a piece of pro-censorship propaganda, backed by the full establishment
weight of the BBC, at a time when freedom of speech is under concerted attack from multiple directions, by our government and many others around the world.
BBC Radio 5 live.
21:30 on Thursday 3 March
Jacqui Smith has made a documentary for BBC Radio 5 live looking at pornography in Britain today.
The ex-MP was embarrassed in 2009 when it was revealed that her husband had watched pornographic movies on paid TV, then she used parliamentary expenses to foot the bill.
She has certainly captured the limelight with loads of publicity in the media. Fuelled by some ludicrous whingeing that people were picking on her over expenses because she is a woman.
For purposes of research I did watch the sort of pornography that's available on the internet, Smith tells Nicky Campbell: One of the most interesting things... the people that work in the industry, I liked them more than I thought I
Update: Counselling for those who canít tell the fantasy from reality
Expenses fantasist Jacqui Smith will tell the sex industry: Put your money where your mouth is. Fund real sex education in schools, promote safe sex and invest in relationship counselling for those who can't tell the fantasy from reality.
David Turtle, of the anti-porn nutters at Mediawatch UK, retorted: The adult entertainment industry is only concerned about its profits. It's naive to think it is going to be effective in helping teenagers who are at risk from this material.
If Ms Smith was so concerned about the issue, why didn't she do more to deal with it when she was Home Secretary?
Smith also talks in the show about rows over porn she had with her husband Richard Timney. She said: Somebody I care a lot about and who cares about me has watched pornography. I have argued with him about it and he takes a different view from
A paralysed character in ITV's soap Emmerdale is to die in a 'controversial' assisted suicide storyline, The Sun reveals.
Industry whingers Mediawatch-UK 'slammed' the storyline. Spokesman David Turtle said: Emmerdale has been trying to push the boundaries for some time just to boost ratings. It's a soap, not a serious discussion about a serious topic.
Channel 4 is facing a nutter 'storm' of criticism over Jamie Oliver's new TV series which features two teenage boys being asked to produce sperm samples for analysis in a science class.
The scenes will be featured in Jamie's Dream School , in which he attempts to turn around a group of troubled teenagers by sending them to a school run by celebrities.
The controversial biological test was set up by leading fertility expert Professor Robert Winston to interest the 20 pupils, who have been removed or excluded from mainstream education, in the excitement of science .
In the one-hour programme, to be screened next month, the 70-year-old Labour peer asks two boys in the mixed class of youngsters aged 16 to 18 to leave the room to produce a sperm sample for investigation under microscopic analysis where it will
be compared with the sperm of other animals.
Lord Winston, who has presented a string of BBC documentaries on human development, admitted in a newspaper article:
It was as close to the edge as you could get but that's how I wanted my lessons to be. I got some boys to leave the room and come back with a sample of their own seminal fluid for the class to look at under the microscope.
Instantly kids of both sexes were very excited. I could have brought samples with me into the classroom but everyone knows that that wouldn't have been the same as looking at your own body. Every scientist, if he is good at his job will have
experimented on his own body at some point.
A Channel 4 source insisted viewers would not see the samples being collected. A spokesman said all the pupils involved in the programme were given a fortnight's warning about the experiment, which took place while the show was being filmed in
North London at the end of last year, and could have opted out. He went on: Written consent was given by the parents of the boys providing samples. All of the students were happy with the lesson and found it enlightening.
But David Turtle, spokesman for the pressure group Mediawatch-UK, said:
This is just a cheap way to get boost ratings and increase advertising revenues. From our point of view it's condoning a form of behaviour in a classroom situation. If you're going to have a proper discussion about
reproduction and sexuality you don't do it like this.
We have serious concerns about the programme and we have concerns about Jamie Oliver as a role model for young people. Mr Winston's involvement seems very unusual.
Former Home Office Minister Ann Widdecombe:
I think it's hugely distasteful. I am amazed Channel 4 are letting it go out. It is horrible.
It's yet another step towards the road that there is no limit to what you can put on television these days.
Heather Bellamy: In the last year many people have been discussing the sexualisation of children in our society. Children accessing pornography online would be part of that. However the
issue is far bigger; for example, last year Westfield Shopping Centre in London ran a series of pornographic advertising billboards for clothing that anybody could see just walking into the Shopping Centre. Did you pick up on that?
Vivienne Pattison: Yes and there was an outcry and I'm very pleased about that. Retailers and broadcasters or whoever it is, they go so far and then they suddenly realise that they've gone
too far and they'll hit a public wall of approbation and people are absolutely furious about it. I don't think that we can point our fingers at any one section and say, it's your fault that children are sexualised like this; it's part of a
massive thing. Children are like little sponges soaking up; in educational terms, soaking up all the messages around them. They pick things up from billboards, on the television, they access the internet and they see stuff in shops. All these
things go together to form a very complex jigsaw of the way in which they view the world.
The nutters of Mediawatch-UK and Safermedia are looking forward to Monday's meeting with government minister Ed Vaizey.
The political campaigners are pushing their demands for ISP blocking with adult material only enabled for those that opt in and verify their age.
Mediawatch rant on about all the worlds ills seemingly down to porn on the internet but don't really consider too much about the practicalities of trying to define a filter to match the needs of all ages from tots to parents.
But Mediawatch-uk have made a little progress they now seem to support the idea that adults are allowed access to porn. Last time this was mentioned they wanted to put people in prison for 3 years for the possession of R18 porn. Mediawatch-UK
wrote on their blog:
We support the proposal for an opt-in system to block adult sites at source unless specifically requested.
Of course once the blocking process is place the next step will be to 'nudge' society pressurising people not to opt in.
According to the Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA), they together with a number of ISPs have also been invited to the meeting. Representatives of UKCCIS and children's charities will also be present.
I bet they haven't invited anyone to represent the views of the millions of people who enjoy various forms of adult interests on the net..
The BBC have apologised after Elton John swore live on air during a daytime radio show.
He was heard by millions of Radio 2 listeners during Chris Evans's breakfast show.
Evans was telling the flamboyant singer how fellow musician Jools Holland begins his day by playing the piano, when Sir Elton heaved a sigh uttered something along the lines of who the fuck would want to get up first thing in the morning and
play the piano?
This was followed by profuse apologies to keep Ofcom at bay and a formal apology from Elton John, saying: I'm really, really sorry that I said that naughty word, but I can't believe anyone would want to get up first thing in the morning and
play the piano.
The BBC also issued an apology: Both Sir Elton and Chris apologised many times on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show for the language used by Sir Elton. The BBC apologises if any offence was caused.
Mediawatch-UK was prompted for a sound bite and a spokesman said: Slip-ups do happen but it's a family show. The BBC should have briefed him before the show. It shouldn't have happened – but at least they are taking it seriously.
A Channel 4 programme described as a frank exploration of the love and sex lives of today's teenagers , has predictably wound up the nutters of Mediawatch-UK.
The series The Joy Of Teen Sex goes out after the watershed on January 19 and contains depictions of lesbian sex and also offers a guide to anal sex .
The series is fronted by Dr Rachael Jones, social worker Ruth Corden, and resident sex coach Joanna.
According to Channel 4, it revolves around visitors to a walk-in clinic, the Sex Advice Shop, where the team are on hand to offer young people, and sometimes their parents, support and professional advice.
A Channel 4 spokesperson said:
Sex is part of every teenager's life. This new series is not your typical sex education programme. It offers a frank exploration of the love and sex lives of today's teenagers. It presents solutions to the emotional and
physical problems that many of them experience.
No subject is off-limits, from teen pregnancy to sexual performance and genital health as the series will shine the spotlight on issues that young people care about and experience in their love and sex lives.
Mediawatch-UK spokeswoman Vivienne Pattison said :
The series goes much further than The Sex Education Show [another C4 show]. It is basically titillation television. It crossed the prurient line.
I'm also concerned about the title. If you put 'teen sex' into an internet search engine, you can imagine the sort of images you will get. That's who will be attracted to this programme. It's soft porn. It's aimed at
arousing the audience.
This programme comes along when we're having a serious debate on the sexualisation of children, led by Prime Minister David Cameron. There is a real question in the role of programmes like this in this whole mess that we
have created for ourselves.