UK TV Hardcore Ban

Ofcom ban R18s from encrypted adult channels

24th July

Explicit Censorship...

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TV censor fines TelevisionX for perfectly legal porn shown under PIN protection to adult customers

Ofcom received complaints about the over explicit sexual nature of output broadcast on TVX during both encrypted and free-to-air elements on 8 June 2007 from 22:00.

This was during a live ‘babe' programme. The complaints, from competitor broadcasters, suggested some of the encrypted output was equivalent to material that would be classified as ‘R18' by the BBFC

The encrypted material transmitted under PIN encryption on 8 June 2007 between 22.10 and 22.40 featured two naked female presenters engaging in very explicit sexual acts. This included:

  • frequent and prolonged masturbation, shown in close-up
  • explicit scenes of oral sex
  • explicitly depicted scenes of vaginal penetration by fingers and dildos.

The ten minute free-to-air trailer transmitted immediately prior to the encrypted output on the same night featured the same presenters. During this section one of the ‘babes' removed her knickers and was then depicted in relative close up touching and being touched between her legs. Labial detail was apparent.

Throughout, the ‘babes' invited viewers to subscribe to the encrypted service using explicit language, such as: …I can't wait to bring my head in between those luscious thighs and get sucking on that juicy pussy!” and …If you wanna see me fucking this pussy I‘ve got all kinds of toys…. that you can see me fucking Tiffany with…

The Licensee immediately accepted that part of the live programme transmitted on 8 June 2007 from 22:10 breached Rule 1.25 of the Code i.e. it was the equivalent of ‘R18'-rated material. The transmission of content equivalent to BBFC-rated ‘R18'-rated material is not permitted under Rule 1.25 of the Code.

Portland also accepted that the images broadcast during the free-to-air promotional trailer were in breach of the Code. However, they did not accept that the language during the free-to-air promotional trailer breached the Code.

Ofcom concluded that the encrypted material was equivalent to ‘R18' content because of the sexual explicitness detailed above. It therefore recorded that the broadcast was in breach of Rule 1.25 of the Code.

Ofcom also decided that free-to-air material was so explicit, especially the visual images, that it was ‘adult-sex' material. Accordingly Rule 1.24 applied, which meant it should have been broadcast under encryption. Since however this material was not protected by encryption and other measures required by Rule 1.24, it contravened this Rule. In view of this material being shown free-to-air, the Executive also decided that it breached Rules 2.1 and 2.3. These require broadcasters to protect viewers from material that is harmful or offensive and which cannot be justified by the context.

In Ofcom's view, the breaches were sufficiently serious that the case should be referred to the Committee for consideration of a statutory sanction of £25,000.

Except for the various mitigating factors, and in particular the swift action to discipline the production staff responsible and improve compliance, the Committee would have imposed a higher financial penalty.


19th May

Update: Red Hot Website Links...

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TV censor fines Red Hot Channels for links to hardcore websites and TVX2 for R18 content

Not So Red Hot Channels

Ofcom have fined RHF Productions Ltd £25,000 for broadcasting the URLs of websites that feature hardcore teasers without an age verification mechanism. The softcore pay per view channels were broadcasting the links between 21 July 2008 and 28 August 2008.

Ofcom considered:

  • Rule 1.2: In the provision of services, broadcasters must take all reasonable steps to protect people under eighteen
  • Rule 1.3: Children must also be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them
  • Rule 2.1: Generally accepted standards must be applied to the contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of harmful and/or offensive material
  • Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context…Such material may include, but is not limited to, offensive language…[and] sex….

In Broadcast Bulletin 114 dated 21 July 2008, Ofcom published a breach Finding against RHF. Free-to-air trailers broadcast in February 2008 on Red Hot TV which included verbal and on-screen text references to RHF’s website address and Portland Enterprises’ website address

The websites to which the Website URLs led, featured content equivalent to BBFC R18-rated material which could be viewed without registration. As a result, it was the responsibility of all Licensees (including RHF) to take all appropriate and immediate steps to comply with the Code.

On 14 August 2008, Ofcom were again alerted to the offending Website URLs. The Website URLs led to websites which, although they included a warning on their front page, contained extremely explicit sexual material (equivalent to BBFC R18-rated material). This did not require registration to view and could be seen by under-eighteens.

On being contacted by Ofcom on 28 August 2008, however, RHF took immediate steps to ensure the removal of the Website URLs from the Red Hot Channels. This was achieved on 28 August 2008.

Ofcom noted that whilst the content of the websites, to which the Website URLs led, was not broadcast material, and therefore not subject to the Code, the on-air references to the Website URLs were clearly broadcast content and must comply with the Code. The on-air references to the Website URLs did not comply with the Code because they led users to websites allowing unrestricted access to R18-rated equivalent material.

Television Not So X 2

Ofcom have fined Portland Enterprises Ltd £27,500 for showing a little hardcore female masturbation on its softcore TVX 2 channel.

Ofcom considered:

  • Rule 1.25: BBFC R18-rated films or their equivalent must not be broadcast

Ofcom received a complaint that the programme Bathroom Bitches broadcast on Television X2 (TVX2) on 4 September 2008 at 21:53, although encrypted, contained R18 equivalent material. The Programme included prolonged and explicit scenes of a woman masturbating, some of which were shown in close-up and depicted vaginal penetration using a dildo. Ofcom considered that the content broadcast was equivalent to BBFC R18-rated material because of the sexual explicitness detailed above.

Portland Compliance admitted the Code breach stating that: Regrettably, the programme contained such footage [R18-rated equivalent material] . Ofcom therefore recorded a breach of Rule 1.25 (R18-rated equivalent material must not be broadcast) against Portland Enterprises for transmitting the Programme.

Ofcom considered that lthough encrypted, the equivalent of R18-rated material (namely images of actual vaginal penetration) has the potential to cause harm to under-eighteens and children in particular.


25th May

Comment: Out of Touch with the Real Porn World...

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The strange relationship between Ofcom, UK adult channels and their subscribers

Ofcom have been fined Portland Enterprises Ltd £27,500 for showing a little hardcore female masturbation in a programme Bathroom Bitches on its softcore TVX 2 channel.

But BobB points out that something is going on between Ofcon and the Satellite broadcasters! The program that supposedly breached the code, and attracted these fines, is still being regularly shown on TVX/Redhot (with no cuts from the original showing)

One would imagine that only an idiot would continue to broadcast a program for which they have already been fined.

Shaun asks: I'd like to know who these morons are, that subscribe to the Sky platform's "porn" channels (if you can call them that) and then complain about the fact that what they see on the screen is pornographic...

To be honest I care very little about the issue these days. The broadcasters are pandering to Ofcom instead of fighting their cause. Their subscribers are gullible into paying for such rubbish when there's more adult material than ever available from all kind of sources online, and other satellites...

Ofcom, the adult broadcasters and the gullible subscribers all deserve each other really.


8th February

Update: Obscure Reasoning...

Now Ofcom ban even obscured penetration shots on adult encrypted TV claiming them to be R18 material

   Ofcom TV Censors

Ofcom have revealed some of their TV censorship rules banning hardcore on UK TV even in encrypted adult paid for services. Ofcom have decided that sex is R18 (hardcore) material if it is obviously real from the physics of the interaction, even if the insertion details are obscured.

Ofcom found scenes on Climax 3-3 to be R18 material because: viewers would have reasonably believed that penetration was taking place despite there being no explicit shots of point of insertion.

Perhaps someone from Playboy should ask the BBFC to comment on this assertion. In reality it is pretty easy to distinguish simulated in intercourse from real intercourse even when blocked by the usual softcore techniques. A hard real connection between the performers is easily deduced from the movement of the bits and bobs left unobscured.

See  article from

Climax 3-3
1 July 2010, 22:15 to 22:45

Climax 3-3 was a channel broadcast under a licence held by Playboy TV. The channel was subject to mandatory restricted access with measures in place to ensure the subscriber is an adult. The channel however included some freeview sections broadcast without mandatory restricted access in order to promote the channel and encourage viewers to subscribe.

On 1 July 2010 between 22:15 and 22:45, the service showed prolonged 3 scenes of sexual activity.

The first scene showed two actresses' in a bar setting. This scene included the depiction of the insertion of a bottle, a straw, a dildo and a hand-held soft drink dispenser gun. The second scene showed what appeared to be a lone woman urinating in a barn. The third scene showed three actresses' in a barn who appeared to be inserting fingers and dildos into themselves and each other.

The sexual activity in all three scenes included depictions of: insertion of dildos, fingers and other objects either by one female on another or one female on herself; oral sex; and masturbation; During the broadcast the camera featured close up and intimate shots of the sexual activity but some activity was partially hidden by parts of the actresses' bodies.

On 2 July 2010 Playboy informed Ofcom that there had been a scheduling error by the company that organised the listing of its broadcasts and that this material had been played out by mistake without any protections.

Some time later Ofcom [conveniently] received a complaint from a viewer who said that broadcasts in the freeview section of Climax 3-3 on 1 July 2010 included some strong material that should have been subject to mandatory restricted access.

Ofcom considered:

  • Rule 1.17 Material equivalent to the British board of Film Classification (BBFC) R18-rating must not be broadcast at any time .

Playboy confirmed that the material had been broadcast without mandatory restricted access and in error and had now put in place stringent new checking processes to ensure this would not happen again.

Regarding the explicitness of the material and whether this was of R18 equivalent rating, Playboy said that there were a limited number of borderline shots of angles where there could be some debate over whether the object or finger penetration was simulated. It said that when deciding whether to edit out certain shots from its material it always sought advice from the BBFC. It said that it went by the rule that if it cannot be argued that penetration is not occurring, then it must be cut . For example fingers may be bent at the knuckle rather than penetrating, objects may go underneath or behind an orifice, and if objects are filmed from behind there could potentially be a gap between the orifice and the object. With regard to what appeared to be urination by one of the actresses, Playboy argued that it always ensured that the point of exit was obscured so that it could be argued that the act was simulated, for example, by using a water bottle hidden by a leg.

Playboy argued that there was nothing broadcast which could be construed as unarguably R18 or equivalent i.e. full-on penetration . It did accept that there was a very fine line between simulated and non-simulated activity.

Ofcom Decision: In breach of rule 1.17

In considering the content of this programme Ofcom asked itself first whether the content of the programme was equivalent to that in a BBFC R18-rated film or video.

Ofcom first examined a scene during this broadcast which included what appeared to be a lone actress urinating. Ofcom considered that this scene had a clear focus on the act of urination and that, as with other material in this programme, was broadcast for the primary purpose of sexual arousal. In the circumstances, Ofcom considered that this particular content was of an equivalent standard to R18-rated material and its broadcast was therefore a breach of Rule 1.17.

Ofcom next examined other scenes in the programme which appeared to show either vaginal or anal penetration by various objects, including dildos, fingers and a bottle. Ofcom recognised that these scenes were less clear. However, viewers would have reasonably believed that penetration was taking place despite there being no explicit shots of point of insertion. In particular, Ofcom considered that despite the partially obscured nature of the images, viewers would have been left with the clear impression that penetration by the bottle had occurred in the first scene and that penetration by dildos had occurred in the third scene.

In any event, this material clearly constituted at the very least adult sex material -- i.e. images of a strong sexual nature that were broadcast for the primary purpose of sexual arousal and should not therefore have been broadcast without mandatory restricted access. Ofcom welcomes the proactive stance of Playboy with regard to this matter.

However, this is a serious breach of the Code. Material equivalent to BBFC R18 content must not be broadcast at any time. As a result, the Licensee is put on notice that this present contravention of its licence is being considered for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

Breach of Rule 1.17


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