Michael Nazir-Ali, the former bishop of Rochester, said the BBC programme, The Mystery of Mary Magdalene , presented by Melvyn Bragg would be hugely offensive to devout Christians because it amounted to the sexualisation of Christ .
He said it was all the more upsetting because it is being screened at midday on Good Friday, the moment the Bible says Jesus was put on the cross.
Lord Bragg, who describes himself as no longer a believer , argues that Mary's close relationship with Jesus was effectively airbrushed out of the accepted Biblical account by misogynist Romans. He points to a series of ancient writings
known as the Gnostic Gospels which were not included in the agreed list of books which became the New Testament. They include references to Mary being kissed on the mouth by Jesus, being his favourite and even, as one passage suggests, his wife.
Nazir-Ali accused the BBC of deliberately causing offense to Christians. He said:
This is going out at 12 o'clock on Good Friday which is exactly the time that Christians are thinking about Christ on the cross, this highly provocative stuff that really encourages a sexualisation of Christ with references to him being kissed on the
mouth by Mary Magdalene and it refers to her being his wife.
I am concerned about the misuses of very obscure Gnostic gospels to impugne the integrity of the Bible.
It is highly provocative in terms of its content for Christians on Good Friday and it attempts to sexualize Christ in the most offensive way.
The campaign group Christian Concern has emailed its supporters urging them to complain to the BBC. Andrea Williams, director of Christian Concern, said:
Noon Good Friday is the precise time Christians are remembering Jesus' crucifixion. To air a programme which questions the purity of Christ is at best insensitive and at worst offensive.
Who is making such bewildering decisions in the BBC's religious programming department?
No doubt Andrea Williams is well aware that the head of BBC religious programming is actually a muslim.
The Daily Mail has served up the usual nonsense about a few nobodies being easily offended by trivial innuendo:
Viewers' fury at explicit Comic Relief sketches aired over an hour before the watershed
Dozens have complained to the BBC after it was aired The sketches included swearing and sexual innuendo Some have vowed not to support the cause again
It was classed as a family night of comedy for charity. But while the BBC's Comic Relief evening raised millions it also prompted complaints after ill-advised sketches containing explicit sexual references were aired more than hour before the 9pm
And the cause of 'dozens of complaints' [24 perhaps!]
At 7.45pm, Rowan Atkinson, playing the Archbishop of Canterbury, told viewers that Jesus said love your neighbours but it doesn't mean shag your neighbours .
A sketch from Call the Midwife followed with a reference to a vajazzle , a type of erotic decoration used by women and popularised in the reality TV show The Only Way is Essex.
Comedian Peter Kay also sat on his arse for the charity event leading to parents complaining that their children started using the term.
John Bishop quipping that Geordies all have rottweillers.
The BBC admitted pulling the repeat of the Archbishop sketch on its iPlayer service following a surge of emails and calls complaining about the offensive language.
Tory MP John Whittingdale, chairman of the commons culture, media and sport select committee, said: I'm pleased the BBC has recognised this was a mistake and whether Ofcom decides to investigate further is a matter up to them.
Ofcom, the broadcasting watchdog, is assessing complaints before deciding what action to take [And no doubt treat them on their merits and bin them].
The Comic Relief sketch featuring Rowan Atkinson as the Archbishop of Canterbury has drawn about 2,200 complaints to the BBC.
Atkinson - playing a fictional version of the Church leader - compared boyband One Direction to Jesus's disciples. He also claimed praying doesn't work .
Around a quarter of the complaints were specifically about religious offence, with the rest concerned with pre-watershed language.
The sketch has since been removed from the BBC's iPlayer.
The BBC received almost 3,000 complaints in total over the charity fundraising night of programming. Other complaints over the event involved another sketch involving the popular series Call The Midwife.
We've received complaints from some viewers about the suitability of some of the content in this year's Comic Relief, with many complainants singling out sketches by Rowan Atkinson and Call the Midwife.
The BBC's response
Comic Relief night featured seven hours of live television and has become known for pushing at the boundaries of comedy alongside heartfelt appeal films. The team was faced with the difficult challenge of scheduling items so that they appealed to a
varied and wide ranging audience.
Getting the language, tone and content of the evening is therefore extremely important and the team closely monitor all the audience feedback as it comes in.
It was clear from this feedback that the Rowan Atkinson sketch was problematic for a number of different reasons, with many viewers noting the subject matter, the language used and its placing early in the evening. It is clear to us that this sketch did
not translate as we had hoped and as a direct result of viewer feedback we took a swift decision to remove this from BBC iPlayer.
With the Call the Midwife sketch we hoped viewers would appreciate the mix of different genres, comedy styles, (Miranda) and time travel (Doctor Who), and that it would be clear how absurd the sketch was - with the Midwife characters trying to attend to
a couple in a modern-day hospital setting.
We would now like to take this opportunity to say that we are sorry that any of the above offended our viewers. This year the programme was watched by a peak audience of 12.2m and raised a record total of over £75m, and the very last thing we wanted was
to take away from all of the hard work everyone put in. We will bear these issues in mind for all future events.
It has been played in full thousands of times over 30 years without causing a fuss.
But Elvis Costello's hit song Oliver's Army was censored to remove the word 'nigger' when it was recently played on a BBC digital station to the surprise of listeners.
The song, taken from the album Armed Forces , is one of Costello's best-known and has received endless plays across all BBC radio stations without any complaint...until now. The offending lines are:
When you've been on the murder mile
Only takes one itchy trigger
One more widow, one less white nigger
A listener who heard the edited tune on Steve Lamacq's show on 6 Music was prompted to complain to Radio 4's Feedback, stating the word was actually necessary for the song:
I do know the song inside out, as most people probably do, then all of sudden -- clunk- it had the n-word taken out.
The listener said that their understanding of the lyric was that it referred to British troops in Northern Ireland who used the phrase as a derogatory term for the Irish.
Former Radio 1 DJ Mike Read also criticised the decision:
I think cutting a piece out and changing the whole tempo of the music simply draws attention to it. If you don't like the sentiment or you don't agree with the sentiment then don't play it but to take the scissors and cut a bit out of it, I am sure Elvis
Costello might have something to say about that.
Everybody played it, there was no trouble, nobody thought about it and I don't think there were any complaints. It was just slightly post-punk so there had been an awful lot of stuff going down on record that wasn't playable, so this maybe compared to
what had gone before maybe seemed a little tame.
A 6 Music spokescensor said of the decision:
We are guided by our editorial guidelines and production teams use them to make decisions about language in songs on a case by case basis. We take into consideration a number of factors including the nature of the language, the station and its audience,
the time of day, editorial justification and the wider context of the programme.'
TV shows made in London that encourage viewers to believe they are cured of life-threatening illnesses by prayer have been condemned by charities.
Charities criticised an episode of the Miracle Hour show, on Faith World TV, during which a diabetic caller was told he was set free from the disease.
It is particularly dangerous and puts his life at risk, said African Health Policy Network head Francis Kaikumba.
UKWET, which produces the show, said it was reviewing its new programmes . The organisation, whose full name is the UK World Evangelical Trust, said: We are now reviewing our new programmes to make sure our standards meet good practice.
From a BBC article about the prevalence of murder stories on TV.
Vivienne Pattison is director of Mediawatch UK, a campaign group that fights for family values in the media, and against graphic violence. But even she says murder has a role to play:
I don't think there's anything wrong with the subject being covered on television per se, it's how it's dealt with, she says.
There is clearly a huge amount of difference between the treatment of murder in say The Killing - which invites the viewer to solve the case, EastEnders - which usually looks at motivation and the emotional fallout from the event, and the
Saw franchise - the films of which are little more than gore fests of torture porn.
The latter I do consider to be more problematic as they remove the humanity of the victims and so the death itself becomes entertainment.
It's been revealed today that TV censor Ofcom has received complaints from viewers of Dancing On Ice after judge Jason Gardiner told contestant Shayne Ward -- after his performance of Livin' La Vida Loca in last weekend's School Disco
themed week -- It was more like Livin' La Vida locked-in syndrome.
Jason's remarks caused Shayne to nervously laugh, while his pro-skate partner Maria Filippov looked puzzled and bemused.
A few viewers apparently found Jason's comment far from amusing and posted a few trivial comments on Twitter.
Following Jason's remark, 29 complaints were made, but television regulator Ofcom have decided NOT to initiate a full investigation into the comment, explaining to the Mail Online that the comments were justified at the time:
Ofcom decided the remark was justified by the context. What he said did not exceed the expectations of the audience as Jason Gardiner is well-known for his acerbic comments about contestants and is often quite critical of them.
The BBC is in the firing line after it ludicrously cut dialogue from drama written by playwright Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti
Bhatti, whose 2004 play Behzti sparked riots and death threats and was cancelled by a Birmingham theatre over concerns about public safety, was commissioned by Radio 4 to write an episode of drama series Stone .
Bhatti's episode, called Heart of Darkness , features an investigation into the murder of a 16-year-old Asian girl, who it emerges is the victim of an honour killing .
Bhatti said she was told a week before the recording that the script was being altered by the BBC's compliance department. Radio 4 said a line was taken out because it could potentially misrepresent the attitude of the majority of British Muslims
to honour killing. Bhatti explained:
At the end, a character says: 'There is so much pressure in our community, to look right and to behave right.'
The compliance department came back and said 'we don't want to suggest the entire Muslim community condones honour killings.'
It's an extraordinary and awful situation. They said the lines were offensive but they absolutely were not. We live in a fear-ridden culture.
The episode of the four-part series is due to air on Radio 4 in the Afternoon Drama slot on Friday.
According to the Daily Mail, the Channel 4 drama Utopia 'sparked outrage' after it depicted a mass shooting in a primary school.
The opening scene of the conspiracy thriller depicted a man walking into a classroom of children before firing several times. He also shoots a young boy cowering in the school hall, and a mother in the head in front of her young daughter at their home.
A graphic content warning was given before the third episode which was screened after the watershed, at 10pm.
Channel Four said it has so far received 28 complaints about the programme from an audience of about a million. Ofcom is believed to have received around 20 complaints. A Channel 4 spokesman said:
Channel 4 thought very carefully about continuing with the planned broadcast of Utopia.
The drama is in no way based on real events, and the scenes featuring violence are editorially justified within the context of the storyline.
All material has been carefully considered in accordance with the Ofcom Broadcasting Code and we were satisfied that, appropriately scheduled in a late night slot at 10pm and preceded by clear on-air warnings about the graphic violence and very strong
language, it could be broadcast as planned.
The Daily Mail also dragged up a few trivial tweets of people being 'shocked'.
A storyline in TV drama Casualty had to be dropped because of Wales' anti-smoking laws, says the BBC.
BBC Wales gave evidence in the Welsh assembly as it backed a law amendment to allow smoking to be filmed on set. AMs will vote on the issue in the spring.
Smoking in enclosed spaces was banned across the UK in 2007 but in England there is exemption which permits smoking for drama recordings. The Welsh government wants to exempt film productions from the ban, in line with England's.
But anti-smoking groups ludicrously claim it would prompt calls from other industries to be exempt.
Clare Hudson, head of BBC Cymru Wales Productions, said there were plans for Casualty to include a cautionary moral tale about a smoker causing a fire in a hotel. But AMs were told the legislation made filming the scenes too difficult to
contemplate within the production budget and schedule, and a strong storyline which would have highlighted one of the hazards of smoking had to be changed to something else .
BBC 2 showed the Germans episode of Fawlty Towers last Sunday evening
The BBC cut dialogue from a scene involving Basil Fawlty and the major, played by actor Ballard Berkeley.
The conversation moves from Basil's wife Sybil to women in general. The major tells Fawlty about the time he took a woman to see India play cricket at the Oval. He then says:
The strange thing was, throughout the morning she kept referring to the Indians as niggers. "No, no, no," I said, "the niggers are the West Indians. These people are wogs".
But this time around the major's words were edited out by the BBC.
Some fans took to the BBC's Points Of View message board to say they despaired at the unnecessary editing. One wrote:
You can't airbrush history away and I doubt if anyone but the terminally thin-skinned could be offended by the major, a character we're clearly supposed to laugh at rather than with.
The point is that the major is a racist old bigot, incongruous with modern society -- even in the Seventies. The audience isn't supposed to agree with him, they're supposed to laugh at him. The whole episode is about xenophobia in various forms -- it's
social satire. I instinctively dislike the airbrushing of history.
A BBC spokesman spewed:
We are very proud of Fawlty Towers and its contribution to British television comedy... BUT ...public attitudes have changed significantly since it was made and it was decided to make some minor changes, with the consent of John Cleese's
management, to allow the episode to transmit to a family audience at 7.30pm on BBC2.'
Comment: Littlejohn, The BBC, Comedy Censorship and Total Hypocrisy at the Daily Mail
Quentin Tarantino clashed with Channel 4 News anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy during a an interview ahead of the London premiere of his new film, Django Unchained . The Oscar-winning film-maker repeatedly refused to offer an opinion on the link
between screen violence and true-life violence and at one point told Guru-Murthy: I'm shutting your butt down.
Django Unchained charts the fortunes of a black slave turned bounty hunter in the American deep south. The film's supporting characters find themselves variously shot in the face, bludgeoned with a hammer, and torn apart by dogs.
Interviewed by Channel 4 News on Thursday night, Tarantino admitted that he relished making violent films but insisted: It's a movie, it's a fantasy. It's not real life. When asked how he could be sure that there was no link between enjoying
screen violence and enjoying real violence, however, the director refused to respond:
I'm not answering your question. I'm not your slave and you're not my master ... It's none of your damn business what I think about that.
Way To Go is a new BBC sitcom series starring Blake Harrison, of the Inbetweeners . It tells the story of three young men who build a suicide machine and offer the service to those who wish to end their lives.
A prominent Tory MP has expressed his disgust at the programme's premise, slamming it for turning suicide into a joke.
Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin, told the Sunday Express: It is a sad fact that assisted dying is now regarded as a 'revenue stream to some foreign clinics and clearly as a matter of fun by some parts of the BBC.'
Defending the forthcoming comedy, BBC3 controller Zai Bennett told the Sunday Express:
Bob Kushell's scripts are in turn dark, poignant, absurd, moving and brilliant.
Sick comic facing axe: Jack Whitehall could be dropped as presenter at TV awards as Channel 4 repeats vile quiz
Comedian Jack Whitehall is facing the axe as the presenter of a prize at the National Television Awards following the growing controversy over his lewd behaviour on a Channel 4 panel game.
The star has been booked for the ITV show to be broadcast later this month, but it has emerged that a key figure on the programme believes he should not now appear on the awards show.
Channel 4 yesterday ignored the protests of viewers and said the Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2012 which featured vile jokes about the Queen and Susan Boyle will be repeated unedited on the main channel tonight at 11:35pm.
Last night co-executive producer of the National Television Awards, George Mitchell, said he would be having a summit conference on Monday about whether Whitehall should still present a prize at the awards. He said he would like to offer him the
chance to bow out gracefully and give him the chance to withdraw . But he admitted other bosses on the show may not agree with him.
But unfortunately for the Daily Mail, the supposed axe of Jack Whitehall's awards presentation seems to be bollox. See
K im Turberville, creator and executive producer of the NTA, told The Independent:
Contrary to spurious reports earlier today, I would like to confirm that there has been no crisis summit over Jack Whitehall's invitation to present an award at this year's National Television Awards.
We are very much looking forward to welcoming him on January 23 for our live show.
The Independent also pointed out that a poll of readers found that 95% of readers don't think participants on the panel show took the joke too far anyway.
The Daily Mail also dragged up a rather low key sound bite from Vivienne Pattison of Mediawatch UK said:
This programme should have always been broadcast in the late night 11.35pm slot. Putting it out at primetime was totally inappropriate.
Children are far more likely to be watching at 9pm, especially when you consider it was the Christmas holiday.
The Daily Mail added that another show has sparked a little 'outrage' too:
It emerged also that another festive Channel 4 show, The 50 Funniest Moments of 2012 , also triggered complaints after it included footage of a male far-Right Greek politician punching a woman in the face and strong swearing just after the
watershed. Some 40 viewers contacted Ofcom about the programme, most of them angry at the suggestion that a woman being punched in the face was funny.
A popular Egyptian political satirist is being investigated by prosecutors for allegedly insulting the president. A formal complaint was brought against Bassem Youssef for undermining the standing of President Mohamed Morsi in his television show.
The cases come amid increasing worries about press freedoms in Egypt. Many journalists have joined critics of the new Islamist-backed constitution, saying it does not offer enough guarantees of press freedoms.
Bassem Youssef is a doctor who shot to fame after winning a huge number of followers with his witty lampooning of public figures in amateur videos posted on the internet following the uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak's rule. He became a household name
when his satirical show began to be broadcast three times a week on one of Egypt's independent satellite stations. He has poked fun at everyone from fellow television presenters to well-known Muslim scholars and most recently President Morsi himself, the
BBC's Shaimaa Khalil reports,
But sketches in which he portrayed Morsi as a pharaoh, calling him Super Morsi for holding on to executive and legislative powers, and, separately, putting the president's image on a pillow and parodying his speeches have angered one Islamist
lawyer, whose formal complaint has resulted in the investigation.
A popular satirical quiz show has been criticised for jokes about the royal family.
Channel 4's Big Fat Quiz of the Year has now prompted in excess of 160 complaints following supposedly coarse jokes about the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.
TV censor Ofcom and Channel 4 had by Wednesday received 80 complaints each about the show, broadcast after the 9pm watershed on Sunday. Ofcom will 'consider' the complaints and no doubt reject them for the bollox that they are.
Comedians Jack Whitehall joked about last year's diamond jubilee: I have a theory. She [the Queen] didn't sit down for the entirety of that thing, and people were talking about that. It was the day after the night of her anniversary and Prince Philip
woke up with a urinary infection ... I'm just saying what everyone's thinking, people.
The number of complaints has soared following an exaggerated 'outrage' story in a Daily Mail front-page splash headlined Channel 4 and the sick show they call comedy . The jokes were reprinted in full on page 4 of the paper.
Tory MP Conor Burns said he would write to Channel 4 to ask why the distasteful jokes were aired between 9pm and 10.30pm, shortly after the watershed for material unsuitable for children. [er... because before the
watershed is when material has to be suitable for children!].
And for those that missed the fun Channel 4 is to repeat The Big Fat Quiz of the Year on Friday evening, though in a much later slot than the original broadcast on Sunday.
E4 has been showing The Big Bang Theory, late at night over the New Year
On several occasions colourful language was edited out. Now The Big Bang Theory is hardly a hard-hitting, cutting-edge comedy which touches on controversial subjects. It's about as mainstream as it gets (the Sunday Times recently described it as the heir
to the series Friends ).
Here's one occurrence of censorship I particularly recall. In one episode Penny discovers that Leonard and Sheldon (who live across the hall) have been in her apartment and tidied it up while she was asleep in bed. When Sheldon and Leonard are debating
the rights and wrongs about what they did next morning, Penny wakes up and can be heard shouting in her apartment.
If I recall correctly it's something like You son of a bitch! and You sick, geeky bastard!
This seems to have been edited to You son of a ....! and You sick, geeky .....!
There were moments in other episodes in which I noticed cuts. One scene where Rajesh mentions online pornography seems to have been removed completely, including Penny's reaction to it in the conversation.
Now I was neither looking out for detecting cuts nor did I even watch all the episodes. But it just seemed rather blatant and thus, obvious. If you destroy the syntax of sentences, it's not hard to spot something's been taken out.
But I really don't quite get it. Alright, so bitch and bastard are technically insults. But as a whole this series is about as kind-hearted and middle of the road as things get on TV. As so often with our moral guardians, there just seems
no sense to this action. In fact it just looks like vandalism to me.
Channel 4 and the sick show they call comedy: Comedians guzzle wine and egg each other on to trade obscene jokes about the Queen, Philip and Susan Boyle
The Big Fat Quiz of 2012 featured countless vile sexual jokes just after 9pm Most made by James Corden and Jack Whitehall who drank bottle of wine each during pre-recorded show Channel 4 accused of failing to learn from Sachsgate scandal
Television watchdog Ofcom says it has received [just five] complaints
The pre-recorded show, presented by controversial comedian Jimmy Carr, also featured puerile remarks about sprinter Usain Bolt, President Obama and singer Susan Boyle. Crude: Big Fat Quiz of the Year featured guests Richard Ayoade, Russell Howard,
Jonathan Ross, Jimmy Carr, Jack Whitehall, James Cordon and Gabby Logan
Last night TV watchdog Ofcom confirmed it had already received [just five] complaints. Most of the crass humour came from Gavin And Stacey star James Corden, 34, and comedian Jack Whitehall, 24, who were seen to drink a bottle of wine each on
screen. They were egged on by Jonathan Ross.
Margaret Morrissey, founder of campaign group Parents Outloud, said:
It is amazing this programme was ever broadcast. This was not live television, someone made the decision to allow this to go out at 9pm during the holidays when young children will still be up and watching television.
No doubt there'll be a storm of outrage and then the comedians will turn around and be all contrite. But they could have avoided offending people and corrupting young minds. Even if their parents stop them, children can still watch it on their iPads and
iPhones. The nation's television now serves the lowest common denominator.
Former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe said:
Nothing Jimmy Carr does surprises me. This programme is in extremely poor taste and I'm amazed it was ever broadcast. Most people would consider it to be in very bad taste to poke fun at someone in their 80s who's served the country devotedly for 60
A Channel 4 spokesman said:
Big Fat Quiz Of The Year is a well-established comedic and satirical review of the year's events with well-known guests and is broadcast after the watershed with appropriate warnings.
Update: Huffington Post Rounds up a few tweets about the Daily Mail article
The Daily Mail has triggered a huge backlash on Twitter for manufacturing outrage over a Channel 4 comedy show in which comedians guzzled wine and egged each other on to trade obscene jokes about the Queen, Philip and Susan Boyle .
The Big Fat Quiz of 2012, broadcast on Monday evening and starring Jimmy Carr, Richard Ayoade, Russell Howard, Jonathan Ross, Jack Whitehall, James Cordon and Gabby Logan, was lambasted by the newspaper for its countless vile sexual jokes .
However, The Mail's opprobrium was met with derision on Twitter on Wednesday morning, with users lining up to point out the hypocrisy of the paper which, having complained about the sick jokes , then reprinted them in full.
Rory Bremner, the comedian, has attacked BBC news quiz Mock the Week for being too aggressive and treating some guests with disrespect.
Bremner, who was a panelist on the comedy show for two series following its launch in 2005, said that he felt uncomfortable doing the programme, which he claimed was filmed in a highly charged and competitive environment. He said he has since
found out that other comedians felt the same way about the controversial show.
Bremner said that after doing two early series of Mock the Week he decided he no longer wanted to appear on it:
I felt that there was a new and highly competitive and quite aggressive tendency there and felt uncomfortable. But I've since found out that very few people have felt comfortable doing Mock the Week.
The impressionist said that the new breed of stand-up comedians who appear on panel shows such as Mock the Week are like prize fighters .
Other comedians have also attacked Mock the Week. In 2009 Jo Brand said that she had stopped appearing on the programme due to the lack of women on its panels and the difficulty in getting her voice heard among the other comedians. She said that some
male comedians also found the environment ultra-competitive.