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26th December   

Frank Documentary...

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Frank Skinner to present Panorama about strong language on TV
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Panorama logo Frank Skinner is set to present a BBC programme on television's strong language. He is making a special news show on taste and decency - believed to be prompted by the prank calls to Andrew Sachs that led to the resignation of Russell Brand and the suspension of Jonathan Ross.

The BBC Panorama special is due to air in late January or early February, shortly after Ross returns to BBC1 after serving his three-month suspension. Reports suggest that the news and current affairs programme will feature an interview with Ross.

Skinner has been criticised in the past for his provocative style of humour, including a Euro 2004 episode of ITV Fantasy Football special which featured a sketch in which models posed as Sven Goran Erikson, then England manager, having sex with his girlfriend Nancy Dell'Olio.

BBC sources insist Skinner is well qualified to make a documentary about taste, pointing out that he recently dropped swearing from his act and has written eloquently about the need to use bad language sparingly.

Skinner has interviewed officials at the media regulator Ofcom, as well as producers and executives from the BBC and rival broadcasters, including ITV chairman Michael Grade who has called for a crack down on swearing on television and Julian Bellamy, head of programmes at Channel 4. 

 

25th December   

Inhumanity on Humanity...

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Critics not keen on alternative Christmas message from Iranian president
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Channel 4 logo Channel 4 will screen an alternative Christmas message from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, in a move that has provoked widespread condemnation.

President Ahmadinejad's address will focus on spiritual messages of seasonal goodwill, but also contains an attack on bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers.

The speech is being promoted as an alternative to the Queen's traditional 3pm speech, but will be broadcast at 7.15pm.

Channel 4's decision has been condemned by human rights groups, MPs and Holocaust memorial charities.

Stephen Smith, director of the Holocaust Centre, said the president's message of peace was deceptive, describing him as a wolf in sheep's clothing. This message of so-called peace needs to be treated very carefully.

The Israeli Embassy has branded President Ahmadinejad's Christmas message a sick and twisted irony. Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor said: In Iran, converts to Christianity face the death penalty. It is perverse that this despot is allowed to speculate on the views of Jesus, while his government leads Christ's followers to the gallows. In its search for ratings and shock factor, Channel 4 has lost its ethical way.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell joined the attack, and called on the broadcaster to pull the plug on this criminal despot, who ranks with Robert Mugabe, Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and the Burmese military junta as one of the world's most bloody tyrants.

Philip Davies MP, a Tory member of the culture select committee, said that the address was completely unacceptable on every level. His previous comments don't strike me as being in tune with what most people feel at Christmas time. He is an offensive man and the last person you would want to use for a Christmas message. Channel 4 have lost sight of what a Christmas message should be. They are trying to be controversial for the sake of being controversial, and are treating their viewers with contempt by pretending this is not a publicity stunt.

Dorothy Byrne, head of news and current affairs at Channel 4, said that the network had a responsibility to give a platform to alternative voices, and said that the president's address will be preceded by a film mentioning his record on human rights, Israel, the Holocaust and the seizure of the Royal Navy sailors, to allow the public to make up their own mind.

President Ahmadinejad uses the speech to attack world leaders for ignoring the teachings of Jesus Christ, who is considered a prophet in Islam.

All Prophets called for the worship of God, for love and brotherhood, for the establishment of justice and for love in human society. Jesus, the Son of Mary, is the standard-bearer of justice, of love for our fellow human beings, of the fight against tyranny, discrimination and injustice. All the problems that have bedevilled humanity throughout the ages came about because humanity followed an evil path and disregarded the message of the Prophets.

Now as human society faces a myriad of problems and a succession of complex crises, the root causes can be found in humanity's rejection of that message, in particular the indifference of some governments and powers towards the teachings of the divine Prophets, especially those of Jesus Christ.

 

21st December   

Pigshit...

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Daily Mail stretch out Jonathan Ross nonsense
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Daily Mail logo Jonathan Ross is at the centre of a silly Daily Mail story after giving a television interview in which he made a lewd joke about a pig in remarks to chef Jamie Oliver.

His comments - made a month before the Radio 2 'uproar' over Sachs - were included in an early version of a Channel 4 show Oliver will present on the British pig industry next month.

Earlier this month, staff at agency Off The Kerb, which represents Ross contacted the programme's producers and requested the scene be removed.

A Channel 4 spokesman said: Jamie interviewed Jonathan Ross, who owns pigs himself, as a possible segment for Jamie Saves Our Bacon, which looks at pig welfare. The programme is currently being edited, so we cannot yet confirm exactly what will make the final cut, but it [the interview] is currently not due to be part of the programme.

Tory sound bite nutter, MP Philip Davies, who sits on the Commons Culture Committee, said: Either what Jonathan Ross said during the making of this programme was appropriate or it wasn't. If it was appropriate in September, why are his representatives trying to suppress it now? If it wasn't appropriate in September, why has it taken them so long to do something about it?

 

17th December   

Old People's Church...

BBC running scared of whingers
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Gavin & Stacey DVD James Corden and Mathew Horne revealed the BBC banned songs about Jesus on their new sketch show after the Jonathan Ross- Russell Brand prank row.

The Gavin and Stacey stars said the BBC have clamped down after ‘Sachsgate' and they were told to censor the script for Horne and Corden Have Come.

The pair are working on the comedy show in which young Christian characters were due to sing about Jesus.

But the BBC, keen not to provoke another frenzy of complaints, said the songs must be changed or removed. James said: We've got these characters called the YPC — the Young People's Church — and we had some songs they sing banned by the BBC.

The special will be shown on BBC1 at 10pm on Christmas Eve.

 

17th December   

Potty Mouthed Whinger...

Complainant appeals about a single word in a daytime cookery show
Link Here  full story: Cooking up a Storm...Daytime cooking TV and strong language

Saturday Kitchen book A daytime episode of Saturday Kitchen in which Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli swore while preparing his idea of food hell breached language guidelines, the BBC's Editorial Standards Committee (ESC) found.

Tonioli used the word 'f******' ('fucking'?), while making an oxtail dish, rather than his idea of food heaven.

The show's host James Martin, immediately apologised in the programme, which was broadcast on BBC1 on December 15 last year. Tonioli also apologised, saying: Sorry, sorry it's passion.

A viewer complained to the BBC and later to the BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit (ECU).

The ECU acknowledged the use of strong language was not appropriate and breached standards - and mitigating factors were also outlined such as the show being live and the guest's disappointment at having to eat an oxtail dish. The ECU regarded the complaint as resolved on the grounds that the programme's response to the incident was sufficient.

The complainant did not agree and an appeal was made to the ESC. The ESC upheld the complaint about bad language, saying it was serious and should not have occurred. But it was satisfied that the actions of the programme team meant no further action was needed.

The ESC found that guests had been given a sufficient pre-broadcast warning about conduct and language and that the programme had been prompt to apologise. It noted Martin's comment at the end of the show, in which he said: ...and Bruno, while you are tasting that, you deserve to get hell for your potty mouth. Everybody at home, I can only apologise for the language of my guest. Of course, it's his Italian passion.

 

15th December   

Christmas Nutters...

Fuddy-duddies whinge at Christmas Day Hansel and Gretel opera
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Hansel & Gretel The BBC is planning to show a gory version of Hansel and Gretel on Christmas Day that shows dummies of dead children hanging by ropes.

The Royal Opera House production, which it has described as perfect family fare for everyone at holiday time will be aired at 3pm on BBC2.

Nutters have criticised the BBC's decision to broadcast it at a time when young children will be watching. The Royal Opera House has recommended that children younger than eight should not see the two-hour show, which culminates in a final scene in which the wicked witch is eaten by the captive children.

Margaret Morrissey, of Parents Aloud, said: There are lots of wonderful children's operas that would be delightful on Christmas Day. If we can't keep out such horrible, gruesome scenes I think we have come to a very sad state of affairs.

But knowing the BBC they will show great delight in broadcasting this, and saying that people like me are Mary Whitehouse fuddy-duddies.


Michele Elliott, founder of the Kidscape charity, described the decision to broadcast it at 3pm as absolutely appalling: Children could be really scared or even traumatised by watching this.

A BBC spokesman said it was within editorial guidelines and would be preceded by an advisory warning. She said it was no different from the darker elements in Roald Dahl or Harry Potter. This is on BBC2 not CBBC. It's a perfect family treat. I think modern audiences will see that it isn't a realistic drama, it's a stage production.

A spokesman for the Royal Opera House said: There is only one particular scene that's a bit gory, that shows dummies of dead children hanging in the fridge. Very shortly afterwards they all come alive and sing and dance and eat the witch.

She said it was recommending children younger than eight did not watch the live performance, but mainly because it was three hours of German opera.

 

14th December   

Update: Swearing Off Jamie Oliver...

Channel 4 to take the kitchen cleaver to strong language
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Ministry of Food book The celebrity chef, who is noted for his frequent use of strong language on air, will face more stringent editing before his shows are broadcast.

Zoë Collins, the head of Fresh One Productions, the company owned by Oliver that produces all of his programmes, said that she would be much more mindful of the level of swearing in future, and gave a strong indication that the use of expletives would be reduced.

Collins, who is also an executive producer on Jamie's Ministry of Food , said that she could no longer ignore public opinion on the issue.

Collins also said that rescheduling programmes featuring bad language to a later slot of 10pm could be a possibility: We would possibly not be adverse to that and to having those conversations with Channel 4, but that is more a decision for the broadcaster .

I know that Jamie does not use that language to shock and get more viewers – the reality is he does use fruity language to express strong emotions. But it is us as programme makers and the broadcasters who need to be more careful about that in the future.

Her comments appear to contradict those made last month by Julian Bellamy, the head of Channel 4 programming, who insisted he would not reduce the amount of swearing in Oliver's programmes: We are not reining him back. I think we get the balance right with Jamie. Audiences know what to expect from Channel 4. They want us to push boundaries, challenge orthodoxies, take risks and support new talent even if that means our programmes are not to everyone's taste.

 

11th December   

Update: Political Suicide...

Gordon Brown tells MPs that Ofcom will decide about Right to Die? programme
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Right to Die? Prime Minister Gordon Brown has told MPs that the broadcast of the assisted suicide of a terminally ill man would have to be judged by Ofcom.

Speaking in Prime Minister's Questions, Brown said he hoped broadcasters would handle such matters with care but that programme Right to Die? , on Sky Real Lives , would be considered by Ofcom.

I think it is important that these issues are dealt with sensitively and without sensationalism and I hope broadcasters will remember that they have a wider duty to the general public. Of course, it will be a matter from the TV watchdog when the broadcast is shown.

He was responding to Liberal Democrat MP Phil Willis who asked whether the Prime Minister regarded the programme as being in the public interest or simply distasteful voyeurism.

Brown acknowledged there were different views about assisted dying but stated he was opposed to legislation making it lawful.

He added: I think it is necessary to ensure there is never a case in the country where a sick or elderly person feels under pressure to agree to an assisted death or somehow feels it is the expected thing to do. That is why I have always opposed legislation for assisted death.

Update: No Complaints

13th December 2008. See article from telegraph.co.uk

The documentary featuring the final moments of a man who opted for assisted suicide received 12 complaints.

The Sky Real Lives programme, Right To Die?, was watched by 222,000 people, the channel's highest ever audience.

 

10th December   

Emotional TV...

Death by assisted suicide to be shown on UK TV
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Right to Die? 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.

 

10th December   

Morphed to Shite...

Sub-standard TV print of Terminator 2
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Terminator 2 DVD Terminator 2 is one of the greatest modern day Sci- Fi films. Despite the fact that this film is a sequel, for people like me in their late 20's, this film was our Star wars . It spawned all manner of merchandise, gave Arnie his finest hour, and changed the face of onscreen special FX forever (in fact a lot of ILM's work since hasn't looked nearly as good).

However, all things aside, this film was (unbeknownst to most) ever so slightly REDUCED in certain content for the UK market (really trivial seconds). This was until 1997 when the extended cut was released on VHS (the T-1000 edition), to coincide with the factious Judgement Day of August 29th, since then all DVD releases have featured the extended cut in some way, shape, or form.

However, Last night, ITV 2 showed the original theatrical release, featuring all 17 seconds of the BBFC / VHS missing bits, yet had none of the SPECIAL EDITION footage (the CPU operation, John teaching the T-800 to smile etc).

Thinking it may have been the US Pan and scan TV version, as it had a VERY NTSC (never - the - same - colour), grainy feel to it. Which unlike the superior PAL format we use here in the UK, looks flat out shit when broadcast. Strange.

Comment: Censored for language and violence

11th December 2008. From Gavin

ITV2's print wasn't pan and scan - it was a widescreen broadcast. Also, the US TV version would undoubtedly be censored for language and violence, and this showing had both those factors.

 

4th December   

Updated: Radio Easily Offended...

Radio 1's Chris Moyles winds up a few Poles
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Chris Moyles on Radio 1 The BBC was plunged into another bit of bother after Chris Moyles appeared to suggest Poles make good prostitutes.

It emerged that the DJ told listeners to his Radio 1 show: If you're Polish you're just very good at ironing...in my experience prostitutes make very good cleaners.

Poles living in the UK have now launched a petition demanding an apology for the offensive and nasty comments, which they claim are racist.

Receiving 32 complaints so far, the BBC defended the presenter saying his words had been misinterpreted. A BBC spokesman said: Chris was poking fun at ridiculous and unfair stereotypes, and making a nonsense of generalisations based on nationality. At no point did he say that Polish people were involved in prostitution – he separately joked that prostitutes were good at fixing cars and ironing.

Jan Mokrzycki, president of the Federation of Poles in Great Britain, said: The BBC should really do something about it and make sure the man does not offend large numbers of their listeners.

Update: Apologies

6th December 2008. See article from marieclaire.co.uk

Moyles subsequently issued a statement in the wake of the remarks, attempting to placate those angered by his asides.

I didn't mean to link Polish people and prostitution in the way that has been suggested, but of course I realise that some people have taken it that way and to those people I'm sorry for the unintentional offence, said Moyles .

 

3rd December   

Over Exaggerated and Easily Offended...

Quip during trafficking debate doesn't go down well
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Nolan Show logo BBC presenter Stephen Nolan issued a live on-air apology yesterday after asking whether the victims of human sex trafficking enjoyed their work.

The TV and radio star caused supposed outrage for his remarks made during an interview with a spokesperson from human rights group Amnesty International about the international sex trade in young girls and women.

Amnesty's Fiona Smith had been explaining to the presenter how human trafficking was big business throughout Northern Ireland and the UK in general.

However, she was taken aback when the presenter, speaking on his BBC Radio Ulster Nolan show, asked her:

Would you not say that these girls enjoy the sex? She told him that the victims of human trafficking had to endure being raped multiple times a day because they had not consented to sex and were being used as slaves.

She was speaking following a police operation in Belfast last week in which two victims of human sex trafficking were rescued.

Nolan later apologised for his remarks as it emerged that listeners had complained to the BBC about his comments.

He said: I got confused earlier in the show when I asked if these women ever enjoy their job and if they enjoy the sex. Of course they don't enjoy if if it is forced upon them and I just want to say sorry.

 

2nd December   

Jack Flap...

Captain Jack exposes himself on the radio
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Torchwood actor John Barrowman exposed himself during a live radio/webcam broadcast at 8.15pm on Sunday.

Although the programme was on Radio 1, pictures were also relayed to online listeners via a webcam.

And while Barrowman's genitalia were not actually shown, the crude comments which accompanied the incident made it clear what had happened.

The actor, who plays Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and its spin-off Torchwood , was appearing on The Switch , presented by Nick Grimshaw and Annie Mac.

He was wearing a helmet after being pushed around the studio in a wheelbarrow. Grimshaw said: You're famous, we're told, for getting your willy out in interviews. Is this going to happen today? Should Annie be careful?

Barrowman asked: Is the webcam on? When told it was, he declared: All right, I'll get it out for you then, no problem. The webcam had been swiftly covered up but listeners heard Annie Mac screaming: Oh my God! as the other two were heard laughing.

Barrowman was heard seconds later saying: I didn't take the whole thing out, but I got my fruit and nuts out. He also exclaimed: I can't believe I've just done that.

A BBC spokesman yesterday admitted that the show had overstepped the mark , adding: We acknowledge this and apologised at the end of the live programme. Barrowman issued his own apology for any offence his behaviour had caused and promised it would never happen again.

 

2nd December   

Flapping Around...

TV Football shows naked player in the changing room
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Histon FC ITV has apologised to viewers after a Histon footballer was shown naked during FA cup coverage. Cameras were allowed inside the football team's dressing room following their victory over Leeds United in the second round.

During the third round draw a camera shot of the changing room revealed one man nude, reports The Sun.

I couldn't believe it, said one viewer. When Histon's name was pulled out of the hat they went live to see the players' reaction to the third round draw. One was stood there with absolutely nothing on - it was hilarious. Not at all what you expect to see on telly on a Sunday afternoon.

The broadcaster also said sorry after strong language from fans was overheard during the match. We apologise to viewers for this incident which was out of our control, said a spokesperson.

 

30th November   

Update: Strong Views...

Five News commissions opinion poll on strong language on TV
Link Here

Five News logo A majority of people think there is too much swearing on television, a Five News survey has found.

Five News' survey, carried out by YouGov in the wake of the Sachsgate row, found that 57% of respondents agreed that there was too much swearing on TV, with 31% strongly agreeing.

Reactions differed according to gender, age and the regions people came from, with 63% of women agreeing there was too much swearing, compared with 51% of men.

However, only 24% of 18 to 24-year-olds agreed, compared with 83% of over-55s – with 56% of them strongly agreeing.

The survey questioned more than 2,000 adults across the UK between Monday and Wednesday this week.

 

28th November   

Update: BBC Swears by less Swearing...

Pandering to the easily offended
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BBC logo The BBC is to allow less swearing on its television channels next year, the corporation's head of television said yesterday.

Jana Bennett, director of BBC Vision, said that the corporation did not want to alienate its viewers and had taken the decision to push back the number of expletives.

Bennett, to whom the controller of each BBC television channel reports, told the Manchester Media Festival that the presenter had agreed to reduce swearing in his television show after that incident.

She said: There was a mutual thing to push back on the language. We didn't want to get into a situation where we were pushing away part of the audience of the show.

She said that she had to approve personally every use of 'cunt' on BBC television, adding: That was one of the surprising aspects of the job when I got it. 'fuck' and 'motherfucker', which are considered the next most offensive words, were referred to channel controllers to clear.

Bennett said that anybody who tried to count swearwords on the BBC would see that they had become less frequent even since the early autumn: We've actually been pushing back a bit on language. It is possible that some language alienates some audiences unnecessarily. There will be less F-ing but the blinding seems to be OK.

Bennett said that there would be greater discussion about the appropriateness of swearing on the BBC, and pointed to the example of a documentary following soldiers in Afghanistan. That was more likely to justify inclusion of profanities that might offend in different contexts, she said.

She added: There's higher sensitivity about making sure there's more discussion about slots, type of channel and genre. I think the idea that you can alienate audiences is – even if people don't ring up – we don't want people to be put off, even if they're silent.

 

27th November   

Update: Swearing at the Bosses...

BBC outlines high level permission for strong language
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BBC logo BBC producers have been warned that swear words used across the corporation's output must be approved by the controller of each station or channel.

The sign-off policy has come in as the corporation is overhauling its compliance procedures in the wake of the Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand phone prank row last month.

The BBC's top brass have informed its senior managers that the broadcaster cannot afford to invite further criticism over swearing.

A group headed by the BBC creative director Alan Yentob, director of archive content Roly Keating and the chief adviser for editorial policy Claire Powell is examining where the appropriate boundaries of taste and generally accepted standards should lie across all BBC output, ahead of a report to come out in the spring.

But until formal changes are made to its procedures next year, controllers of all BBC stations and channels are personally vetting each use of the most offensive swear words to ensure it is 'editorially justified'.

One senior TV producer at the BBC told the Standard: The three worst swear words are automatically going right up to the controller, and we have been told that if in doubt with anything else, check with the controller as they are ultimately responsible for what goes out.

On Monday the BBC's Leadership Group - made up of its 150 most senior managers - met and discussed the issue and were told that ensuring editorial standards were met was a high priority.

 

26th November   

Update: Jock Shocked...

Sacked radio presenter Jon Gaunt gets support from Liberty
Link Here  full story: Jon Gaunt and Talksport Nazis...Talksport sack radio presenter over Nazi jibe

Liberty logo Sacked “shock jock” Jon Gaunt today welcomed the support of human rights group Liberty in his legal battle against talkSport radio.

Gaunt is bringing the legal challenge after his contract as a freelance presenter with the station was terminated on 19 November, two weeks after he called a Redbridge Council representative a 'Nazi', a 'Health Nazi' and an 'ignorant pig' during an on-air discussion about the Council's ban on placing vulnerable children with foster parents who smoke. Gaunt admits his emotions ran high during the interview because as a child he spent two months in care following the sudden death of his mother.

In a letter sent to talkSport radio on behalf of Gaunt, Liberty Director Shami Chakrabarti said:

…As someone who has been on the receiving end of Jon Gaunt's blunt polemic in print and on the radio, I believe that the airwaves of a great democracy would be the poorer for his absence. I urge you to reinstate Mr Gaunt's programme without delay and have offered him support in the unlikely and unfortunate event that recourse to the Human Rights Act proves necessary.

 

25th November   

Baby Whingers...

Little minds whinge at Little Britain USA
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Little Britain USA 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.'

 

22nd November   

Update: A Deplorable Intrusion...

BBC Trust have their say about the Russell Brand Show
Link Here  full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

BBC Trust Calls made by the BBC presenters Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand to the actor Andrew Sachs were a deplorable intrusion with no editorial justification , the BBC Trust ruled yesterday.

Ross will keep his job and escape further punishment over the affair after the trust chairman, Sir Michael Lyons, said he supported the presenter's 12-week suspension. Ross will therefore return to the BBC in January, when his suspension is complete.

Details also emerged yesterday of the approval granted to the contentious recording by the Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas, who resigned from her £280,000 position over the affair.

Ms Douglas who sent a one-word email from her BlackBerry, Yes, in answer to a question about whether the show should be broadcast, did so despite not having heard it. She did so on the recommendation by email of Dave Barber, Radio 2's head of compliance, who described it as very funny.

In its report, the trust criticised a further incident, when Ross, on his Friday night BBC1 show, told the actress Gwyneth Paltrow he would fuck her. The trust called the remark gratuitous and unnecessarily offensive .

Radio 2 broadcast an apology for the 18 October broadcast on 9 November. But a previous apology on Radio 2 by Brand, on 25 October, was condemned by the BBC trustee Richard Tait as unacceptable and exacerbated the intrusion into privacy and the offence . Tait noted three failures – failure to exercise editorial control, to follow established compliance systems, and failure of judgement in editorial decisions. He added that the trust was nevertheless satisfied with the BBC's response to the controversy.

This is the transcript of the pivotal email exchange between Dave Barber, the head of compliance at Radio 2, and Lesley Douglas, the Radio 2 controller, about Brand's programme on 18 October.

On 16 October, Barber wrote to Douglas:

Russell is pre-recorded this week with Jonathan Ross as his co-host. Jonathan uses the F-word 52mins into the first hour in a sequence about Russell 'fucking' Andrew Sachs's granddaughter. They are speaking into Andrew Sachs's answer machine at the time, and it's very funny – there then follow more calls to the answer phone in the second hour, again v funny. Having discussed it with the producer and listened to the sequence, I think we should keep in and put a 'strong language' warning at the top of the hour. I think it is editorially justified in this context and certainly within audience expectations for Russell's show and the slot. Certainly preferable to bleeping, which would make it obvious anyway (and we don't bleep now for this reason). Jonathan also apologises and Russell's shocked reaction is hilarious. Andrew Sachs is aware and is happy with the results, which were recorded his end for him to hear. Are you happy with this as a plan of action?

On 17 October Douglas responded to Barber: Yes.

 

22nd November   

Nutter Complaints...

Ofcom consider complaints about How Mad Are You?
Link Here

How Mad are You? Viewer complaints have led the TV censor Ofcom to launch a probe into a reality television programme about mental health.

But a leading charity has offered strong support to the two-part BBC2 Horizon show, entitled How Mad Are You? , which concluded on Tuesday.

The programme featured 10 volunteers, half of whom had histories of psychiatric conditions such as anorexia and bipolar disorder, taking part in a series of challenges set in and around Hever castle including performing a stand-up comedy routine and mucking out cows.

A panel of mental health experts were then given the task of identifying which of the volunteers had been diagnosed with the conditions.

Spokesman for Ofcom Ed Taylor confirmed the watchdog was following up complaints from viewers following the first showing.

The programme has drawn some criticism for its title and the reality show format it uses to explore the subject of psychiatric illness.

However a representative from mental health charity Mind was quick to point out that the programme exposed some of the stereotypes and preconceived ideas surrounding the issue of mental health. Spokesman for the charity Alison Kerry said: Once you got beyond the arguably inflammatory title to the programme and its reality TV style we found it to be an excellent show which encourages viewers to re-examine their preconceptions about mental health. It was also very interesting as it showed how difficult it can be to diagnose mental health problems as well as examining the consequences of giving people a label.

BBC spokesman Lauren Gildersleve said the show, which was watched by 1.8 million viewers in the first week, attempted to appeal to a wide audience which would not usually watch a science documentary about mental health. She added that the programme had been well received by those involved: We have had a positive response from the volunteers, expert panel and charities who have seen the film.

 

22nd November   

Silly F*ckers...

Sky EPG censors the title of Channel 4's The Devil's Whore
Link Here

The Devil's Whore banner Channel 4 series The Devil's Whore has been censored on Sky's Electronic Programme Guide.

Those that tuned in to the programme found the EPG listing it as Devil's Wh**e but Sky has explained to What Satellite and Digital TV that Channel 4 were aware that the word would be starred out.

A Sky spokesman said: Prior to broadcast last night, Channel 4 had agreed to edit their listing based on feedback from Sky. Since broadcast Channel 4 has made the request to revert back to the show's unedited title, which Sky has accepted.

 

21st November   

Update: Show Over...

BBC to draw a line under the Russell Brand Show fallout
Link Here  full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

Ross effigy 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.

 

21st November   

Comment: Bollox Whinging...

Kangaroo testicles are the dog's bollocks of bushtucker
Link Here

I'm a Celebrity titles Easily offended viewers have whinged about an exchange between Ant and Dec on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! .

The duo offended nutters by repeatedly using the word 'bollocks', triggered by the Bushtucker Trial in which Nicola McLean was shown eating a kangaroo testicle.

TV censor Ofcom confirmed: We have received complaints about the programme broadcast on Monday. These are being assessed against out Broadcasting Code.

The offensive sequence came when Ant described the Bushtucker Trial as the dog's bollocks. Dec chipped in to joke: No, it's the kangaroo's bollocks! Ant then repeated the word by adding: and the crocodile's bollocks and his penis as well.

With the pair's exchange coming just 28 minutes after the 9pm watershed, it's likely to anger ITV's executive chairman Michael Grade, who recently called for swearing on TV to editorially justified and in context.

But Ant and Dec's immediate boss, ITV director of channels Peter Fincham, defended them saying: I was watching it and I was not offended. With these things, it is about context and context is everything. I that that was in context.

Comment: For Connoisseurs of Hypocrisy

From Alan

Connoisseurs of hypocrisy might like to have a look at the Daily Mirror. Yesterday, it ran a why-oh-why in its campaign against swearing about the use of the word 'bollocks' (or, as it preferred 'b******s'). Twenty-four hours earlier, it had run a story in which it had referred to the same body parts of the same wild animals as 'balls', and that in a headline!

In any case, what's this nonsense about swearing ? If I shout Bollocks! in reaction to nonsense, I am swearing. If I refer to a kangaroo's bollocks, I'm not swearing, but using a noun in its literal sense. Likewise, if I refer to David Blunkett as an authoritarian bastard, I am swearing, but if I use the same word to refer to the child he sired on Kimberly Fortier, I am using the word in its literal sense. If Russell Brand says he has fucked Andrew Sachs's granddaughter, he is being rude and ungallant - and possibly defamatory if he is not telling the truth - but he is not swearing.

 

20th November   

Bollox Whinging...

Kangaroo testicles are the dog's bollocks of bushtucker
Link Here

I'm a Celebrity titles Easily offended viewers have whinged about an exchange between Ant and Dec on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! .

The duo offended nutters by repeatedly using the word 'bollocks', triggered by the Bushtucker Trial in which Nicola McLean was shown eating a kangaroo testicle.

TV censor Ofcom confirmed: We have received complaints about the programme broadcast on Monday. These are being assessed against out Broadcasting Code.

The offensive sequence came when Ant described the Bushtucker Trial as the dog's bollocks. Dec chipped in to joke: No, it's the kangaroo's bollocks! Ant then repeated the word by adding: and the crocodile's bollocks and his penis as well.

With the pair's exchange coming just 28 minutes after the 9pm watershed, it's likely to anger ITV's executive chairman Michael Grade, who recently called for swearing on TV to editorially justified and in context.

But Ant and Dec's immediate boss, ITV director of channels Peter Fincham, defended them saying: I was watching it and I was not offended. With these things, it is about context and context is everything. I that that was in context.

 

19th November   

Update: Talksport Nazis...

Radio presenter Jon Gaunt sacked over Nazi jibe
Link Here  full story: Jon Gaunt and Talksport Nazis...Talksport sack radio presenter over Nazi jibe

Jon Gaunt Sacked radio presenter Jon Gaunt could sue TalkSport after getting the boot for calling Redbridge councillor Michael Stark a Nazi.

Gaunt was suspended after an on-air row with the cabinet member for children's services over the council's policy to ban smokers becoming foster parents.

He told the Recorder today: If I have to lose my job and go through a legal battle to be able to stand up for children in care, so be it. I have been there. I know the emotional trauma they are going through. It happened to me when I was in care.

The host apologised on air for calling Cllr Stark a Nazi and later a health Nazi and an ignorant pig.

He was dismissed and admits he is bemused by the decision. He said: I am particularly disappointed by their decision when I apologised for the incident to both the audience and the councillor.

Hundreds of fans have contacted Mr Gaunt in support of his reinstatement and his stance over the policy.

 

19th November   

Turning Wit into Whine...

Christian Voice pull outrage out of the hat
Link Here  full story: Rowan Atkinson...Whingers complain about sermon satire

Rowan Atkinson as vicar The Prince of Wales' 60th birthday show on ITV provided yet another opportunity for Stephen Green of Christian Voice, to indulge in a display of offended piety.

This time it was Rowan Atkinson's skit on Jesus' miracles in the Gospel of St John. This is from a circular sent out by Green:

Rowan Atkinson mocks Christ at Prince's Birthday Show

Rowan Atkinson mocked the Bible, Jesus Christ, His miracle at Cana and His crucifixion on the Prince of Wales' 60th birthday show at 8.35pm on Saturday 15th November 2008 which was broadcast on ITV as ‘We are most amused'.

Atkinson came on dressed as a vicar and began to read from John Chapter 2. After half a verse he began to blaspheme the word of God and mock the Lord and His miracles as conjuring tricks.

Since the presentation did not change, it would not have been clear to someone unfamiliar with the scriptures what was from the Bible and what was not. Atkinson finished up by saying: He did go unto Jerusalem and he did his full act … they absolutely crucified him.

Atkinson has rightly defended political satire and his biography quotes him as saying: The freedom to criticize ideas, any ideas - even if they are sincerely held beliefs - is one of the fundamental freedoms of society.

But his sketch was not political satire, nor did it criticise any idea or belief of Christianity. It was just insulting, mocking, crass and disrespectful. Civilised, decent people do not behave like that. Plainly Atkinson thinks there is not enough disrespect in our society already today.

 

19th November   

Update: Branded as Slow...

Parliamentary committee questions BBC over Russell Brand Show
Link Here  full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

Culture, Media and Sport select committee BBC bosses have been questioned by MPs over the crude phone calls made by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross to actor Andrew Sachs.

BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons denied the corporation had been slow in its response to the incident, but admitted lessons could be learned.

The BBC's director general, Mark Thompson, admitted a very serious editorial lapse had occurred.

The pair were speaking at a Culture, Media and Sport Committee hearing.

Conservative MP Nigel Evans criticised the BBC's lamentable slowness in handling the crisis, but Sir Michael replied: There was no lack of speed. I don't think we could've got an apology out any earlier . He added there was a case that the BBC's head of audio, Tim Davie, should have been on the airwaves to make a public statement a little earlier.

MPs also criticised Lyons and Thompson for failing to fire Ross and Brand for gross misconduct.

The primary failing is not the antics of performers, it's the fact it was allowed to go out, Lyons replied: Until we have finished our investigations, I would be careful about terms like gross misconduct which have contractual implication .

He added one of the things the trust was exploring was whether it is right to leave a young producer implanted in a company that is owned by one of the performers, a reference to the BBC producer who was drafted in to work for Brand's production company while the star's regular producer was away.

Thompson added that the corporation would be looking at whether additional safeguards were needed to ensure compliance procedures were being fulfilled in programmes made by independent production companies where the artist has an economic involvement.

Lyons told MPs the trust had not finished its inquiry and that all decisions would follow from that, with nothing being ruled in or out.

Thompson is due to report back to the trust later this week on BBC management's findings over the furore. The trust will announce the results of their investigation on Friday, 21 November.

 

17th November   

Culture of Easy Offence...

'window licker' comment led to being suspended from radio show
Link Here

Southern Counties Live Match logo Two presenters from BBC Southern Counties who were suspended for using the phrase 'Window Licker' on air have been re-instated.

Ian Hart and commentator Andrew Hawes are both back in position, with Andrew returning shortly after the incident on October 7th, and Ian making a come back over the weekend.

Just two people are believed to have complained about the remark, which is commonly known as a derogatory term for a mentally disabled person.

Since the incident, which took place during a phone-in show, the club and fans have been campaigning for the return of the duo. A message board broke the news of Ian Hart's return, and gained comments such as: Stop the clocks and lock the doors, thank heavens common sense has finally prevailed.

 

17th November   

Offsite: Festival of Complaints...

We'd get complaints if we bleeped The Sopranos
Link Here

Channel 4 logo A new type of complaint has recently emerged that is becoming a cultural touchstone in its own right. Where a really complained-about show normally gets a few hundred calls, the hyper-complained-about can get near to 50,000. Many of the shows in the fame/shame list gained the dubious accolade of being the most complained about of their time by getting a positively scrawny number of letters and calls by comparison.

With what now seems a measly 992, Brass Eye was the ITC's second most-complained about programme ever and Queer As Folk managed to get into the top 10 with only 163. By contrast, what we've witnessed with Brand and Ross is a national event, a festival of complaint.

Hyper-complaint scenarios are not a snapshot of an audience's offence at watching a show and then picking up the phone, instead they will build for days or weeks with a running total on Sky News and many come from people who didn't even see the programme.

...Read full article

 

14th November   

When You Can't Call a Nazi a Nazi...

Another victim of easily offended Britain
Link Here  full story: Jon Gaunt and Talksport Nazis...Talksport sack radio presenter over Nazi jibe

Jon Gaunt One of the country's most notoriously outspoken radio presenters has been suspended from his daily show after calling a London Tory councillor a Nazi on air.

Talksport host Jon Gaunt made the comment during his regular phone-in show, sparking listener complaints.

He was interviewing councillor Michael Stark, who was defending Redbridge Council's decision to ban smokers from becoming foster parents.

Gaunt apologised at the end of his show after also calling Stark an ignorant pig during the heated discussion. The radio host is known to have strong feelings about child welfare having spent his childhood in care.

Prior to the show, he wrote of his disgust about the council's decision in his column for The Sun newspaper, saying: The SS - that is social services by the way - think the risk from passive smoking is more dangerous to a child than them being left to rot in a children's home.

 

13th November   

Update: Swearing by Jamie Oliver...

Channel 4 head battles culture of conservatism
Link Here

Ministry of Food book The head of Channel 4 has defended strong language on television, saying he will not allow a culture of conservatism to stop presenters such as Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay from using offensive language.

Julian Bellamy, who is in charge of programming, said it was important that occasional errors of judgement did not usher in a new era of censorship.

Bellamy said he had no intention of reining in presenters such as Oliver, whose most recent Channel 4 show was criticised by MPs for being riddled with swearing.

He said that Channel 4 programmes, which include those fronted by the notoriously foul-mouthed Gordon Ramsay, struck a balance between reflecting how people express themselves and not using bad language gratuitously.

I think we've got the balance right with Jamie, he said: When we watch those shows it's very clear that when Jamie uses fruity language it is a real response to the shock and anger at what he sees. It's spontaneous.

He said that audiences wanted Channel 4 to push boundaries, challenge orthodoxies and take risks even if that meant that some programmes caused offence.

That doesn't mean producers should be given free rein to offend. Far from it, he said at the launch of Channel 4's winter schedule. Challenging material must be editorially justified in the proper context, with procedures in place so we don't cause undue offence. But I believe that if television loses its nerve and never risks offence it will be come a weaker and less relevant medium today.

Selected for Interrogation

Based on article from mirror.co.uk

Culture, Media and Sport select committee MPs are to question BBC chiefs about strong language on the box.

Director general Mark Thompson and the BBC Trust's Sir Michael Lyons will also be quizzed about the Manuelgate scandal involving Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand.

John Whittingdale, chairman of Culture, Media and Sport select committee, said the two men will be asked to account for a lapse in broadcasting standards. He added: The committee also intends to raise with them concerns that have arisen following the Jonathan Ross broadcast.

Watchdog Ofcom said it had no plans to review its guidelines on bad language. A spokesman said the amount of swearing in a programme was an editorial decision.

 

12th November   

Update: A Word that Begins with 'Fuck' and Ends in 'Wit'...

Denis MacShane whinges about strong language on TV
Link Here
Denis MacShane

MacShane : I hear f f f f
on TV, tell me we don't
hear that in France.
Burnham : No they
say b b b b

House of Commons debates
Monday, 10 November 2008
Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Media and Sport
Public Service Broadcasting

Denis MacShane (Rotherham, Labour)

Mr. Speaker, if I used that English vernacular word that begins with f and ends in k, you would chop me off at the knees—if not higher—before I had even got up. Yet all the broadcasters now use it regularly, and it is really offensive. This is not a watershed matter. There are plenty of children watching TV programmes on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights after 9 o'clock. I have watched Jamie Oliver reporting from Rotherham, and I have watched quiz shows, and I hear f, f, f, f. Please tell the BBC and Ofcom that we do not hear that in France, Germany or America, so why, with our great language, does British broadcasting have to be in the linguistic sewer?

Andy Burnham (Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media & Sport; Leigh, Labour)

My right hon. Friend has expressed himself very clearly and trenchantly. The report that I mentioned a moment ago revealed an increase, indeed a spike, of bad language immediately after the watershed, which suggests that it needs to be said that it is not obligatory to use bad language after the watershed.

I believe that my right hon. Friend speaks for many people in the country in saying that while people accept that the language used on television programmes ought to reflect the language used in the country as a whole, there are occasions on which the line has clearly been crossed, and I know that others share the discomfort that he has so eloquently expressed.

 

12th November   

Update: Clarkson Given the Finger...

Whingers quick to fire off complaints about Top Gear
Link Here  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

Top Gear DVD Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has angered a few easily offended nutters by making a rude gesture to a policeman on TV.

He was seen holding up a middle finger twice while talking to a US patrolman. Clarkson was telling him they were not fooling but making a documentary.

Afterwards he clearly thought it was hilarious that he had got away with the gesture by making out he was showing the officer what others had signalled to him.

Media Watch UK said: Clarkson must like the publicity and obviously thinks he's untouchable.

The BBC said nobody had complained but Ofcom confirmed: We received complaints about the Top Gear programme shown on Sunday, November 9. These will be assessed.

 

9th November   

Update: Beyer Bait...

Telegraph survey find majority want to ban 'fuck' on TV
Link Here

Gordan Ramsay's The F Word DVD 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.

Based on article from telegraph.co.uk

John Whittingdale 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."

 

9th November   

Update: The Nature of Offence...

A few nutters whinge at Bill Oddie's dead squirrel comments
Link Here

Autumnwatch The BBC has received 4 complaints after a family show featured close-up shots of an electrocuted squirrel.

Viewers of Autumnwatch , the popular wildlife series, claimed that there was no need to include the footage, which they said had upset their children.

The programme, broadcast at 8pm last Monday, showed images of the corpse of a squirrel that had been electrocuted after gnawing through a live cable connected to presenter Bill Oddie's garden shed.

Oddie and his co-presenter Kate Humble joked about the incident, with Oddie quipping: Better red than dead . . . or grey. Let all squirrels watching be warned, because you can get too cocky.

Echoing the Monty Python dead parrot sketch, Ms Humble said: So, it's not a sleeping squirrel? It's an ex-squirrel.

Mick Read who was watching with his two young children, said: My kids were really upset. Why did they have to show the squirrel? They could just have shown the electric cable where it had been bitten through. I know adults regard squirrels as pests but kids love them. I don't think Bill Oddie should have been joking about it.

A BBC spokeswoman said: As with all natural history programmes, Autumnwatch has a duty to show nature “as it is”, which sometimes includes scenes of death. Addressing these difficult subjects for our family audience in a sensitive way is of utmost importance to us. In this case, we felt the close-up was necessary as it showed the reason for the animal's death, the gnawed electrical wire.

 

8th November   

Update: More Sachs Sacks...

BBC rolling heads and apologies over the Russell Brand Show
Link Here  full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

Radio 2 logo A second BBC Radio 2 executive has resigned over the Sachsgate affair as the corporation prepares to broadcast two apologies.

The resignation of Dave Barber, the station's head of specialist music and compliance, has been confirmed in an internal email from the channel's acting controller Lewis Carnie.

The apologies will be directed to Andrews Sachs along with his granddaughter and the licence fee-payers

The first apology will air just after 10am tomorrow when Jonathan Ross, currently suspended without pay, would normally be broadcasting his radio show on BBC Radio 2.

This will be repeated just after 9pm, when Russell Brand used to be on air with his Saturday night show on the same station.

The BBC will say that the phone call to Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs's answering machine should never have been recorded or broadcast. It will apologise unreservedly to Mr Sachs, Miss Baillie and to our audiences as licence fee payers in the broadcasts.

 

7th November   

Update: Nutter Mole...

Chris Mole MP seeks sacking of Jeremy Clarkson
Link Here  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

Chris Mole MP A nutter Labour MP has urged the BBC to dismiss Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson over a joke he made on the motoring show.

And while TV censor Ofcom has said the remark was not a breach of the broadcasting code, Ipswich MP Chris Mole claimed it was a dismissible offence.

Mole was 'offended' by the possible reference to the murders committed by Steve Wright in Suffolk and has written a strongly-worded letter to the BBC's director general Mark Thompson:

The murders in my constituency in 2006 were horrific and the community has spent a lot of time pulling together to respond constructively to such dreadful events, he wrote.

For Mr Clarkson to make light of murder in any circumstance must be a dismissible offence. To do so with complete disregard for the families of the murdered women should make this a matter on which I would expect you to take immediate action.

 

6th November   

Update: Cleaning up on Hypocrisy...

Daily Express editorialises for a TV clean up...
Link Here  full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

Express mock up The Guardian's Media Monkey column points out a debate in the Daily Express.

After the Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross fiasco, the opinion page asks: Is It Time We Cleaned Up Television?

Yes, according to chief political commentator Patrick O'Flynn. No, according to TV critic Charlie Catchpole.

But no matter, Express owner Richard Desmond has already made up his own mind. Turn to the TV listings on page 50 and we find listings for TelevisionX, owned by one R Desmond.

Plenty to clean up there, Daily Express!

 

5th November   

Update: For Truck's Sake...It's Only a Joke...

Jeremy Clarkson humour for the 21st century
Link Here  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

Born to be Riled book The BBC have said complaints about the Top Gear show in which Jeremy Clarkson joked about murdering prostitutes have risen to more than 500.

The Top Gear presenter made the quip about lorry drivers killing sex workers on Sunday's BBC2 show.

The Iceni Project is  a charity which had helped some of the murdered prostitutes in Ipswich. The group's director, Brian Tobin, said: I just think it was highly distasteful and insensitive.

Speaking for campaigning group All Women Count, Cari Mitchell has said: It was a truly heartless comment.

But others held different views, including Eddie Stobart chief executive Andrew Tinkler, who said the reference was used to comically exaggerate an unfair urban myth about the world of lorry driving. He said: They were just having a laugh. It's the 21st century, let's get our sense of humour in line.

Will Shiers, editor of Truck & Driver magazine, believed most of the UK's drivers who saw the programme loved it. He said: On the whole I thought the show was really entertaining. Yes, a small number of drivers were offended by the murdering prostitute reference, but they really are in the minority. On the whole I thought the show was really entertaining. If anything it succeeded in demonstrating to car drivers just how difficult it is to drive a truck. It's all a bit shockingly sensible.

Based on article from dailymail.co.uk

Ofcom clears Clarkson over jibe that truck drivers murder prostitutes . TV censor Ofcom has said it is not planning to investigate complaints about Jeremy Clarkson's joke.

 

5th November   

Update: Taking the Rap...

Chief Constable decided to complain to Ofcom about Undercover Mosque
Link Here  full story: Undercover Mosque...Police made false accusations re Undercover Mosque

Dispatches: Undercover Mosque The Chief Constable of West Midlands Police was personally responsible for the disastrous decision to complain about Channel 4's Undercover Mosque documentary exposing extremism in a Birmingham mosque, an inquiry has been told.

Paul Scott-Lee, head of the region's force, approved the decision in a conversation with another senior officer, the Home Affairs Select Committee heard.

But nobody has been disciplined for the humiliating incident, which led to the force being sued for libel in the High Court and forced to offer a grovelling apology.

Philip Gormley, Deputy Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, was quizzed in Westminster by MPs conducting an inquiry into the way forces work with the media.

Instead of prosecuting the preachers, West Midlands Police and the Crown Prosecution Service issued a press release accusing programme makers of distorting comments, and reported Channel 4 to TV watchdog Ofcom for heavily editing the words of imams to give them more sinister meaning.

But Ofcom dismissed the complaint, while Channel 4 and documentary-makers Hardcash Productions successfully sued for libel.

Gormley told MPs the Chief Constable, who has announced plans to step down next year after seven years, was responsible for the decision: He was involved in the conversation that came to that determination. The senior investigating officer at the time, in terms of the officer in overall control, was the assistant chief constable. It was at that level.

Conservative MP James Clappison asked him: So the assistant chief constable referred it to the chief constable, and the chief constable agreed? To refer it to Ofcom?

Gormley replied: Yes. Asked whether anyone had been disciplined, he said: No, nobody has been.

 

5th November   

Update: Burned at the Stake...

Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross feature on bonfire night...
Link Here  full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

Ross effigy A fortnight of debate about Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross' phone incident will come to a head this weekend when a 27ft effigy of the pair is burned in a public display.

The town of Edenbridge in Kent is due to unveil this year's 'celebrity Guy' for its annual bonfire night fireworks display on 5 November.

Each year, the town chooses a newsworthy figure to immortalise in the form of a Guy. This year, the figure will be half Brand, half Ross.

The effigy will be unveiled to the press at 9am and burned during the town's Bonfire night celebrations on Saturday.

Meanwhile complaints about the Ross/Brand prank call have continued to roll into the BBC over the last few days, with the figure reaching 42,000.

 

4th November   

Jeremy Clarkson Raises His Game...

Lorry drivers...the new easily offended?
Link Here  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

Born to be Riled book Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has joked that lorry drivers spend their time murdering prostitutes.

His comments were aired on Sunday night, in the midst of the outcry overphone calls made by Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand.

The pre-recorded remarks made by Clarkson were cleared for broadcast by senior BBC executives.

But they have prompted nearly 200 nutter complaints and a furious response from victim support groups and road hauliers. Ofcom, the media regulator, has also received complaints and is considering an investigation.

Clarkson and his co-presenters, James May and Richard Hammond, were taking part in a stunt for the BBC2 show which involved driving lorries around an obstacle course.

Climbing behind the wheel, Clarkson mused: What matters to lorry drivers? Murdering prostitutes? Fuel economy? This is a hard job, and I'm not just saying this to win favour with lorry drivers. It's a hard job - change gear, change gear, change gear, check your mirrors, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder. That's a lot of effort in a day.

The Road Haulage Association, which represents Britain's 9,000 haulage companies, has demanded a public apology from the presenter. Spokeswoman Kate Gibbs said: Road hauliers are having a hard enough time as it is without the kind of ridiculous comments being made. In a week following thousands of similar complaints to the BBC over comments made by Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand, this is in particularly poor taste. It is just another example of celebrities having the licence to say absolutely anything they like.

This is an unacceptable ... slur on the character of lorry drivers and the character of the industry, and it is grossly unfair. It's up to the BBC what action they take against Clarkson but we are certainly demanding an apology over these disgraceful comments.


A spokesman for the United Road Transport Union said it had been inundated with complaints from its 17,000 members: We would absoltuely condenm what he said about murdering prostitutes. It beggars belief that those words can be broadcast on TV. The BBC is an institution that is paid for by the licence fee and they should not be allowing this kind of sick joke.

Clarkson's joke is believed to be a reference to 'Suffolk Strangler' Steve Wright, jailed earlier this year for the murder of five Ipswich prostitutes. The Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, who killed 13 women, was also a lorry driver.

The BBC issued a statement which read: The vast majority of Top Gear viewers have clear expectations of Jeremy Clarkson's long-established and frequently provocative on-screen persona. This particular reference was used to comically exaggerate and make ridiculous an unfair urban myth about the world of lorry driving, and was not intended to cause offence.

 

4th November   

An Old So and So Whinger...

Michael Grade has a go at strong language on late night TV
Link Here

Gordan Ramsay's The F Word DVD The ITV executive chairman, Michael Grade, has called for a clampdown on strong language after the 9pm watershed, saying the use of offensive words was now indiscriminate.

I do think the prevalence of bad language such as the F-word is a little bit unrestrained, Grade told a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch today: I am not calling for it to be banned but I don't think we take enough care over the use of the F-word and similar words.

It used to be that you had to get very senior sign-off to use that word in any show. I am not sure what the rules are these days. Clearly not enough consideration is given to a very large section of the audience who don't want to hear that word or such words.

You have to know where you are using it and give it some extra consideration. It seems to be indiscriminate now.

The ITV executive chairman told journalists today he was trying very hard not to sound like an old so and so, but said it was something he felt strongly about.

He said he agreed with the BBC director general, Mark Thompson ,when he said that the Brand and Ross issue was not a marginal case.

They had strayed beyond what was acceptable. They strayed into territory that was pretty horrible and indefensible in any terms, Grade added.

 

3rd November   

Update: Branded as a Repeat Offender...

Ofcom have previously warned BBC over dodgy phone ins...
Link Here  full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

Russell Brand on Radio 2 TV censor Ofcom warned BBC bosses about lax editorial procedures on Russell Brand's BBC 6 Music show over a year ago, it emerged last night. In a ruling published 15 months ago, it criticised the corporation for failing to follow its own editorial procedures and allowing Brand to broadcast a quiz won by a member of his production team posing as a listener to the digital radio station.

As director-general Mark Thompson today says that the corporation will not overreact to the events of the past week, the revelation that Ofcom highlighted the failure of the BBC's programming rules in July last year will be seized on by critics as evidence that Brand's latest gaffe should have been avoided.

The repeat offence could mean that the BBC will be fined the maximum for its latest misdemeanour.

 

 

1st November   

Update: Ever More Easily Offended...

Today's complaints are about Mock The Week
Link Here  full story: Frankie Boyle...Whinges about Frankie Boyle and Mock the Week

Mock the Week book 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.

 

1st November   

Update: Protest at the Daily Mail Office...

15,000 Facebook users support Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross
Link Here  full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

Facebook logo More than 15,000 people have signed up to a Facebook group supporting Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross, which has a protest planned for tomorrow outside the Daily Mail's London offices.

Fans of the pair are planning a demonstrate outside the Mail's Derry Street HQ in Kensington at noon, followed by one outside BBC offices in the capital.

Called Support Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross, Facebook group has swollen its membership in recent days as Brand resigned from his Radio 2 show and Ross was suspended without pay from all BBC TV and radio services for three months.

The 15,609 supporters who have joined the Facebook group compares with the 34,690 who complained to the BBC about the show following the Mail on Sunday's story on October 26.

Only two people complained after the show was broadcast on October 18.

The Support Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross group is also presenting a petition signed by almost 4,000 people: We, the undersigned call on the BBC to turn blame on the Andrew Sachs incident away from Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross as it was only intended as a joke, the petition states: We also wish that Jonathan Ross's and Russell Brand's careers will continue just as before this started.

 

31st October   

Police Should Be Ostracised...

Ludicrous overreaction to gag on Have I Got News For You
Link Here

Have I Got News For You DVD The police are deciding whether to investigate whether a joke broadcast on last week's Have I Got News For You was homophobic.

However, the BBC said the gag was designed to show up the persecution of homosexuals in Iran.

One viewer complained following the comment, which came amid a discussion over a failed Iranian bid to create to the world's biggest ostrich sandwich.

Host Alexander Armstrong said: On the plus side they do still hold the record for hanging homosexuals.

And guest Skinner joked that homosexuals are often ostracised.

A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police confirmed: A member of the public has made a complaint regarding comments made in the programme. The complaint is currently being reviewed.

But the BBC said: The presenter never intended for this comment to be homophobic - quite the opposite. Viewers are more than familiar with HIGNFY use of satire - in this instance aimed at the Iranian regime and not the Iranian gay community.

Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell said: I interpreted it as an anti-Iran joke, exposing and mocking Iran's murderous homophobic regime. It was parody and satire, I think, not an endorsement of executions.

 

31st October   

Update: I've Also Fucked Your Auntie...

Heads roll at the BBC over Russell Brand prank...
Link Here  full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

Radio 2 logo The BBC has ordered a fundamental review of taste and decency standards across the network in an attempt to end the row about the prank phone calls that has engulfed the corporation.

The controller of Radio 2, Lesley Douglas, one of the most influential figures in the radio and music industries, was forced to resign, while Jonathan Ross, the highest-paid man in British broadcasting, has been suspended for 12 weeks without pay. His Radio 2 presenting colleague Russell Brand resigned on Wednesday.

The BBC Trust ordered an on-air apology to licence fee-payers for serious and deliberate breaches of editorial guidelines, and asked the director general, Mark Thompson, to write a personal apology for the scandal. He declined to comment on the future of more junior staff involved but promised to conduct a review of broadcasting guidelines.

Last night's edition of Never Mind the Buzzcocks was also cancelled as it featured Brand – a subsequent version of the show was broadcast in its place. The BBC said it had no plans to show the program at a later date.

The BBC announced a raft of measures it was taking to prevent something similar happening again, including a review of compliance procedures across radio output, and a study into where the appropriate boundaries of taste and standards should lie across all BBC output. Sessions will be held with senior staff on the lessons to be learnt. The director of BBC audio and music will also ensure that all programmes are re-assessed for editorial risk and those with high risk will have additional... oversight.

 

30th October   

Update: Branded as an Arsehole...

Brand quits and Ross suspended and 27,000 complaints and...
Link Here  full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

Russell Brand on Radio 2 The BBC's director general is to meet the corporation's governing body to discuss lewd phone calls made on comic Russell Brand's Radio 2 show.

Mark Thompson will brief the BBC Trust on a preliminary inquiry into how the calls to Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs came to be broadcast.

Brand has now resigned from Radio 2 and Jonathan Ross has been suspended.

More than 27,000 people have now complained to the BBC about the Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand phone prank.

MediaGuardian.co.uk understands that on the day the Brand and Ross's calls to Sachs' answerphone were recorded, a producer from the BBC rang the former Fawlty Towers actor to ask if he would mind them being used. It is claimed that Sachs said they could be, as long as they were toned down a bit.

The pre-recorded show was then run by a BBC executive, who approved its transmission on Saturday October 18.

Sachs today said he was not surprised Ross and Brand had been suspended by the BBC over their prank calls to him. He also confirmed he was not planning to take the matter up with the police: I'm not going to take it anywhere, I'm not out for revenge.

 

30th October   

Nuts to the TV Censor...

Nuts TV to leave Freeview and spend more time with its online family
Link Here

Nuts nagazine Nuts TV will be replaced on Freeview by news channel CNN International after it was axed from TV to become a broadband-only service.

The channel was launched on Freeview channel 42 in 2007 and on Sky digital in January this year.

It has made relatively little impact and a spokesman said: In an increasingly crowded TV market for this demographic, it's vital that Turner and IPC play to our respective strengths. And for Nuts TV the future is in the fast-growing world of online.

Having already attracted large communities within its social networking sites, it makes sense for Nuts TV to continue in this vein.

 

29th October   

Update: Gordon Brown: 'Unacceptable'...

Britain fucker whinges at granddaughter fucker
Link Here  full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

Gordon Brown weilding scissors Gordon Brown and David Cameron weighed in to the row over a series of offensive telephone calls made by Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand to the veteran actor Andrew Sachs on their Radio 2 show as the media regulator Ofcom launched a major investigation into the incident.

As the number of complaints about the incident topped 10,000, Ofcom announced its inquiry and  Cameron andBrown joined other MPs in condemning the broadcaster's actions.

Brown described the prank calls as inappropriate and unacceptable , while Cameron called on the BBC to be transparent about how the programme came to be broadcast, given that it was pre-recorded.

After receiving a rash of complaints about their comments, Ofcom took the decision to launch an inquiry. In a statement, it said: All UK broadcasters must adhere to Ofcom's Broadcasting Code which sets standards for the content of television and radio broadcasting. It also deals with issues such as fairness and privacy.

Ross and Brand have since issued personal apologies to Sachs, with Ross delivering flowers and a letter to the actor's door. The BBC has also apologised over the matter, and is launching an internal inquiry. Tim Davie, director of audio and music at the BBC, said: We're going to have a full investigation, look at the facts and take the appropriate action. In an interview with the BBC, he admitted the programme was unacceptable and said clear editorial guidelines needed to be followed, but added that apportioning blame prematurely would be the wrong thing to do. Asked if anyone would take the rap, Davie said the most important thing was to conduct a fair, balanced report and then take action.

Cameron said the BBC had some very straightforward questions to answer. The main question is why did they allow this programme to be broadcast, given that it was pre-recorded? he said.

The subject of the prank calls had arisen earlier yesterday during a debate in the House of Commons, in which the Justice minister David Hanson told MPs that the broadcast was not appropriate . Later, the Tory MP Nadine Dorries called on the BBC to sack both broadcasters.

It was also claimed that should Sachs wish to take the matter further, Brand and Ross could possibly be prosecuted on the grounds of harassment.

The Metropolitan Police said it had received complaints about the comments, but would not confirm how many had been made. This will be looked at and a decision taken, but there is no police investigation at this time, a police spokesman said.

Sachs last night appeared to play down the saga. Jonathan Ross has personally delivered a letter of apology and some flowers. He made no excuses and was very frank and open. He's in a lot of trouble and I don't want to pile any more on him. My granddaughter hasn't heard from either Ross or Brand and I do think they owe her an apology.

 

29th October   

Propaganda Street...

Tories want TV soaps to be used for social engineering
Link Here

Coronation Street DVD Popular soaps such as Hollyoaks and Home and Away are failing in their duty to tackle some of the major social problems in society, according to the Conservatives.

Jeremy Hunt, the shadow culture secretary, will say that soap operas such as Hollyoaks should not endorse negative social behaviour such as binge drinking

In a speech on public service broadcasting, Hunt will criticise shows popular among young viewers, saying they are riddled with references to alcohol.

It's not good enough for Channel 4 to say they are doing their bit with a Dispatches programme on alcohol abuse like Drinking Yourself to Death when 18% of the screen time in Hollyoaks was accounted for by alcohol references, he will tell an audience at the London School of Economics. Nor can Five claim to be doing their bit with Diet Doctors Inside Out when the gym instructor in Home and Away is seen with alcohol in 50% of his scenes

He will add: I'm not saying there should be no alcohol references in any soaps. To deliver large audiences, programmes need to reflect the world in which we actually live and not some Truman Show fantasy of what we would like it to be. Nor do we want to fall into the trap of co-opting broadcasters into social engineering.

...BUT... just as it would be wrong in a plural and democratic society to require broadcasters to produce programmes that meet government objectives and promote social behaviour, so it is also wrong for broadcasters to produce programmes that legitimise negative social behaviour.

 

28th October   

Update: Branded as Obscene...

BBC receive 1600 complaints
Link Here  full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

Just going to see Mr Brand dear...
He's been picking on Manuel

The BBC said today it had received 1,587 complaints by 5.30pm about the crude messages left on actor Andrew Sachs' answer phone These were recorded by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross on Brand's Radio 2 programme.

The messages included Ross saying that Brand had "fucked" Sachs' granddaughter and the pair joking that that the former Fawlty Towers actor might kill himself as a result.

Today the BBC apologised to Sachs, who played Manuel in Fawlty Towers , describing the broadcast as unacceptable and offensive.

The BBC also said it would review how this came about, after the pre-recorded segment of Brand's show was cleared for broadcast by a senior editorial figure from within the corporation.

From Monkey's Column in the guardian.co.uk

Voluptua

Voluptua

Fury after obscene call to TV Manuel, the Sun spluttered today as it reported Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross's calls to Andrew Sachs, in which the pair joked about Brand sleeping with the Fawlty Towers star's granddaughter Georgina Baillie.

So enraged, in fact, that it dug out a topless picture from 2005 of Georgina auditioning for Page 3.

Based on article from dailymail.co.uk

The 23-year-old granddaughter of Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs has been revealed as a member of a raunchy burlesque dance group.

Aspiring actress Georgina Baillie, who goes by the stage-name Voluptua was on a European tour with the burlesque dance group - the Satanic Sluts - but cut short the trip following the fracas.

Satanic Sluts is made up of four female goths. They have performed at Glastonbury in the past with routines that boast a theatrical cheerleader massacre, voodoo sacrifice, vampire brutality and much much more.

 

26th October   

Bollox TV Swearing Survey...

Nutters whinge at the few hours of grown up TV available
Link Here

Telegraph logo 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.

 

26th October   

Sachs and Sacks...

Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand 'overstep the mark'
Link Here  full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

Russell Brand on Radio 2 Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand have rattled a few cages over a bawdy phone stunt involving Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs and his family.

The presenters left a series of messages on Sachs's answer phone claiming that Brand had had sex with his granddaughter, Georgina.

Sachs was left upset by the crude calls – which were also broadcast to about two million listeners to Brand's Radio 2 show.

Russell Brand said he slept with the granddaughter of Andrew Sachs during his Radio 2 show. Jonathan Ross, who was co hosting the show joined in the ribald comments.

Sachs's agent said his client had been terribly hurt by the comments and had made a formal complaint to the BBC.

The calls about his granddaughter were made during an episode of Brand's Saturday night Radio 2 programme, co-hosted by Ross to help publicise his new book. Shortly before they contacted Sachs for a pre-arranged telephone interview, Brand said: In a minute we're going to be talking to Andrew Sachs, Manuel actor. The elephant in the room is, what Andrew doesn't know is, I've slept with his granddaughter.

The comedian then rang Sachs. When the veteran actor didn't answer his telephone, Brand left a message during which Ross shouted He fucked your granddaughter!, generating raucous laughter from the studio.

Ross subsequently speculated that Brand had enjoyed Georgina on a swing. The pair then decided to ring Mr Sachs again to apologise. When he repeatedly failed to answer, Ross and Brand left three further messages, making the situation worse.

During one message, Brand said: I wore a condom. In another, which took the form of an impromptu song, Brand sang: I'd like to apologise for the terrible attacks, Andrew Sachs . . . I said some things I didn't of oughta, like I had sex with your granddaughter, though it was consensual . . . it was consensual lovely sex. It was full of respect, I sent her a text, I've asked her to marry me, Andrew Sachs.

Ross could be heard singing quietly to himself: Your granddaughter ...she was bent over the couch...

Brand's show sometimes goes out live, but the offending episode was pre-recorded to fit around Brand and Ross's other commitments. According to the BBC, a senior editorial figure signed off the programme, including its strong language, before it was broadcast.

Tory MP Philip Davies said: I know Jonathan Ross has been handsomely rewarded by the BBC for being rude, inappropriate and as vile as possible, but I would hope that even the BBC would accept he's overstepped the mark this time. In any other walk of life, anyone who did this type of thing would face serious disciplinary proceedings. I hope the BBC will consider what consequences there may be if they don't take him to task for this.

 

25th October   

Update: Maid to Apologise...

Apologies all round for Enfield's Filipina maid gag
Link Here  full story: Harry Enfield...LoadsaComplaints about Harry Enfield

Oi No! Harry Enfield DVD The BBC has apologized to the Philippines for the skit in the comedy show Harry and Paul that was said to have portrayed Filipino women as sex objects.

BBC director general Mark Thompson apologized, in a letter dated Oct. 10, 2008, to Philippine Ambassador to the Court of St. James Edgardo Espiritu, for the offense caused by the episode of Harry and Paul.

The apology came following a letter sent last Oct. 3 by Espiritu to BBC Trust Chairman Sir Michael Lyons expressing the ambassador's dismay.

The episode angered some of the 200,000-strong Filipino community in the United Kingdom and prompted some leaders of the community to put up an online petition where Filipinos could lodge their protest against BBC and the show's producer, Tiger Aspect Productions. The online petition gathered more than 2,000 supporters within three days.

Simultaneous silent vigils were also held on Oct. 17 in front of the BBC office in White City, just outside central London, and Tiger Aspect Productions in Soho in central London.

Tiger Aspect Productions Chief Executive Andrew Zane issued an apology before the members of the Filipino community who joined the Soho vigil: We're sorry to anyone who was in any way offended by the programme. This certainly was not our intention .

 

23rd October   

Offsite: Do You Think there are Too Many Shallow Surveys on TV?...

Taste and decency survey in the Radio Times
Link Here

Radio Times logo Over 4,500 readers of Radio Times responded to a Taste and Decency survey.

1. Do you think there's too much swearing on TV?
Yes 69%
No 31%

2. Do you think there's too much sex on TV?
Yes 52%
No 48%

3. Do you think there's too much nudity on TV?
Yes 40%
No 60%

4. Do you think there's too much violence on TV?
Yes 74%
No 26%

...Read full article

 

19th October   

Cooking Funts...

Whingers rant at Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food
Link Here

Ministry of Food book Jamie Oliver has received complaints from television viewers 'offended' by his repeated use of strong language in his latest programme.

The chef's 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 times.

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.'

 

17th October   

Comment: Do You Want to Live Forever?...

Yes, BBC make less islam jokes than other religions
Link Here

Jerry Springer The Opera BBC boss Mark Thompson nonsensically claimed that because Muslims are a religious minority in Britain and also often from ethnic minorities, their faith should be given different coverage to that of more established groups.

His comments come after the comedian Ben Elton accused the BBC of being scared of making jokes about Islam, while Hindus have claimed it favours Muslims over other religions.

But Thompson, speaking at the annual public theology lecture of the religion think-tank Theos, insisted the state broadcaster would show programmes that criticised Islam if they were of sufficient quality.

The director general, whose corporation faced accusations of blasphemy from Christians after it allowed the transmission of the musical Jerry Springer -The Opera , also said his Christian beliefs guided his judgments and disclosed that he had never watched the Monty Python film Life of Brian which satirises the story of Jesus.

In his speech last night, Thompson claimed there are now more programmes about religion on BBC television and radio than there have been in recent decades, whereas coverage has declined on ITV.

But asked whether it was correct that the BBC let vicar gags pass but not imam gags , as Elton claimed, he admitted it did take a different approach to Islam, which has 1.6million followers in Britain, compared to its approach to the Church of England or the Roman Catholic Church.

Thompson said: My view is that there is a difference between the position of Christianity, which I believe should be central to the BBC's religion coverage and widely respected and followed. What Christian identity feels like it is about to the broad population is a little bit different to people for whom their religion is also associated with an ethnic identity which has not been fully integrated. There's no reason why any religion should be immune from discussion, but I don't want to say that all religions are the same. To be a minority I think puts a slightly different outlook on it.

Earlier this year Thompson had warned of a growing nervousness about discussion about Islam and said no debate about religion should be censored.

Thompson said the broadcast of Jerry Springer - The Opera , which features Jesus as a talk show guest who admits to being a bit gay , had been the most controversial programme he had dealt with during his time at the corporation.

No political issue has so far come near Jerry Springer in terms of anger and emotion. It wasn't politics that put a security guard outside my house, it was a debate about how the BBC handles religion.

However despite the storm over the programme, Thompson, a practising Catholic, said his beliefs do play a part in the editorial judgments he makes and disclosed that he dislikes watching shows about the Bible.

He also dismissed the idea that television is a wellspring or accelerant of immorality in society, and also that the BBC gives too much weight to the secular ideals of science or employs moral relativism when covering contentious issues such as medical ethics.

Thompson defended programmes that have been accused of promoting selfishness or nastiness, such as The Apprentice and The Weakest Link , claiming that viewers know they are only entertainment and do not ape the behaviour shown on them.

Comment: Not a Fully Integrated Theory

17th October 2008. Thanks to Alan

Mark Thompson justifies greater sensitivity to Muslim sensibilities on the ground that:
What Christian identity feels like it is about to the broad population is a little bit different to people for whom their religion is also associated with an ethnic identity which has not been fully integrated.

There's an element of truth in this, but the same has historically been true of Polish and Irish Roman Catholics in the UK. I suspect that the decline in Mass attendance can in part be ascribed to sociological/demographic change as people are now less likely to see being a practising Roman Catholic as part of their identity as a Pole or Irishman/woman.

 

16th October   

Comment: Censorship Zone...

Zone Horror channel cuts Millennium
Link Here

NUTS to Zone Horror for their much self-hyped showing of TV series Millennium has only resulted in them showing very heavily censored versions of every episode so far.

A mass of the more grisly footage has been shorn away, resulting often in scene confusion, shortened dialogue exchanges, sloppy jump cuts and even phrases like Son of a bitch have bitch muted.

AVOID!

For all the positive aspects of the channel, like uncut previously cut by the BBFC showings of certain films and even non-BBFC approved films...their insistence on showing edited for daytime versions of other films in the afternoon and the cutting of other TV series like Tales form the Crypt is annoying and bewildering.

 

13th October   

Beyer Recommends...

Apparitions
Link Here
John Beyer

Beyer Recommends
Apparitions

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.

 

10th October   

Update: Kiss and Make Up...

BBC dismiss complaints about EastEnders gay kiss
Link Here  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

Eastenders More than 150 people who complained after two gay men kissed on BBC soap EastEnders have been told by the corporation that they treat gay and straight relationships in the same way.

Christian Clarke (John Partridge) and his new boyfriend Lee Thompson (Carl Ferguson) kissed on bench in Albert Square's gardens during Tuesday night's episode.

They were spotted by Christian character Dot Cotton (June Brown) who commented: the Lord's not the only one with eyes.

In response to 145 complaints, some about the fact that the kiss had been shown before the watershed, the BBC said: EastEnders aims to reflect real life, and this means including and telling stories about characters from many different backgrounds, faiths, religions and sexualities. We approach our portrayal of homosexual relationships in the same way as we do heterosexual relationships. In this instance, Christian is enjoying the first flush of romance and we've shown him being affectionate with his new boyfriend in the same way any couple would. We also aim to ensure that depictions of affection or sexuality between couples are suitable for pre-watershed viewing. We believe that the general tone and content of EastEnders is now widely recognised, meaning that parents can make an informed decision as to whether they want their children to watch.

 

8th October   

Update: Maid Disservice...

Philippines embassy whinges about Harry Enfield
Link Here  full story: Harry Enfield...LoadsaComplaints about Harry Enfield
 
 

Oi No! Harry Enfield DVD Harry Comedian Harry Enfield's BBC show has been labelled disgraceful and distasteful by whingers of the Philippine community in the UK.

A petition has been launched condemning the Harry And Paul show for a sketch in which one man urged another to "mount" a Filipina maid.

The Philippine embassy in London has written to the BBC and the Press Complaints Commission about the scene.

A spokesman for the show said it was in no way meant to cause offence. Harry and Paul is a post-watershed comedy sketch series and as such tackles many situations in a comedic way. Set in this context, the sketch in question is so far beyond the realms of reality as to be absurd - and in no way is intended to demean or upset any viewer.

The scene, first broadcast on 26 September, was part of a running joke in which a family from the south of England treats a northern man like a pet dog: Our chums up the road wanted to see if they could mate their Filipino maid with our northerner, said Enfield's character as the maid danced provocatively in his garden. After the performance failed to have the desired effect, Enfield shouted: Come on, Clyde, mount her.

In the Philippines, foreign secretary Alberto Romulo, summoned British ambassador Peter Beckingham to discuss the broadcast.

The British Embassy in Manila later issued a statement saying the BBC had editorial independence and the views expressed and portrayed by the network were completely independent from the government.

A petition organised by the Philippine Foundation called for the "re-education" of the BBC. It said: This particular sketch is completely disgraceful, distasteful and a great example of gutter humour. It accused the BBC and the show of inciting stereotyped racial discrimination, vulgarity and violation of the maid's human rights. The sketch was tantamount to racism and [the] worst sexual abuse and exploitation of the hapless young Filipina domestic worker employee.

 

7th October   

Beyer Recommends...

Unbreakable
Link Here
John Beyer

John Beyer tortured by TV
...Recommends Unbreakable

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.'

 

5th October   

Wash Your Mouth Out with Coronation Street Soap...

Are Glasgow Rangers joining the ranks of the easily offended?
Link Here
 
 

Coronation Street DVD Coronation Street chiefs have removed a derogatory reference to Rangers FC from a forthcoming episode following complaints from the team's fans.

ITV's switchboard received calls from dozens of supporters last week after the character Tony Gordon who supports Celtic, voiced his distaste for the Ibrox side.

In a discussion with his fiancée Carla, Gordon insisted: I could no more be interested in Rosie Webster than I could support Glasgow Rangers.

His comments sparked debate on both sides of the Old Firm divide and football forums were flooded with discussions on the matter.

A second reference to Rangers, which had been set to air in Wednesday night's episode, has now been cut ahead of broadcast. The uncensored scene would have seen Gordon claiming that he is allergic to warm beer, the English national anthem and Glasgow Rangers.

An ITV spokeswoman said: Both comments were in keeping with the character of Tony Gordon. But we have to bear in mind that it does seem to have caused some upset, so the decision was made to take the line out.

 

5th October   

Oi No!...

Comedian Harry Enfield banned from fun with religious characters
Link Here  full story: Harry Enfield...LoadsaComplaints about Harry Enfield
 
 

Oi No! Harry Enfield DVD Harry Enfield has revealed that he was banned from performing as a sex-crazed Muslim hoodie and a paedophile Catholic priest in his new BBC comedy show.

Executives at production company Tiger Aspect ordered the 47-year-old comedian to scrap plans for characters Father Paddy and the unnamed Muslim because they might cause trouble, Enfield said. He added: I was told, “Don't even go there.”

 

3rd October   

Update: Snack Attack...

Whinges about treatment of Ramadan in EastEnders
Link Here  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

Eastenders The BBC has received around 110 complaints over EastEnders' treatment of the Muslim festival of Ramadan.

The September 11 episode of the soap saw Masood Ahmed (Nitin Ganatra) snacking on a chapatti during daylight hours behind his market stall 'Masala Masood'.

When confronted by Jane Beale (Laurie Brett), Masood branded himself a bad person , before going to on explain how difficult he is finding fasting when he's selling food all day.

The BBC has defended the scene, which sparked complaints from viewers, and has issued a statement. It said: We would like to assure viewers it was not our intention to insult Muslim or Islamic values.

Within shows such as EastEnders we try to treat our characters as individuals with their own sets of behaviours and opinions, regardless of their religion, race or sexuality and, as in real life, they do not always strictly follow all the laws, traditions and customs of their religions.


Although Masood is a practising Muslim, he has his own fallibilities as a human being. Our intention was never to focus primarily on the religion, but on the character's ability to meet the standards he aspires to in life.

 

2nd October   

The Birds and Bees in a Bonnet...

Eluding the watershed ban on sex education programmes
Link Here  full story: Sex Education on TV...Wound up by TV sex education for children

Channel 4 logo Channel 4 has unveiled plans to broadcast a sex education series in the morning. KNTV Sex will tackle issues such as contraception, sexually transmitted diseases and masturbation.

The alternative guide to sex education features two animated teenagers from the fictional country of Slabovia, who examine a different topic each week. The 10-part series, a journey of sexual discovery, will combine animated characters with footage of comedy clips taken from TV shows.

Amazing sex facts , a look at the inner workings of the reproductive system and Operation Penis are some of the programme topics. The series will discuss different ways of having sex, contraception, STDs, bisexuality and coming out.

KNTV Sex is aimed at 14 to 19-year-olds and will be broadcast at 11am on weekday mornings.

The broadcaster said content for the series was developed with groups such as The Terence Higgins Trust and The Sex Education Forum.

Channel 4's head of education Janey Walker defended the decision to broadcast when young children could be watching: Between ourselves and the Channel 4 lawyers we have been careful .... We feel that we can defend the fact that it is going out in the morning. It might have a mixed audience but we very much aim to make it acceptable to anyone that happens across it....We are erring on the side of caution.

The broadcaster added that teachers had been crying out for more content on sex education.

 

2nd October   

In the Shit...

Ludicrous over reaction to phrase used in Football Focus
Link Here

Football Focus logo The BBC has been forced to issue a public apology after Newcastle United manager Joe Kinnear swore during a live interview on BBC1 at lunchtime on Saturday's Football Focus .

Speaking about Newcastle owner Mike Ashley on video link from the studio to the club's stadium, St James' Park, Kinnear told presenter Manish Bhasin: He's the one who's cleared the debts; he's the one who's put the money in. He's the one who's got Newcastle out of the shit.

Bhasin immediately interrupted Kinnear to issue an on-air apology.

Whilst we make every effort to avoid broadcasting bad language this unfortunately cannot be avoided during a live interview, said a BBC spokesman: We apologise for any offence caused.

 

18th September   

Update: An Education in Whinging...

The Sex Education Show continues unabashed
Link Here  full story: The Sex Education Show...Channel 4's sex education winds up the whingers

The Sex Education Show Channel 4's The Sex Education Show continues to shock some viewers – with a close-up examination of male and female genitalia before the 9pm watershed.

A spokeswoman for TV censor Ofcom said nearly 20 viewers had already complained about last night's programme, which aired at 8pm.

The show's host Anna Richardson discussed sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the second episode – going with five men as they got tested for them at a clinic - and showing schoolchildren disturbing images of infected private parts, some of which reduced them to tears.

In another scene a doctor pointed out the parts of a vagina to viewers on a real-life naked model.

Update: Whinges

7th October 2008

Channel 4 received 173 complaints about The Sex Education Show.

 

17th September   

Update: EastEnderophiles...

Latest story line gets the complainers writing
Link Here  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

Eastenders The Scenes of a paedophile preying on a teenager in pre-watershed soap EastEnders has led to scores of complaints.

Viewers have hit out at what has been dubbed the most controversial story-line on the show ever, featuring a man's relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

Viewers were introduced to new expendable character Tony, boyfriend of Bianca, who has just been released from prison.

The character of Tony King, will abuse his stepdaughter Whitney Dean in a new EastEnders plot. But his character is shown have a romantic relationship with schoolgirl Whitney, who is the step-daughter of Bianca.

Tony has been shown kissing the girl passionately after sneaking into her bedroom while his girlfriend was in the bath on Friday night's episode.

The programme depicts the girl's character as a willing participant in the romance, something which has also upset some viewers.

There have already been almost 70 complaints to the BBC and Ofcom and the storyline has only just been introduced on the long-running soap.

One said: 'I am totally disturbed by tonight's episode...I can barely talk. The storyline with Whitney & Tony is terrible. I am aware this type of abuse is going on in some homes but is this really the only way to get the message across.

Another added: I too find this quite distasteful for a programme scheduled in the early evening...I watch soaps for enjoyment, not for public service messages.

The BBC said the episodes had been incredibly carefully thought through and that the broadcaster had worked with the NSPCC on the storyline.

Update: More

18th September 2008

The BBC has now received 138 complaints and Ofcom 27 about the storyline.

Update: Even More

19th September 2008

More than 200 complaints have been lodged with the BBC and Ofcom

 

16th September   

Update: All Huffin' and Puffin...

Ofcom clears Gordon Ramsay's puffin hunt
Link Here

Gordan Ramsay's The F Word DVD The F Word
Channel 4, 29 July 2008, 21:00

The F Word is a food and cookery programme presented by the chef Gordon Ramsay. During the broadcast on 29 July 2008 an item was transmitted which showed Gordon Ramsay in Iceland ‘sky fishing' for puffins and then eating them, which included the local tradition of eating the bird's heart when it has been freshly killed.

Ofcom received 42 complaints that the practice of killing puffins was cruel, the eating of their fresh hearts was offensive, and that, whilst not protected, puffins were a species under threat.

Ofcom considered the programme with regard to Rule 2.3 of the Code which requires that in applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context.

Ofcom Decision

In this edition of the programme, Gordon Ramsay visited Iceland where puffins are commonly eaten. He was taught how to hunt puffins in a traditional Icelandic manner using a large net to ‘fish' the birds out of the sky. He caught six puffins in total. After releasing two, his companion swiftly broke the necks of the remaining four puffins and skinned them, taking out the puffins' hearts to eat as a special Icelandic delicacy.

In considering Rule 2.3, Ofcom noted that The F Word has historically contained programme items featuring the rearing, hunting and/or killing of a variety of animals for food. These items have at times included animals which are not usually eaten in the UK and for which there can be a particular affection amongst some members of the audience. Viewers should therefore have been prepared to some extent for an item similar to the one complained of.

Ofcom also noted that the programme began at 21:00, and that a verbal warning about the killing and gutting of birds was broadcast around 21:45 ( Coming up, the puffin hunt continues with scenes of killing and gutting birds ) immediately before the section showing these images.

Ofcom acknowledges that in this country some members of the public may consider that the capture of puffins for human consumption is unacceptable and consequently distressing. However, the sequence featuring Gordon Ramsay occurred in Iceland where it is not a protected species, where it comprises a popular part of the national diet and, as the programme informed viewers, is …a traditional food that has been hunted for centuries… In addition, Ofcom noted that the birds were caught and killed in what appeared to be a fast and humane way with minimal suffering.

Ofcom appreciates the concerns of viewers who were unhappy that puffins should be caught and eaten in this way. It does not, however, consider that this item went beyond the general expectations of the audience for this post-watershed food and cookery programme, which has consistently challenged conventions in the UK about the acceptability of various foods and ingredients from around the world.

Ofcom therefore concluded that Rule 2.3 was not breached.

 

13th September   

Update: The Qur'an Offends Iranian Grand Ayatollah...

Objections to TV correlation of violence with islam
Link Here

Qur'an title For television critics, it was an exemplary piece of programme-making which kicked off a week of coverage of Islam. But Channel 4's The Qur'an has prompted a backlash among the global Shia community and offended one of its most 'liberal' clerics.

The Iranian Grand Ayatollah Saanei has written to the documentary's award-winning British film-maker to berate the portrayal of him and Shia Muslims as a whole. The complaint has also been passed to the media regulator, Ofcom.

In particular, the Grand Ayatollah objects to perceived links between the Shia faith and violence, including scenes which showed Iranians chanting anti-Western slogans, burning effigies and advocating terrorism.

The Grand Ayatollah's representative said: In the said documentary, the director had tried to introduce Shi'ism as a superstitious sect. The way it was narrated, the selection of the words, and the anti-Shia faces interviewed, all indicate that the director had intended to unfairly satisfy their anti-Shia sentiments. Out of more than 200 interviews foreign correspondents and reporters have had with His Eminence during the past several years, this was the only case in which we witnessed the mass media [compromise its] professional integrity.

Muhammad Abdul Bari, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, has written to Channel 4's chief executive, Andy Duncan, upset by specific misrepresentations of Islam: The programme unfairly maligns Muslims following the Shia tradition by accusing them of heresy based on a collection of age-old polemics and misinformation. With respect, this is an irresponsible portrayal which plays into the hands of those who wish to seek discord.

A spokesman for the programme said: In the film is a balanced representation of a broad range of Islamic opinion. The Grand Ayatollah's complete answers to two questions are included. Also the film was meticulously researched and checked by four Islamic advisers.

 

12th September   

Uneven Nonsense...

Channel 4 accused of being more positive to islam than christianity
Link Here

Secrets of the 12 Disciples Channel 4, whose head of religious broadcasting is a Muslim, is said by several Roman Catholic priests to be unfair in its treatment of different faiths.

They claim it recently showed a whole season of broadly positive programmes on Islam while a Da Vinci Code -style documentary on Christianity cast doubt on the validity of the Pope.

In addition, they say the Channel 4 website treats the history and beliefs of Islam more reverently than it does Christianity.

Father Ray Blake, a leading Catholic blogger who is a parish priest in Brighton, said: I don't think it's fair towards Christianity. There seems to be a rather supine attitude to Islam and a trivialising attitude to Catholicism. I find it worrying. Channel 4 has shown quite serious discussions about Islam but nothing that treats Christianity in the same way.

Over the summer, Channel 4 broadcast a week of special programmes on Islam including a feature-length documentary on its holy book, the Qu'ran, and a series of interviews with Muslims around the world talking about their beliefs.

However last week it repeated a controversial documentary first shown at Easter, called The Secrets of the 12 Disciples , which claimed St Peter died in Palestine, not in Rome as the church has always taught.

Another blogging priest, Father Tim Finigan, said the Channel 4 website highlights the torture and persecution carried out by the Roman Catholic church during the Inquisition, which he said is in contrast to its positive description of Muslims: My point in posting all this is not to denigrate Islam but rather to draw attention to the kind of treatment that can be given to religion, and how far it is from the customary treatment given to beliefs and practices that are sacred to Christians.

One commenter on Fr Blake's blog wrote: The Commissioning Editor for religious broadcasting at Channel 4 is Aaqil Ahmed, a Muslim. I have long noticed that the only coverage Christianity gets on Channel 4 is in the form of programmes that seeks to undermine the authority of the Church, our traditions and our scripture.

 

11th September   

Uneducated Whingers...

Complaints that sex education should be post watershed
Link Here  full story: The Sex Education Show...Channel 4's sex education winds up the whingers

The Sex Education Show A Channel 4 programme about sex education that showed men's genitals before the 9pm watershed has sparked complaints from nutters.

The Sex Education Show was billed as a ground-breaking series which tackled the nation's ignorance and offered the biology lesson you never had.

However, viewers complained to the television watchdog that the first episode of the six-part series should not have been broadcast at 8pm.

Among the scenes was a discussion about safe sex in which a doctor uses vegetables to teach a group of young men how to put on a condom correctly. In another segment a doctor examines a man's genitals and explains how it functions during a sex education lesson.

Shouldn't this programme have been shown post-watershed? said one viewer during an online discussion about the show. Another said: Channel 4, we're not shocked any more. Do stop these infantile and puerile programmes on sex and start making decent documentaries. Put it away please, nobody's impressed.

Ofcom said it was looking into the programme after receiving 25 complaints.

Channel 4 defended the series saying it offered viewers important advice aimed at reducing teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. We did get a small number of complaints. The programme was aimed at families and we hope it will form a starting point for a family discussion about the issues raised.

 

7th September   

Update: Stereotypical Whingers...

Big Brother comment blown out of all proportion
Link Here

Big Brother 9 logo Actress Wendy Richard has denied she is a racist after making a comment about Thai housemate Kathreya on Big Brother's Little Brother.

Wendy was in mid-conversation with host George Lamb talking about her opinions on the remaining housemates when she made the remark.

Of Kathreya, she said: She is fake, and she is very cute. What is it they say about these inscrutable Chinese? And she is Thai, but it is all Oriental isn't it? Well it is to me anyway.

This drew some gasps from the audience before George cut in, saying: I don't think that is unique to Asian people, more to Kat.

But Wendy continued to dig her hole, adding: They don't betray their emotions on their face, that is what I meant.

The comments were edited out of the repeat on E4 1 an hour later, and Channel 4 commented: BBLB does go out live, George Lamb did correct her that her comment was not specific to Asian people but to Kat.

However, broadcasting watchdog Ofcom confirmed they had received a large number of complaints about the comments Wendy made, and would be looking into them.

 

5th September   

Intoxicated by Blame...

Now radio programmes blamed for binge drinking
Link Here

Chris Moyles Show poster Radio presenters are encouraging binge drinking with BBC Radio 1's Chris Moyles among those to blame, says a Government funded report.

Researchers analysed comments on BBC and commercial radio shows about drinking and found presenters talked about drinking on air, being hungover at work and wetting themselves while drunk.

There were few references to responsible drinking and being drunk was made to sound 'cool', the report said.

The report, Alcohol and the Media , included an analysis of 1,200 hours of radio shows by a team at the University of the West of England in Bristol and 703 extracts were found to contain references to alcohol.

The study found three-quarters of all the comments made about alcohol encouraged drinking, of which 13% promoted 'excessive drinking'. Only 2% of comments discouraged excessive drinking.

Commercial radio stations were worse offenders than the BBC, with Kerrang! Radio being particularly likely to encourage excessive drinking, the report said.

On the BBC stations, almost half of the alcohol-related comments were either neutral or discouraged excessive drinking, compared to 17% of the comments on commercial radio.

The Chris Moyles show was an exception, with 74 seconds of alcohol references in a three-and-a-half hour show.

 

31st August   

Diary: More Undercover Mosque...

Violent, intolerant prejudice continues to be preached
Link Here  full story: Undercover Mosque...Police made false accusations re Undercover Mosque

Dispatches: Undercover Mosque Dispatches: Undercover Mosque: The Return Channel 4 on September 1 at 8pm.

The follow-up to Undercover Mosque is to be broadcast tomorrow.

It shows that - despite all the promises that the books condoning terrorism would be removed, as would the preachers advocating the rigid enforcement of the narrowest interpretation of sharia law and the overthrow of our liberal democracy - violent, intolerant prejudice continues to be preached, this time by women, in centres of "moderate Islam", such as the Regent's Park Mosque.

In one scene, as hundreds of women and some children come to pray, a preacher calls for adulterers, homosexuals, women who act like men and Muslim converts to other faiths to be killed, saying: Kill him, kill him. You have to kill him, you understand. This is Islam.

In revealing this, Channel 4 has performed an important public service. Surveys of Muslim opinion reveal the scale of the problem: almost a third of Muslim students believe that killing in the name of religion can be justified, and 40% support the introduction of Sharia law for British Muslims.

Channel 4's programme does not explain how we can diminish this kind of narrow bigotry. But it does make it impossible for anyone to deny the continued existence of extremism in some British mosques. That is the critical first step necessary for finding policies which will combat it.

Update: Whinges

7th October 2008

Channel 4 received 156 complaints about Dispatches: Undercover Mosque: The Return .

 

30th August   

Update: Sick of Whingers...

Another episode of EastEnders winds up the complainers
Link Here  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

Eastenders The BBC has defended violent scenes in EastEnders following complaints from viewers.

The episode saw the death of character Jase Dyer, played by Stephen Lord, with one viewer complaining that his wife was "physically sick" while his 13-year-old son was reduced to tears.

While we acknowledge that this was a particularly dramatic episode, we were very careful to make sure that any actual violence was implied rather than explicit, and it was made clear from the outset that Jase's life was in serious jeopardy,
said the BBC on its complaints website.

We do appreciate that some viewers found the images of Jase's dead body uncomfortable; however, in trying to fully convey Jay's loss and depth of emotion, we felt it was necessary for viewers to see what he was seeing.

EastEnders was also criticised by Ofcom for an episode in February featuring a gang attacking the Queen Vic pub, during which one of the characters went into labour.

The corporation published a response today following complaints from viewers that the episode "contained too much violence".

This was the climax of a long-running story involving Jase and his former 'firm', and we believe this was the outcome that many viewers would have been anticipating in the context of this storyline, the BBC said.

While issues of violence and knife crime may be in the news currently, they were not glamorised or glorified in any way within this episode. Rather, we saw the devastating consequences of such actions and the clear message was that crime does not pay.

Update: 130

31st August 2008

Around 130 people are reported to have complained.

 

28th August   

Update: It's Only a Game...

Big Brother tiff winds up the complainers
Link Here

Big Brother 9 logo Channel 4 has received over 1,000 calls from viewers complaining about housemate Darnell Swallow's behaviour to fellow Big Brother female housemate Sara Folino.

Darnell called Sara "a slut" and "an ugly bastard "  and hurled other insults at her.

Chef Rex Newmark also joined in with the verbal insults towards Sara demanding to know how many men she had slept with.

Darnell has made no secret of his feelings for Sara, once admitting he was sexually frustrated and was getting a boner all the time. She appeared at times to be falling for him too and flirted with him, but never allowed it to develop into anything more serious. Darnell's behaviour towards her then started turning ugly after Sara admitted to fanciing Stuart.

Ofcom, the independent TV watchdog, confirmed they had separately received over 900 complaints about the scenes.

Channel Four confirmed both men had been officially warned about their conduct.

 

23rd August   

Ofcom Traffic Wardens...

ITV boss has a a go at Ofcom
Link Here

ITV logo Ofcom, the broadcasting watchdog, has been accused of demanding programmes that are only of interest to niche, marginal and worthy audiences in a stinging rebuke delivered by the head of ITV television.

Peter Fincham, the former controller of BBC1 and one of the most respected figures in British television, mocked the regulator by comparing it to an interfering traffic warden who wanted to get behind the steering wheel. You wouldn't ask your traffic warden to give you advice on what sort of car to buy, still less how to drive it, he said.

In an attack delivered as part of the MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, Fincham said Ofcom's attempts to define the type of shows that constitute public service broadcasting had resulted only in the deathless language of the committee... rinsed of all life and passion.

Michael Grade, the ITV executive chairman, has claimed that the broadcaster is being hamstrung by a nanny state , and that Ofcom and the Government need to understand very, very quickly that we cannot afford to pay more than the licence fee is worth.

ITV currently pays ฃ220m a year for its broadcasting licence and is lobbying hard to reduce its obligations to make certain "public service" shows in genres that deliver small audiences.

 

22nd August   

Lawyers More Easily Offended than the Easily Offended...

Censored: Imam of Dibley is banned from ITV
Link Here

Katy Brand DVD Have you heard the one about the Islamic comedy sketch that ITV ordered its latest star to remove? Katy Brand was the victim of humourless lawyers who instructed her to delete a harmless-sounding spoof called The Iman of Dibley.

It was not intended to be offensive, says the comedian, whose Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show returns on ITV2. A new iman arrives in a sleepy parish and the comedy arrives from the misunderstandings that causes. But the lawyers said it might be culturally insensitive.

It’s no laughing matter, argues Brand: The vast majority of Muslims are able to have a laugh at themselves just like everyone else. Why should they be excluded from comedy? It’s funny that ITV had no problem with a new sketch about a pregnant Jesus’s girlfriend who has to deal with dating the Son of God.

Rowan Atkinson has expressed similar concerns about comedy censorship. But Brand is particularly peeved to lose her Iman of Dibley : I really liked the outfit.

 

22nd August   

Diary: Undercover Mosque: The Return...

Lifting the veil on intolerance
Link Here  full story: Undercover Mosque...Police made false accusations re Undercover Mosque

Dispatches: Undercover Mosque Dispatches: Undercover Mosque: The Return Channel 4 on September 1 at 8pm.

Three months after Dispatches: Undercover Mosque won a police apology and libel damages, Channel 4 has announced it is returning to the subject in Undercover Mosque: The Return .

Earlier this year West Midlands police and the Crown Prosecution Service paid out a six-figure sum to Channel 4 and Undercover Mosque Hardcash, the independent producer responsible for the documentary, after falsely accusing the programme of misleading viewers.

It has now emerged that the same Hardcash production team have revisited the subject to see whether extremist beliefs continue to be promoted in certain key British Muslim institutions.

In the new documentary, a female reporter attends prayer meetings at an important British mosque which claims to be dedicated to moderation and dialogue with other faiths.

According to Channel 4, she secretly films sermons given to the women-only congregation in which female preachers recite extremist and intolerant beliefs.

In one scene, as hundreds of women and some children come to pray, a preacher calls for adulterers, homosexuals, women who act like men and Muslim converts to other faiths to be killed, saying: Kill him, kill him. You have to kill him, you understand. This is Islam.

The undercover reporter also films inside a key Saudi-funded Muslim organisation, which claims to promote tolerance and integration yet distributes literature which promotes intolerance for non-Muslims, an extreme version of sharia law and teachings which support discrimination against women.

In addition, Undercover Mosque: The Return also investigates the role of the Saudi Arabian religious establishment in spreading a hard-line, fundamentalist Islamic ideology in the UK - the very ideology the government claims to be tackling.

 

19th August   

Beyer Addicted to Bollox...

Noel Gallagher, a lively oasis in the land of nutter inspired sterility
Link Here

Gallaghers poster 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.

 

3rd August   

Government Propaganda...

Yet another step towards Orwellian Britain
Link Here  full story: Propaganda TV...Home Office sponsor TV without making this clear

UK Government arms Beat: Life on the Street is a documentary funded by the Government following the lives of PCSO's. The Government-funded propaganda portrayed PCSOs as dedicated, helpful and an effective adjunct to the police

The Government has spent almost ฃ2 million to fund programmes that are all but indistinguishable from regular shows, The Sunday Telegraph has established.

But unlike normal documentaries, the programmes are commissioned by ministers with the purpose of showing their policies or activities in a sympathetic light.

The media watchdog Ofcom has disclosed that it had opened an investigation into one of the programmes, Beat: Life on the Street to see whether it breached its broadcasting code.

Media freedom campaigners, broadcasters and opposition politicians expressed alarm over the Government-funded documentaries.

The Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow said: I find it extraordinary. So the Government is funding commercial television productions highlighting government policy? Presumably they don’t criticise government policy.

The Government has funded at least eight television series or individual programmes in the past five years. Subjects range from an Army expedition to climb Everest to advice for small businessmen on how to improve their company’s fortunes.

However, the show about PCSOs and a newly commissioned programme about Customs and Immigration officers are particularly controversial because they deal with sensitive political issues and policies.

Beat: Life on the Street , which was supported with ฃ800,000 of funding from the Ministry of Propaganda. One Whitehall source admitted of the documentary: It allows the Government to have more air time and get its message across to people. Ministers are so pleased with the way the series, which drew in audiences of three million people on ITV and changed the public’s perception of the officers, that they commissioned a third series, to be broadcast next year.

But The Sunday Telegraph established that the programmes appeared to break Ofcom’s broadcasting code by not making it clear that they were funded by the Ministry of Propaganda.

In a further apparent breach of Ofcom rules, this time on independence, Ministry of Propaganda officials were directly involved in the making of the series. They were allowed to view a second edit of individual programmes and were able to suggest changes to some of the “terminology” and “language” used in the narration.

David Ruffley, the shadow police minister, said: People want the Government to put police on our streets, not propaganda on our television sets.

 

3rd August   

Update: Huffin' and Puffin...

Gordon Ramsay goes puffin hunting to wind up the nutters
Link Here

Gordan Ramsay's The F Word DVD Gordon Ramsay has wound up the nutters with his puffin-hunting scene in a recent  F-Word TV programme.

He travelled to Iceland to engage in some 'sky fishing', involving catching the cute little birds with an oversized butterfly net.

When Ramsay eventually managed to catch a puffin, after three hours, a hunter snapped the bird's neck.

Other scenes included the Michelin chef eating the dead bird's heart -- raw. He also rustled up a barbecued puffin with cucumber salad, describing the taste as a bit like liver.

The UK media watchdog Ofcom is investigating the episode, after several complaints from viewers.

Puffins are protected in the UK and Ireland but in Iceland licences are granted to cull them. Ramsay claimed he had a licence to kill up to 1,000 puffins.

 

28th July   

Holy Wars of Words...

Exemplary piece of programming winds up Shias
Link Here

Qur'an title It was described as an exemplary piece of programme making by an award winning film-maker which launched a week of television coverage of Islam.

But a Channel 4 documentary on the Qur'an has angered a group of leading Shia Muslim scholars, who have criticised it for making seriously inaccurate statements about their branch of the faith.

In a letter to Channel 4, they said that the depiction of Shia beliefs in The Qur'an, broadcast earlier this month, was disappointing, misleading, even defamatory.

The signatories to the letter were also angered by the apparent links made between Shiaism and violence, with scenes of Iranian Shias burning effigies, chanting anti-western slogans, and advocating acts of terror.

In the documentary, film-maker Antony Thomas explored the history of Islam's holy book, examining it for statements on equality, suicide bombings, and relationships with other faiths.

While some critics hailed it as a masterpiece, it angered prominent Shias. The denomination comprises up to 20% of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims.

But criticism of the programme was not confined to the Shia scholars. Muhammad Abdul Bari, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, also wrote to Channel 4's chief executive, Andy Duncan, last Thursday, warning of specific misrepresentations that could damage cohesion between Muslim communities. The programme unfairly maligns Muslims following the Shia tradition by accusing them of heresy based on a collection of age-old polemics and misinformation, Bari's letter said. With respect, this is an irresponsible portrayal which plays into the hands of those who wish to seek discord amongst Muslims, which we hope you did not intend.

 

10th July   

Endemic Moral Deficit...

Radio 4's Thought for the Day comes under fire
Link Here

Today programme logo The BBC has received complaints of alleged racism on the Today programme Thought for the Day, following a claim in the Radio 4 show's long-running spirituality slot that Africans suffered from an endemic moral deficit.

In a Today broadcast on June 30, the journalist and author Clifford Longley said he had spoken with a Nigerian theologian who suggested that "African culture has always lacked a developed sense common humanity , which he said explained Africa's propensity to turn to massacre and genocide.

His words prompted the BBC's Black and Asian Forum to complain to the corporation's director of news, Helen Boaden, and Today editor Ceri Thomas.

In the Thought for the Day broadcast, Longley said: A Nigerian moral theologian I met recently was quite frank about it: African culture has always lacked a developed sense of common humanity, of the solidarity that extends beyond village and family and which entails a commitment to the common good.

This 'us and them' mentality was not just tribal. The moral deficit explained, he said, how African tribal chiefs had felt no moral qualms about capturing slaves from neighbouring districts and selling them to white slave traders; and later, doing land deals with white settlers.

Hence also Africa's propensity to turn to massacre and genocide such as we saw in Rwanda and Congo, and narrowly avoided seeing again very recently in Kenya.


The BBC said it had received nine complaints about the June 30 Thought for the Day broadcast but was unable to comment further at the time of publication.

 

4th July   

Too Much Reality...

Complaints about real shooting on the BBC News
Link Here

BBC News at Ten logo The BBC News at Ten sparked almost 100 complaints after showing footage of a Palestinian man being shot dead after running amok with a bulldozer in Jerusalem.
The construction worker killed three people and injured at least 45 others when he crushed cars and overturned buses on a busy street.

The programme warned viewers: We did film the moment when the attacker was shot dead. Two men were seen to climb on board the bulldozer, before an off-duty soldier in a blue T-shirt shot the driver from close range.

The BBC received 61 complaints, and Ofcom a further 32.

 

3rd July   

Quick to Complain...

BBC reduce time window for complaints
Link Here

The BBC has halved the amount of time viewers have to make a complaint to 30 days.

In an effort to streamline and speed up the corporation's complaints process, the BBC Trust today issued new guidelines.

From August, there will be a new "general complaints procedure" and viewers will be able to ring a new 0370 complaints hotline number, rather than an 0870 one, making it cheaper for them to voice their criticisms.

However, certain types of complaint will still be dealt with separately - including those relating to programming matters; fair trading; the digital switchover help scheme; criticism of the BBC Trust itself; and for the first time, complaints to the BBC Trust about TV licensing.

Currently viewers have 60 working days to make a complaint.

 

28th June   

Dressed to Grill...

Question Time cross dresser attracts the whingers
Link Here

Grayson Perry The BBC has defended its decision to include cross-dressing Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry on the panel of last night's Question Time, with one viewer complaining that the show had descended into a Channel 4-type freak show.

Following around 40 complaints on the Question Time website, the BBC today issued a statement pointing out that the BBC1 current affairs flagship often includes panellists from "diverse backgrounds".

Perry appeared on Question Time in Bexhill, east Sussex, last night in a long powder-blue dress with puffed sleeves, which one viewer claimed made him look like a "pantomime dame".

However, some viewers also supported Perry's Question Time appearance, claiming his choice of outfit reflected politics being a pantomime.

A BBC spokesman said: "Question Time invites a wide range of panellists on the show from diverse backgrounds – including artists: As a respected artist and Turner Prize winner, we felt he offered interesting viewpoints on the topics debated."

 

18th June   

Loose Canon...

Joan Rivers thrilled to be marched off TV programme
Link Here  full story: Loose Women...Complaints about Joan Rivers on TV

Loose Women poster US comedienne Joan Rivers has had an appearance on a daytime TV show cut short after swearing live on air.

The 75-year-old's outburst came when talking about actor Russell Crowe on ITV's Loose Women .

The star claimed she was expecting a time delay so the strong language could be bleeped out.

An ITV spokeswoman said: Guests are always briefed that it is a live daytime show and are reminded not to swear or use inappropriate language. An editorial decision was taken that Joan Rivers should not appear in the final part of the programme. We would like to apologise to Loose Women viewers for the inappropriate language used on today's show.

Rivers, who is currently in the UK promoting her London acting debut in a self-penned autobiographical play, said she had warned the show: Get ready to bleep. She added that it was not her fault that producers did not have the facility to edit out bad language.

During a commercial break, Rivers said producers took her off the set, adding that it was the first time she had been removed in 40 years and she was "thrilled".

 

15th June   

Censorial Squirts...

Has Californication been cut on DVD?
Link Here

Califiornication Any news if the new R2 release of Californication has been cut?

Seems to be a bit missing in episode 10 during the threesome scene.

The actual squirting bit seems to have been trimmed. Its simulated to which makes it a bit silly.

There are no cuts mentioned on the BBFC website so maybe pre-cut to avoid hassle.

ps An episode in the last series of The Sopranos had hardcore sex on a background TV in a sex shop digitally changed for the DVD release too. The scene was shown uncut on Irish TV but blurred when it was on E4. Again it was pre-cut before submission to the BBFC as there are no cuts noted in their database

 

13th June   

Big Bully Brother...

Channel 4 bullied by whingers
Link Here

Big Brother 9 The bullying row on Big Brother 9 has sparked more than 750 complaints since the show started last week.

Channel 4 has been accused of "not learning anything" from the last series of Celebrity Big Brother involving the allegedly bullying between Jade Goody and Shilpa Shetty.

Today, the media watchdog Ofcom said it had received 505 complaints since Alex De Gale began launching a foul-mouthed tirade at her housemates.

Channel 4 has also had around 250 complaints.

Update: More Whinging

18th June 2008

Ofcom has had more than 1,500 complaints about BB9. Alex De-Gale’s bullying is top of the list with 1,542 angry fans contacting the regulator.

 

11th June   

Brundle Bungles...

And speaks of pikey F1 Constructors
Link Here  full story: Pikey on TV...Formula 1 commentator under duress for pikey quip

F1 2008 logo on ITV.com Ofcom is to consider if broadcasting rules were broken when the word "pikey" - a slang term for gypsy - was used in ITV1's sports coverage

Commentator Martin Brundle was interviewing Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone before the Canadian Grand Prix, where part of the track crumbled.

There are some pikeys there at turn 10 putting tarmac down - what do you think of that, he asked Ecclestone.

Ofcom said it had received seven complaints. ITV said sorry to viewers.

A "small number" of people had contacted the network after Sunday's broadcast, an ITV spokesman said: We apologise for any offence .

An Ofcom spokeswoman said the regulator would assess the interview to see if there had been a potential breach of its broadcasting code. If this was felt to be the case, a formal investigation would then begin, she added.

 

8th June   

Helpless Whingers...

Complaints about Radio 4's Book At Bedtime
Link Here

Radio 4 logo The commissioning editor of BBC's Book At Bedtime has defended its choice of books after listeners said they were "inappropriate" and "disturbing".

Caroline Raphael said Barbara Gowdy's book Helpless , about the stalking and abduction of a nine-year-old girl, was extremely well written .

One Radio 4 listener complained the book made them feel physically sick.

Raphael said: Unfortunately, writers do want to write about disturbing things, but we felt that this showed a level of humanity and an attempt to understand the story from everybody's perspective, that we thought listeners would enjoy hearing.

 

30th May   

Lesser Spotted Whinging Tits...

Nutters whinge at Bill Oddie's light hearted commentaries
Link Here

Springwatch logoMillions of viewers tune in every week to BBC's Springwatch , fronted by Bill Oddie. It came as a shock to many when the presenter used rather direct language when narrating sexual congress in the natural world.

Describing a mating scene between two sparrows, Oddie  said: The female is asking for it – and getting it, basically. She is doing that wing-fluttering think like that as if to say: 'I am a baby, feed me'... [and] is getting quite the opposite. He concluded the piece by saying: That's a wing-trembler she's just had there.

An item on beetles reignited the sensitivities of some viewers. Describing the sexual congress taking place in front of viewers' eyes, Oddie abandoned euphemism altogether. He crash-lands on top of a likely looking lady – there's a bit of luck! One thing's for sure: this boy is horny!

Then, as the male fought off a competing suitor for the right to mate, Oddie went into character, adopting the part of the female and saying in a high-pitched voice: Come on big boy, come and get it. Oh, be gentle with me!

A few viewers reacted with predictable outrage. One man complained: I am sick to death of the constant innuendo being offered by Bill every time a scene of mating appears.

It isn't funny or witty... just downright embarrassing when you are watching it with children. For example, being asked by my 10-year-old daughter: 'What does horny mean, daddy?' when watching mating beetles isn't right.


Another viewer said: This is schoolboy sniggering, behind-the-bike-sheds type humour and it's out of place in a programme that is otherwise marvellously educational for all age groups.

The BBC commented that many viewers endorsed the "light-hearted view" of Springwatch and Oddie. The programme is always looking at new, creative and entertaining ways of bringing nature to a wider audience. Storytelling is one of many ways of doing this. No offence was intended.

 

27th May   

Strange Days on ITV4...

Strange Days broadcast uncut
Link Here

Strange Days DVDStrange Days is a 1995 US action film by Kathryn Bigelow

The BBFC provided the following justification for their 15s of cuts to the DVD:

The already reduced rape-murder scene in Strange Days was also found unacceptable on video, where the murder was further reduced to remove sexualised images of forcible breast exposure in a medium which could permit the repeated viewing of such scenes out of context. The scene was designed to convey the dangerous pleasures purveyed by 'snuff movies', but it seemed to the Board to have come perilously close to providing those same pleasures itself.

But now Daniel reports:

From what I could tell, ITV4 recent screening of STRANGE DAYS was uncut, including the 2 seconds removed from the Point of View rape / murder for the 1995 theatrical release, though this needs confirmation.

Hopefully this means that the BBFC would now allow an uncut DVD release.

 

24th May   

Update: Undercover Investigation...

Parliamentary call for investigation into police action against Undercover Mosque
Link Here  full story: Undercover Mosque...Police made false accusations re Undercover Mosque

Dispatches: Undercover MosqueThe National Secular Society invite you to write to your MP and suggest signing Roger Godsiff's Early Day Motion (no. 1586)  which criticises West Midlands Police for its behaviour over the Channel 4 Undercover Mosque programme. The matter is one of immense public importance going to the very heart of the Justice system.

The motion reads:

That this House welcomes the unreserved public apology given by the West Midlands Police and the Crown Prosecution Service and the six figure libel settlement paid by them to Channel 4 over the Dispatches programme broadcast on 15th January 2007 which contained covert filming inside mosques in Birmingham and Derby; notes that the comments and allegations made by West Midlands Police and the Crown Prosecution Service had already been dismissed by the industry regulator, Ofcom; further notes that the individuals shown in the programme broadcast were using highly derogatory and racist language against a variety of non-Muslim groups which included Christians, Jews, homosexuals, lesbians and women and were in clear breach of existing legislation in respect of incitement to religious and racial hatred; calls on the Home Secretary to launch an immediate investigation into why the West Midlands Police and the Crown Prosecution Service chose to attack the programme makers at Channel 4 rather than investigating and prosecuting the individuals who were shown in the programme; and asserts that incitement to religious and racial hatred has no place in British society.

 

22nd May   

Rabbiting On...

Gordon Ramsay not the flavour of the month with animal lovers
Link Here

Gordan Ramsay's The F Word DVDGordon Ramsay has come under fire for showing a rabbit having its neck broken on his Channel 4 show, The F Word.

The chef was shown using ferrets to hunt for the creatures with his son before viewers saw the rabbit being killed.

Animal lovers have attacked the programme for showing footage of the death.

It comes less than a week after Ramsay claimed his eight-year-old son had accidentally pulled off a live rabbit's head during the same expedition.

Those comments and Tuesday night's show - which did not feature the incident involving his son - have provoked 'outrage' at Ramsay's behaviour.

The rabbit that was shown being killed on screen was put to death by one of the men who owned the ferrets. RSPCA officers have received calls from viewers expressing their concern about the episode. But the organisation said no laws had been broken.

A Channel 4 spokesman said: As part of the current series of Gordon Ramsay's F Word, Gordon features in a regular strand in which he sources and cooks new or unusual ingredients.

Within this strand he explored the viability of finding, hunting and eating wild rabbit, historically a widely-consumed food but no longer part of a mainstream diet.

The location of the shoot was private land where rabbits cause extensive damage. In this context Department for the Environment guidelines were being followed and control measures - including ferreting - legal and in place."

 

21st May   

Censorship Today?...

Radio 4 Today online discussions moved to moderated forum
Link Here

Radio 4 logoListeners to BBC Radio 4's Today programme have accused the corporation of censorship after it announced that it would axe the show's online messaging board next month.

In a cost-cutting move, the BBC will encourage listeners to post comments instead on the Have Your Say section of its news website, which has no direct links to any BBC shows, from 2 June.

In a statement posted on the board, the BBC: We've thought long and hard before reaching this decision, but in the end we do not believe that providing two such similar services would be a sensible use of resources,"

A thread started by the board's moderator about the move has attracted almost 200 responses, many of them hostile.

Several point to the BBC's earlier move to stop contributors posting messages on subjects of their choice.

One said it was unwarranted and draconian 'censorship' by the BBC , while another added: The Today board was a means for the public to speak to each other rather than have information forced into their heads by government and the media. Well, that has been kicked to death now.

As with all of Radio 4's boards, the Today board has stressed that it is "for adults". Messages are not pre-moderated and are only checked if a complaint is made about them.

However, the Have Your Site section of bbc.co.uk/news vets messages on several conditions, including language, prejudice, illegality or commercial gain and these strict conditions have moved several Today listeners to complain about the move.

 

19th May   

Arms Off to Channel 4...

Commando shown uncut on Channel 4
Link Here

Commando DVDChannel 4 showed Commando last night and it looks as though it was uncut. I notice from your site that the BBFC have passed it uncut but I don't think it is available to buy on DVD. [the Blu-ray release is said to be uncut though]

Bennett's death was longer and the tool shed fight was complete with second circular saw been thrown and the arm being chopped off.

It good to see TV companies starting to show longer versions and good for channel 4 who always had the balls to show full versions and look like being back to their usual selves!

 

18th May   

Offsite: A state in denial needs reality checks...

So what made the police spout bollox about Undercover Mosque?
Link Here  full story: Undercover Mosque...Police made false accusations re Undercover Mosque

Dispatches: Undercover MosqueThe most charitable interpretation of the reaction of Anil Patani, the Assistant Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, to the Channel 4 documentary Undercover Mosque is that he was in a state of deep denial.

The programme recorded preachers at the Green Lane Mosque in Birmingham making remarks that were not only bigoted and full of hate but also bordered on incitement to murder. Abu Usamah, one of the main preachers, was shown saying: Osama Bin Laden, he'
s better than a thousand Tony Blairs, because he'
s a Muslim
; Allah has created the woman, even if she gets a PhD, deficient. Her intellect is incomplete ; and advocating that homosexuals should be “thrown off” mountains. Mr Patani'
s reaction? To refer the programme makers to the Crown Prosecution Service for inciting racial hatred.

He also referred the programme to Ofcom, the TV regulator, sending out a press release as he did so. Mr Patani'
s press release claimed that those featured in the programme had been misrepresented and that it had undermined community cohesion. Those claims were blatantly false, as the Ofcom investigation itself made crystal clear. But why on earth did Mr Patani make them?

...Read full article

 

17th May   

Living in the Past...

Madonna dreams of an era when nutters didn't give a fuck about strong language
Link Here

Hard Candy by Madonna CDPop star Madonna has caused another upset - by swearing during a live broadcast on the BBC. The star was heard uttering 'fuck' twice during a Saturday airing of Radio 1's Big Weekend.

She performed a number of tracks during her 40 minute set. Madonna introduced her track Hung Up to the Maidstone crowd, saying: You guys are going to have to start fucking it up out there 'cos I need to feel some love. I'm going to do an old song. But not too old. Fuck the present. Let's live in the past. She said.

Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe apologised shortly afterwards.

 

16th May   

Offsite: Time to Say Sorry...

About attempting to prosecute the messenger re Undercover Mosque
Link Here  full story: Undercover Mosque...Police made false accusations re Undercover Mosque

Dispatches: Undercover MosqueBack in August 2007 I wrote a defence of the Undercover Mosque programme and, among many reasonable responses, I came in for the now obligatory charges of Islamophobia, neocon activism and, of course, racism. This kind of thing is standard these days if you state your opposition to the idea that hitting 10-year-old girls is reasonable, that women are lesser beings then men, that killing homosexuals is wrong, that killing apostates is unacceptable, and that all Muslims supposedly hate the kuffar. All of those views were propagated by the preachers who were recorded in Undercover Mosque, a diligent documentary made in difficult circumstances. And yet the West Midlands police not only attempted to prosecute the filmmakers but also, having failed in that absurd endeavour, reported the documentary to Ofcom.

...Read full article

 

15th May   

Update: False Accusations...

Police to cough up for their accusations about Undercover Mosque
Link Here  full story: Undercover Mosque...Police made false accusations re Undercover Mosque

Dispatches: Undercover MosqueThe Crown Prosecution Service and West Midlands Police will apologise in the High Court today for wrongly accusing a Channel 4 film of faking an exposé of Islamic extremism.

The producers of Undercover Mosque , a Dispatches investigation that showed preachers predicting jihad and calling for the murder of non-believers, have also accepted a six-figure libel settlement reported to be £100,000

The programme, screened last January, showed footage gathered at a number of mosques in the West Midlands using hidden cameras. It included one preacher who praised the Taleban for killing British soldiers.

Another, Abu Usamah, a preacher at the Green Lane mosque in Birmingham, was filmed saying: If I were to call homosexuals perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be murdered, that is my freedom of speech isn't it?

However, instead of pursuing a prosecution of the preachers, police and the CPS began an investigation into the producers, accusing them of selective editing and distortion. The film-makers were accused of undermining community relations.

The police took the highly unusual step of referring Dispatches to Ofcom, the media watchdog.

Ofcom threw out the complaint. It found that the programme had accurately represented the material it had gathered and dealt with the subject matter responsibly and in context. It was a legitimate investigation, uncovering matters of important public interest. Each quote was justified by the narrative of the programme and put fully in context.

Hardcash Productions, which made the film, joined Channel 4 in a libel complaint against the police and CPS over the “distortion” claim.

West Midlands Police and CPS will apologise unreservedly for comments that they accept were incorrect and unjustified. They said that there was no evidence that the broadcaster or programme-makers had misled the audience or that the programme was likely to encourage or incite criminal activity”.

Kevin Sutcliffe, deputy head of current affairs at Channel 4, said: This is a total vindication of the programme team.

 

13th May   

Buried under Complaints...

BBC watchdog has a whinge at Eastenders
Link Here  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

Eastenders logoEastenders scenes in which a love-cheat was drugged and buried alive by his wife have been criticised by the BBC's complaints unit.

The corporation's internal watchdog said the storyline involving the characters Max and Tanya Branning caused unintentional upset among a segment of the audience.

The BBC had previously defended the Easter holiday episodes after they prompted more than 150 complaints.

They claimed they had taken "great care" to flag up the nature of the episode before it was broadcast.

Regulator Ofcom is investigating the shows, in which Max was eventually let out, after 118 viewers complained.

 

12th May   

MILF Filth...

Nutters wound up by Jonathan Ross banter
Link Here

Friday Night with Jonathan RossJonathan 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.

Ms Paltrow'
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.

 

12th May   

Breaks Back...

TV showing restores cuts to In the Line of Fire
Link Here

In the Line of FireIn the Line of Fire is a 1993 US film by Wolfgang Petersen (Columbia/TriStar)

Thanks to Martin

I noticed during Friday's late night TV showing (00:50) of the Clint Eastwood film In the Line of Fire on ITV 2 that the previously cut scene of John Malkovich killing the bank teller and her room-mate at their home was uncut. This meant the fairly graphic depiction of 2 neck-breaks, sound effects included.

The film is showing again on ITV 2 on Tuesday 20th May @ 23:05 and Wednesday 21st May @ 21:00.

Hopefully ITV got the nod from the BBFc that these cuts would now be waived

Cuts of 8-10s apply to both 1993 cinema and 1994 video versions. The same cuts spec was implemented slightly differently for different versions.

From IMDb :

  • The UK VHS and DVD versions remove close-ups of the bag over Al's head during the opening sequence.
  • Frank's shooting of the second bad guy on the boat is also cut - but only on widescreen prints - to remove the blood cloud. On the VHS pan and scan version, the blood impact happens off-screen.
  • The assault on the banker's housemate has been cut from the DVD as well, but remains in the VHS video with a toned-down impact sound. Shortly after this, the two neck breaks have been removed completely, despite the BBFC only requesting sound cuts.

 

9th May   

Jesus Camp...

Abridged documentary on TV about summer indoctrination camp for kids
Link Here

Jesus Camp DVDJesus Camp (Channel 4, Tuesday 6 May, 11.05pm).

The documentary Jesus Camp makes for pretty grim viewing. It focuses on the Kids On Fire School of Ministry's Christian summer camp where activities include praying for George W. Bush (with a cardboard cut out present for inspiration), telling young children that abortion is evil and that Harry Potter should be put to death as a warlock. The camp's leader, Becky Fisher, is particularly fond sharing her views on "the truth" and the purpose of the camp...

It's no wonder, with that kind of intense training and discipling, that those young people are ready to kill themselves for the cause of Islam. I wanna see young people who are as committed to the cause of Jesus Christ as the young people are to the cause of Islam. I wanna see them as radically laying down their lives for the Gospel as they are over in Pakistan and Israel and Palestine and all those different places, you know, because we have... excuse me, but we have the truth!

As you can probably tell the film does not paint a very good picture of the camp or the evangelical side of modern Christian and the version screened on Channel 4 will have managed to persuade even more people that this is the only face of evangelical Christianity.

The documentary ran at 60 minutes (including adverts) some 24 shy of it's cinema and DVD runtime. Whilst the shortened version got across the general nature of the film and the shocking nature of the camp's indoctrination sessions it also turned it into a one sided argument. The voice of mainstream Chirstianity was nowhere to be heard. The cinema version features a chap called Mike Papantonio, a lawyer, broadcaster and Methodist who heavily criticises the camp and it's activities.

I'm not a religious man but I know plenty of people who are upset by what they consider to be the one sided representation of their religion perpetrated by a media that focuses on these uber-nutters. I don't agree with this view but it certainly does not help when a broadcaster takes, what I consider to be, a fair documentary and edits the balance out of it.

If you are interested in Jesus Camp and the terrible activities of the American Christian Right then you would be much better served to grab a copy of the DVD or, at least, wait until Channel 4 broadcast the full version.

 

1st May   

Update: Too Late...

Alan Craig loses censorship case against BBC and ITV
Link Here  full story: Party Political Mosque...BBC and ITC censor party political about mosque

BBC logoA Christian party has lost a High Court bid to have its party election broadcast (PEB) repeated, after claims it was censored by the BBC and ITV.

Christian Choice said the BBC forced changes to its description of a Muslim group in a PEB aired in London.

The BBC said it expressed concern and Christian Choice responded by agreeing to change the form of words.

The judge said the request had been left "far too late" - although he did not think the PEB had been libellous.

Alan Craig, the party's candidate for London mayor, had argued the action breached his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights - which guarantees the right to freedom of expression.

Rejecting Craig's request for a judicial review, the judge, Mr Justice Collins, said he should have launched the legal challenge before the broadcast took place on 23 April. He said it was "perfectly permissible" for the BBC to take into account legal advice that the original broadcast might have been libellous - although he did not think it would have been.

But the judge said the BBC had indicated that if a legal challenge had been issued before the broadcast it would have backed down and let them publish as they wished.

Unfortunately that was not done, Mr Justice Collins added. He ordered Mr Craig to pay the BBC's £11,875 in legal costs.

Original version:

You may know about plans by a separatist Islamic group to build Europe'
s biggest mosque next to the Olympics site in West Ham. I think it'
s a bad idea that will bring division and I'
m glad moderate Muslims support my stance in opposing it.

Censored version:

You may know about controversial plans by an Islamic group to build Europe'
s biggest mosque next to the Olympics site in West Ham. I think it'
s a bad idea that will bring division and I'
m glad some Muslims leaders support my stance in opposing it.

 

1st May   

Comment: TV Uncut Goodies...

TV shames scissor happy DVD distributors
Link Here

Die Hard with a Vengeance DVD coverA new trend seems to be upon us. Showing BBFC "UNFRIENDLY" versions on TV. In the past few weeks, several of my favourite films have been shown on TV in their COMPLETE uncut glory. One of them ( Die hard with a vengeance ), at a ridiculously early time (9pm on a saturday!) this film is rated 15 in the UK and is appallingly dubbed, cut, and generally fucked with. However UK gold seemed to think that everyone under 15 was safely tucked up in bed at 9pm. Buena vista on the other hand denied us the full version because they are money grabbing whores (don't think its fair to blame the BBFC, as they would have probably given the film an uncut 18 willingly).

The Tox Box DVD coverSo my ass was chapped on that. Then, Zone horror screens one of the most notorious films of its day, The Toxic avenger , COMPLETELY uncut! I grant you, it was at 3am, but surely children can get hold of a DVD / video 24/7? So why does Zone horror have the right to this, yet I've got to pay EXTORTIONATE postage rates to import my favourite films? Then buy a special DVD / video player to watch them?

Hot Shots double bill DVDThen last night ITV 2 screens the COMPLETE uncut Hot shots part deux ! ANOTHER film (ps, the first ones heavily cut too) I've had to import because of shitty narrow minded cynics, and money grabbing whores.

I don't however blame the BBFC. I know that sounds strange, but its true. All of these films (and countless others), could quite easily be released uncut in this country if the distributors would just listen to what the public want. Eraser would have done so much better on video if it was an 18 (as it was at the cinema). That film was famously boycotted by video renters because word got out VERY FAST about the appalling butcher style editing. Die hard with a vengeance would've sat quite happily as an 18, the first one was, and the widescreen video version of the second one was too. As for The Toxic Avenger that's never been submitted uncut, SO HOW THE FUCK DO THEY KNOW IT WONT BE PASSED UNCUT!

Starting to wonder if the censorship problem of old in the UK was not so much the BBFC (not denying they played their part), but the distributors and their whole MORE UNITS WILL SHIFT IF YOUNGER PEOPLE CAN RENT THEM philosophy. Distributors trust me, you can slap barb wire around the case, and coat it in strontium 90. Kids will still see it.

In short GIVE US OUR FILMS YOU MONEY GRABBING BASTARDS!

 

30th April   

Rewriting the Rules of Attraction...

Cuts mistake at Film Four ruins climatic scene
Link Here

The Rules of Attraction DVD Film Four's recent screened Roger Avery's THE RULES OF ATTRACTION.

Though the original NC-17 version of THE RULES OF ATTRACTION was passed uncut for theatrical screenings in the UK, the subsequent video version was cut to remove a shot of Teresa Wayman cutting her wrist lengthwise with a razor because the BBFC considered it instructional depiction of a potentially lethal suicide technique. The shot in question only lasts a few seconds, so the distributor removed it and then slowed down the remaining footage to cover the gap left by the deleted shot and allow the Harry Nillson song 'Without You' to play as it does in the uncut version. As a result the BBFC list a substitution cut of 1 min 34 seconds, the total amount of footage slowed to accommodate the cut.

The BBFC's intervention did not really lessen the power of this crucial scene, but unfortunately when the film was screened recently on Film Four, whoever prepared the film for broadcast misunderstood the technical aspects of this cut, and instead removed the 1 minute 34 seconds the BBFC appeared to mandate deleting the suicide scene in almost its entirety. Accidental though it seems to be, it' a crippling cut, but I'm sure a few helpful e-mails sent in Film Four's direction could sort this out.

 

29th April   

Junk Law Rejected...

Parliament rejects bill to restrict junk food advertising to post-watershed
Link Here

House of Commons logo MPs have blocked a bill that would have banned the advertising of junk food and drinks to children. The Food Products (Marketing to Children) Bill aimed to make it an offence to promote "less healthy" foodstuffs to children.

Introduced by Labour MP Nigel Griffiths last year, it would also have introduced a 9pm watershed for television advertising of unhealthy food. However, the bill failed at its second reading in the House of Commons.

On 1st January Ofcom introduced a ban on television adverts for foods high in fat, salt and sugar during shows aimed at under-16s.

 

26th April   

Party Politically Correct...

BBC and ITV censor Alan Craig's party political broadcast
Link Here  full story: Party Political Mosque...BBC and ITC censor party political about mosque

BBC logo A London mayoral candidate is taking the BBC and ITV to the High Court for censoring his party Election Broadcasts in the run up to the May 1 elections.

The Christian Choice candidate, Alan Craig, has instructed the Christian Legal Centre to file papers this morning at the Royal Courts of Justice after BBC and ITV officials instructed him to remove parts of his Party Election Broadcast which was aired on Wednesday evening.

Cllr Craig, a long-standing campaigner against the 'mega-mosque', due to be built in Newham close to the site of the Olympic Games, originally described the organisation behind it, Tablighi Jamaat, as 'separatist'.

However, BBC and ITV officials responsible for supervising the Broadcasts instructed him to moderate his views and change this description of the Islamic organisation if he wanted it aired.

Cllr Craig claims not only 'political interference' by the broadcasters, but says such action breeches his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects freedom of speech.

According to the Christian Legal Centre, Cllr Craig changed the word to “controversial” under duress. Late in the day ITV insisted that the agreed word “controversial” should be applied to the mosque plans not to the Islamic group. Cllr Craig's objections to the mega-mosque, however, have consistently been related to the nature of the Islamic group behind the project - the plans have not yet been published.

Cllr Craig said: BBC and ITV officials, none of whom were lawyers to our knowledge, clearly instructed us to 'tone down' our views and change the sense if we wanted the PEB broadcast. The legal language of 'libel' was mentioned by the BBC, and in the case of TV, we were forced to go back to the studios at the last minute to record a censored version of the PEB.

I am advised that libel is a defamation of an individual, and no-where in the broadcast do we defame individuals. My comments are reasonable and moderate and do not contradict the Racial and Religious Hatred Act. The BBC and ITV are not entitled to limit free speech and I look forward to the judge ordering them both to broadcast my original message.


Andrea Minichiello Williams, barrister and director of the Christian Legal Centre, said: Providing that the content of an election broadcast is within the law, the BBC and ITV should enable the electorate to hear the unedited views of candidates and allow them to make up their own minds as to whether they agree or not.

The Christian Legal Centre will be calling for a Judicial Review of the BBC's and ITV's decision, and ask the judge to order, as a matter of urgency, the unedited Party Election Broadcast on both channels. The case will be heard next Monday when Cllr Craig will be represented by leading Human Rights barrister, Paul Diamond.

Update: The Censored Word

29th April 2008

Original version:

You may know about plans by a separatist Islamic group to build Europe's biggest mosque next to the Olympics site in West Ham. I think it's a bad idea that will bring division and I'm glad moderate Muslims support my stance in opposing it.

Censored version:

You may know about controversial plans by an Islamic group to build Europe's biggest mosque next to the Olympics site in West Ham. I think it's a bad idea that will bring division and I'm glad some Muslims leaders support my stance in opposing it.

 

26th April   

Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story...

TV drama to be shown by BBC
Link Here

Filth poster 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 Sixties.

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.

The 90-minute film was written by Amanda Coe,

 

21st April   

Offsite: Not in front of the adults...

Bad language rules seek to protect the innocent. But who are they exactly?
Link Here  full story: Catherine Tate Show...Wound up by Catherine Tate Christmas Special

Catherine Tate Show poster You might think that, at the moment, the television regulator Ofcom doesn't know whether it's coming or going on the question of whether it's permissible to speak on TV the slang words for, well, coming and going. This week it turned down complaints about the use of the F-word in The Catherine Tate Christmas Special, but, a few days earlier, had forced the BBC to make a long on-screen apology for sexual and scatological language during the Live Earth concerts.

Viewers may well wonder, according to taste, what the fuck is going on or, alternatively, what the f**k is going on?

...Read the full article

 

15th April   

Comment: Speaking of Nutters...

Warning against pandering to the easily offended
Link Here

Mark Thompson Mark Thompson, the Director General of the BBC, has warned broadcasters against becoming overly-cautious in their reporting on Islam for fear of causing offence to Muslims.

Speaking at Westminster Cathedral Thompson, a practising Catholic, said there was a growing nervousness about discussion about Islam and its relationship to the traditions and values of British and Western society as a whole.

He said that the BBC and other major channels have a special responsibility to ensure that debates about faith and society and about any religion should not be foreclosed or censored.

In an effort to demonstrate that his remarks were not targeted solely at ensuring that Islam received journalistic scrutiny, Thompson also referred to his decision to broadcast Jerry Springer, The Opera despite an avalanche of complaints from Christians unhappy at the depiction of Jesus in the satire.

There is no point having a BBC which isn't prepared to stand up and be counted; which will do everything it can to mitigate potential religious offence; but which will always be forthright in the defence of freedom of speech and of impartiality, he said.

 

9th April   

Grope Gripes...

Complaints about light hearted grope on the Weakest Link
Link Here

Anne having fun grope The BBC has received complaints after Anne Robinson asked a contestant to feel her breasts during a celebrity charity version of The Weakest Link .

TV wine-taster Olly Smith felt Robinson's breasts after referring to the 63-year-old presenter as a full-bodied, expensive red.

The BBC stressed it was a playful and light-hearted exchange. But 16 people complained about the incident, which was broadcast at teatime on Saturday. The programme was watched by 5.5 million people, the BBC said.

The exchange came after Robinson told Smith that she did not like being called "full bodied". She then invited Smith to feel her breasts, who declared them to be "absolutely fantastic".

 

7th April   

Easily Fearing the Easily Offended...

Suggestions that the BBC veto muslim jokes
Link Here

Blind Faith book Comedian and writer Ben Elton has accused the BBC of being too "scared" to allow jokes about Islam.

Elton, who co-wrote critically acclaimed sitcoms such as The Young Ones and Blackadder, said the BBC's reluctance to run material that might offend Muslims was based on fear rather than morality.

Speaking in an interview with Christian magazine Third Way , Elton was asked if too much deference was shown to religious people: I believe that part of it is due to the genuine fear that the authorities and the community have about provoking the radical elements of Islam.

There's no doubt about it, the BBC will let vicar gags pass but they would not let imam gags pass. They might pretend that it's, you know, something to do with their moral sensibilities, but it isn't. It's because they're scared. I know these people.

Elton said it was difficult to use even common sayings: I wanted to use the phrase 'Muhammad came to the mountain' and everybody said, 'Oh, don't! Just don't! Don't go there!'.

It was nothing to do with Islam, I was merely referring to the old proverb, 'If the mountain won't come to Muhammad, Muhammad must go to the mountain.' And people said, 'Let's just not!' It's incredible.

Elton's comments were refuted by the BBC. No subject is off limits for BBC comedy, a BBC spokesman said: [ ...BUT... ] The treatment should not cause harm or offence.

 

27th March   

Never Mind the Buzzcocks...

Teachers blame the cruel cruel world of TV
Link Here

Never Mind the Buzzcocks Children's casual use of strong language is being fuelled by TV programmes such as Never Mind the Buzzcocks , the head of the largest teaching union has said.

Pupils are increasingly using sexist and offensive language, making comments about classmates' sizes or the perceived sexuality of a teacher, Steve Sinnott, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, told the union's annual conference in Manchester yesterday.

He said that quiz shows such as Never Mind the Buzzcocks and They Think It's All Over fuelled the casual use of bad language. Programme makers and celebrities need to reflect on what's taking place. Too much cruel behaviour can be seen on television programmes.

The children's secretary, Ed Balls, will tomorrow tell a second union conference of plans to launch a campaign to protect teachers from cyberbullying. It comes after a rise in the number of pupils taking embarrassing pictures and video on their mobile phones of teachers and putting them on websites. He will say he has asked the Cyberbullying Taskforce, which until now has focused on the impact on children, to look at what measures can be introduced to protect teachers as well.

 

26th March   

Update: Buried by Apologies...

BBC apologise about man buried alive in EastEnders
Link Here  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

EastEnders The BBC has apologised to viewers for a Good Friday edition of EastEnders in which a character was apparently buried alive in a coffin. The broadcaster did not wait for the TV censor Ofcom to investigate the programme, which sparked 167 complaints.

Viewers said the scenes of philanderer Max Branning being placed unconscious into a coffin by his wife Tanya and her lover, were inappropriate for a pre-watershed programme watched by families.

The BBC said: The burial is in no way glamorised or glorified, rather we see that when pushed to the edge, Tanya’s behaviour becomes out of character, and indeed that it’s Tanya herself who ultimately suffers because of her actions. Once again we are sorry that you did not enjoy these episodes.

The scenes were carefully filmed and edited in order that Max’s ordeal was in the main implicit, rather than explicit, whilst still retaining their powerfulness. The character ultimately escaped alive.

 

24th March   

Update: Buried by Complaints...

EastEnders gets noticed over burial alive scene
Link Here  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

EastEnders A scene in BBC One soap EastEnders which showed a character being buried alive has prompted 167 complaints.

The episode, shown at 8pm on Friday night, showed character Max Branning being buried alive in a coffin by his wife and her lover.

Viewers complained that it should not have been shown before the 9pm watershed because children could find it disturbing.

The BBC said the number of complaints was proportionately small. EastEnders is known for its dramatic and gripping storylines and, from a total audience of 10 million, the number of complaints is relatively small, a spokeswoman said.

In the episode, viewers saw Max's wife, Tanya, spike his drink, causing him to collapse. She and her lover, Sean Slater, then drove Max to woodland where they buried him alive in a coffin.

 

23rd March   

Update: A PC Brush Off...

BBC will not show Basil Brush's gypsy joke again
Link Here  full story: Basil Brush...Basil Brush ban for stereotypical gypsy jokes

Basil Brush Unleashed DVD The BBC has backed down over allegations of anti-gipsy racism in children's TV show Basil Brush .

Bosses admitted that an episode which caused offence was "inappropriate" and have told police it will not be shown again.

Officers have now decided no further action will be taken. Police have not yet told the BBC formally about the outcome of their inquiries but a source said: The episode was made six years ago. The BBC looked at it and took the view that it's not terribly offensive but it's old enough that it probably wouldn't be made in the same way if done today.

The episode was repeated on the digital channel CBBC on February 21 this year and has been released on DVD.

It features Basil and his friend Mr Stephen, who succumbs to a gipsy spell that makes him attractive to women. Having just moved into a flat above Basil's, Dame Rosie Fortune – who casts the spell – offers him heather and pegs at his front door, which he rejects.

She also offers to tell Basil his fortune and he replies: I went to a fortune teller once and he said I was going on a long journey. When Mr Stephen asks what happened, Basil replies: He stole my wallet and I had to walk all the way home.

A Northamptonshire Police spokesman said: This complaint has now been concluded to the satisfaction of all parties involved.

There had been no arrests.

 

21st March   

Barking Mad...

Police investigate Basil Brush over trivial stereotyped gypsy gag
Link Here  full story: Basil Brush...Basil Brush ban for stereotypical gypsy jokes

Basil Brush Unleashed DVD Northamptonshire police are investigating a stuffed fox after receiving a complaint about an episode of the Basil Brush Show in which he tells a joke about a gipsy fortune teller.

The fortune teller predicts that Basil is about to embark on a long journey. Too true, because, as Basil reveals, the man then stole my wallet and I had to walk home.

But Joseph Jones, the vice-chairman of the Southern England Romany, Gypsy and Irish Traveller Network, did not find the joke very funny and thinks that the BBC should withdraw the episode: To perpetuate this myth about gipsies and travellers is wrong. If they are going to keep showing this then I look forward to them bringing back the likes of Alf Garnett to the screen.

See full article from the Northampton Chronicle

Anne Widdecombe In a national newspaper column, MP Anne Widdecombe said the move by police to investigate the allegation made a "nonsense" of race laws.

She said: The idiot complainants are the gypsies who have involved Northamptonshire Police, who have in turn approached the BBC. It is good news to know that there are no burglaries or assaults in that county because, otherwise, the police would not have found the time to investigate this rot. I don't actually object very much if someone wants to point out to the BBC that this sort of portrayal is a bit of a silly stereotype, but that is a world away from treating it as a criminal offence. The police should have told the complainants to go and get a life but instead, solemnly logged it as an offence of a racist nature.

Hate crime officers are currently investigating the complaint as "a racist incident". Insp John McKinney said: When a person feels offended and makes a complaint of this nature to our hate crimes unit we are duty bound to investigate it appropriately with the appropriate level of resources.

 

20th March   

Goddamn Censors...

ITV Evening News bleeps out 'damn'
Link Here

ITV Evening News studio shot Fascinating snippet on TV yesterday. During the ITV early evening news, there was a trailer for a breaking news item about the pastor of the church attended by Barack Obama having come out with some controversial remarks (basically saying America had asked for 9/11).

In particular he was shown saying "God BLEEP America". Naturally, I assumed that he'd said "fuck".

On the late news, the full story was shown, and the unbleeped word turned out just to be "damn".

I don't think "damn" is too strong for pre-watershed use in the UK, and I'm hazarding a guess that the first clip might have reflected excessive sensitivity by the FCC if it was lifted directly from an American source.

It wasn't even as if the word, damn, was being used as a cuss. The minister was having a rant, but doing so in the context of a sermon, where he was really suggesting that God should damn America for collective sins against black people.

 

4th March   

Binging on PC Nonsense...

Beyer and co on drinking in soaps
Link Here

Holby City title screen 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.

 

28th February   

Update: Writ Dispatched...

Undercover Mosque team to sue police and CPS
Link Here  full story: Undercover Mosque...Police made false accusations re Undercover Mosque

Dispatches: Undercover Mosque Channel 4's Dispatches editor Kevin Sutcliffe and the programme makers behind Undercover Mosque are pursuing a libel claim against West Midlands Police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

The documentary makers were cleared last November by media regulator Ofcom of allegations of misleadingly editing the Channel 4 programme about extreme Islamic preachers.

Undercover Mosque aired in January last year and featured footage filmed undercover in several mosques in the Midlands. The documentary featured footage of preachers calling for homosexuals to be killed, espousing male supremacy, condemning non-Muslims and predicting jihad.

Channel 4 announced today that Sutcliffe, and production company Hardcash Productions, have now initiated libel proceedings: The statements made by both the West Midlands Police and the CPS were completely unfounded and seriously damaging to the reputation of the programme makers.

The broadcaster also released a statement on behalf of co-claimants - David Henshaw, Andrew Smith and John Moratiel - from Hardcash Production: The statements made by both the West Midlands Police and the CPS were completely unfounded and seriously damaging to our reputation. We feel the only way to set the record straight once and for all is to pursue this matter through a libel action.

In August last year West Midlands police complained to regulator Ofcom about the editing of the Dispatches documentary. But Ofcom said the programme was a legitimate investigation uncovering matters of important public interest in a subsequent ruling in November.

The regulator also said there was No evidence that [Channel 4] had misled the audience and the broadcaster had accurately represented the material and dealt with the subject matter responsibly and in context.

Channel 4 said any payment of damages will go to charity.

 

22nd February   

Prize Fun...

Sharon Osbourne has fun whilst nutters whinge
Link Here

Brit Awards logo Ofcom have received 43 complaints about Wednesday night's Brit Awards.

Most viewers who contacted the body about ITV1's live broadcast were upset by strong language.

Host Sharon Osbourne turned the air blue when comedian Vic Reeves took to the stage. Reeves appeared to forget which award he was there to present.

Osbourne accused him of being drunk, and yelled a string of obscenities. Reeves later blamed his confusion on a faulty autocue.

Most celebrities wasted no time getting stuck into the free alcohol at London's Earls Court. Comic Alan Carr admitted he was a bit worse for wear as he presented an award to Take That.

Double winners Arctic Monkeys also seemed well-refreshed and organisers cut them off mid-speech when they began poking fun at the Brits School.

 

6th February   

BBC Apologise for Black Man's Willy...

And it's a flowery apology indeed
Link Here

Black Man's Willy flower The BBC has apologised for an innuendo-filled discussion on Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time last year.

Presenters made a string of jokes after an audience member asked for advice on the Rhodochiton Volubilis, colloquially known as the black man's willy.

The debate prompted some listeners to complain of racial stereotyping.

Producers initially defended the segment as "entertaining", but the BBC's editorial complaints unit ruled that use of the name was unacceptable. It said the discussion was potentially offensive in ways not fully appreciated when the matter was first considered. With hindsight, we believe it would have been preferable to omit the item.

During the discussion, which was recorded at the Chilcompton Gardening Club in Somerset last October, the panellists giggled as they discussed the plant. Bob Flowerdew admitted he had only ever seen one close up - and not that colour. Anne Swithinbank claimed: I've never seen one in my life...They don't really like the cold, as you can imagine. They shrivel up and look very unhappy.

At the time, producer Trevor Taylor went on the station's Feedback programme to defend the segment, saying innuendo had "been a part of Radio 4 for decades".

The editorial complaints unit did not agree with listeners who said it was inappropriate to air the segment at a time when large numbers of children might be listening, as youngsters only formed a small proportion of the audience.

 

25th January   

Cutting Edge Television...

Complaints about EastEnders over knife attack
Link Here  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

EastEnders logo More than 200 viewers have complained over an EastEnders episode this week that featured a violent knife attack on a 13-year-old boy.

Tuesday night's edition, which aired on BBC1 at 7.30pm, saw character Jay Brown lured into a football game where he was stabbed by a gang of youths.

At least 200 people have since complained to the BBC, while a further seven contacted media regulator Ofcom.

A BBC spokeswoman defended the storyline, saying it did not glamorise the use of knives: EastEnders has always tackled difficult issues and we acknowledge that some viewers could consider this storyline challenging.

However, we aim to reflect real issues and during this storyline the audience will see Jay's torment through to him deciding not to yield to peer pressure like his father did many years ago. This is part of a long-running storyline that in no way glamorises the use of knives, or portrays violence in a positive light.

 

7th January   

Tragic Accident...

Possible copy cat hanging
Link Here

Round the neck harness from Go Diego Go A couple who tragically found their daughter hanging by her hairband in a freak accident believe she was trying to copy a stunt from her favourite cartoon series.

They tried desperately to save four-year-old Paige when they discovered her in her bedroom but were unable to revive her.

Paige had recently watched a scene in which a character was swinging around with what looked like a rope attached to his neck.

She was with her grandmother who said the programme was either Dora The Explorer or Go Diego Go .

Go Diego Go is about a boy who jumps, swings and sings in English and Spanish during his adventures.

Dora the Explorer features a young girl and her animal friends in a series of scrapes.

Both are shown on the digital channel NickJr, part of the Nickelodeon Group.