UK TV and Radio News

 2017: Jan-March



  Relief seekers!...

Revealing 150 dicks who whinged to Ofcom about the BBC's Comic Relief


Link Here 28th March 2017
vic-reeves kilt More than 150 people have complained to TV censor Ofcom about the Comic Relief telethon.

Language used before the watershed by Steve Coogan, a game of Innuendo Bingo and a sketch by Reeves and Mortimer attracted the most whinges.

One of the most controversial moments saw comedy duo Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer interview TV presenter Susanna Reid - with Reeves brandishing a prosthetic penis from under a kilt.

Reid later tweeted : Well. That was an experience , complete with a red-faced emoji. She added that she wasn't looking when Reeves sat with his legs open while asking innuendo-laden questions about whether or not she had seen new film Kong.

Ofcom said:

We have received 151 complaints about Comic Relief 2017 on the BBC. We will assess these complaints before deciding whether or not to investigate.

This censor doublespeak usually means that the complaints are already on their way to the waste paper bin.

 

 

  Eeny Meeny Miny Moe...

Primark withdraws Walking Dead t-shirt and grovels for the offence caused


Link Here 8th March 2017
eeny meeny walking deadA Walking Dead T-shirt has been removed for sale by the British clothing retailer Primark, after a complaint that the shirt was racist and fantastically offensive.

The shirt in question bore the image of a baseball bat and the message Eeny Meeny Miny Moe , a reference to a scene from the AMC zombie drama in which Negan is deciding who in the protagonist group to kill with his barb wire mace.

In the scene, Negan continues the phrase with, Catch a tiger by his toe .

Ian Lucraft complained to Primark saying:

We were shocked when we came face to face with a new t-shirt with a racially explicit graphic and text. It was fantastically offensive and I can only assume that no one in the process of ordering it knew what they were doing or were aware of its subliminal messages.

A Primark spokesperson grovelled an apology for the shirt, saying that any offence that the shirt caused was wholly unintentional:

The T-shirt in question is licensed merchandise for the U.S. television series, 'The Walking Dead,' and the quote and image are taken directly from the show. Any offense caused by its design was wholly unintentional and Primark sincerely apologizes for this. Primark has pulled the product from sale.

The t-shirt is widely available with several similar designs also on sale.

 

 Update: ITV pussies...

ITV criticised for the post watershed censorship Skepta at the Brit Awards


Link Here 23rd February 2017  full story: Brit Awards...Sttrong language and alcohol at Brit Awards
Shutdown Brit Award viewers were left unimpressed during Wednesday's live show on ITV, after Skepta's performance was heavily censored.

The grime artist was one of several British stars to take to the stage performing his song Shutdown . However, despite the fact that Skepta's performance was aired after the 9pm watershed, the audio was cut several times throughout his time on stage, due to his repeated use of the word pussy .

Some took to Twitter in the immediate aftermath to voice their disdain for the censorship, particularly as it came just minutes after presenter Dermot O'Leary had sworn during the ceremony. The Huffington Post provided a few examples:

  • Don't start that audio muting bullshit #brits204
  • Muting Skepta's Shutdown chorus because it has the word pussy in is bullshit
  • They're muting the word pussy. Dermot just said batshit. And they're muting pussy. I mean. What?

 

  So is the TV watershed actually 9:07pm?...

Channel 5 reveals that it usually considers 9:07 as the watershed for strong language, and indeed gets in trouble with Ofcom for strong language at 9:04


Link Here 6th February 2017

cant payCan't Pay? We'll Take It Away!
Channel 5, 28 September 2016, 21:00

Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! is an observational documentary series that follows the work of High Court Enforcement Agents ( HCEAs ).

Ofcom received three complaints about the frequent use of offensive language broadcast just after the watershed which, the complainants considered was not appropriate.

The pre-programme information provided by the continuity announcer referred to: 206highly offensive language in Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! Then, following the sponsorship credit, a warning was shown with a voiceover stating: Be prepared for scenes of intense aggression and HIGHLY [emphasis in the original] offensive language from the very start and throughout, which may distress some viewers .

The first story in this episode, broadcast from 21:02, featured two HCEAs attempting to recover 5,000 from a man who requested that they should leave his property. From approximately 21:04, and for about three minutes, 15 instances of the most offensive language were used, which consisted of 14 instances of the word fuck (and variations of it) and one instance of the word cunt .

Ofcom considered Rule 1.6 of the Code:

The transmission to more adult material must not be unduly abrupt at the watershed206For television, the strongest material should appear later in the schedule.

Channel 5 explained that its usual approach to ensure compliance with Rule 1.6 was that there should be no offensive language broadcast in the first seven minutes of a programme broadcast at 21:00 to ensure that the transition to more adult material after the watershed was not too abrupt.

However, occasionally, and with regard to this particular episode, the Licensee explained that the editorial requirements of the programme meant that this position was varied. It said that it had permitted the offensive language on this occasion because without it, the severity and volatility of the situation and the difficulties experienced by the HCEAs in carrying out their duties would have been unclear and incomprehensible to viewers. Channel 5 said that its decision to include the most offensive language soon after the watershed was not taken lightly and that it had been referred up to the highest levels of Channel 5 .

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.6

We acknowledged that there was a clear editorial context for the inclusion of the offensive language in the programme 203 to illustrate the type of challenging behaviour encountered by HCEAs in the course of their work. However, in Ofcom's view, this in itself did not provide sufficient editorial justification for this material to be broadcast at the very beginning of the programme soon after the watershed. We took the view that, even taking account of the editorial context and the strongly worded and voiced warning, it was still unlikely that viewers would have expected the frequent use of the most offensive language in an aggressive and confrontational manner at such a short time after the watershed on a public service channel like Channel 5.

We concluded that the programme was in breach of Rule 1.6.

 

 Updated: Real Housewives of ISIS...

BBC generates a little 'outrage' for poking fun at terrorists


Link Here 24th January 2017
real housewives of isis video A BBC comedy depicting brides of terrorists in a spoof reality show-style sketch has been criticised for being insensitive .

Revolting's Real Housewives of Isis a skit, based on the popular US television model recently exported to Britain, features actors dressed as brides of Isil fighters taking selfies and showing off suicide belts.

The Telegraph then listed a few politically correct whinges lifted from social media with none being from campaign groups or politicians etc.

Update: Why shouldn't we mock female jihadists?

7th January 2017 See  article from ibtimes.co.uk by Sara Khan, director of the counter-extremism and women's rights organisation Inspire

The short trailer provides a taste of not only the dry wit and sarcasm we Brits are well known for, but also provides the viewer a window into the ridiculous and absurd rationale of some of the women who chose to leave the UK for the murderous death cult.

As someone who has studied some of these female supporters and Isis' ideology on women, it was clear the writers had well and truly done their homework. They brilliantly displayed the oxymoron death to the West attitude of these British women, while mocking their all too obvious Western traits, la nguage, tastes and outlook.

...Read the full article from ibtimes.co.uk

Update: Complaints binned

24th January 2017See  article from chortle.co.uk

Ofcom logoTV censor Ofcom has inevitably decided not to launch an investigation into the satirical BBC sketch that featured The Real Housewives Of ISIS.

In the end, 55 viewers complained to Ofcom, which today announced it had assessed the complaints, but decided not to take the matter further. A spokesman said the show did not raise issues warranting investigation.

 

  Harrowing outrage...

A few whinges at the new BBC drama Apple Tree Yard


Link Here 24th January 2017
apple tree yardA few people and a rape campaign group have complained about a rape scene in the new BBC drama series, Apple Tree Yard.

The actress Emily Watson is seen being viciously slapped across the face twice after being unable to fight off her attacker before being pinned down and raped on a sofa.

The 36-second clip took place towards the end of the post watershed programme but the programme features some erotic romps5 minutes after the watershed.

TV censor Ofcom was said to be 'assessing whether to launch a formal investigation', which is standard code for complaints that head straight for the rubbish bin.

The sun dragged up the usual angry tweets, eg one saying that it was too much, very unsettling. I feel sick now.

And Rape Crisis England and Wales spokeswoman Katie Russell said many people will have been distressed by the harrowing scene.

Yesterday the BBC said it had broadcast a warning at the start and gave its action line number for any viewers affected.

 

  Totalitarian censorship and daytime TV...

Researchers find that strong language on TV is not a major wind up to viewers (but I couldn't work out what was)


Link Here 16th January 2017

leicester university logoResearchers from Leicester and Birmingham City University have revealed some of the key concerns audiences have with television they find offensive .

Dr Ranjana Das from the School of Media, Communication and Sociology and Dr Anne Graefer from the Birmingham School of Media travelled to towns and villages across Britain and Germany and watched daytime TV with audiences, viewing programmes audiences themselves reported to be offensive or problematic and then conducting interviews with them.

They found that rather than being concerned with swear words, bad language or flashy lighting, audiences' greater concerns were with wider issues -- such as those around the construction of characters, the relative power and positions of the actors/creators behind characters and the absence and erasure of faces and issues. Dr Das said:

We were keen, in our fieldwork, to probe audiences' expectations of the regulatory process in the context of media content they themselves identified as problematic or outright offensive.

In analysing responses which argued for a clearer role of institutions to better serve the needs of audiences, when it came to the production and regulation of content they found problematic, we found a closer alignment with the democratic ideals behind the media's and media institutions' responsibilities.

In investigating people's expectations of actors and institutions in their responses to television content that startles, upsets or just offends them, the researchers suggest it is crucial to treat a conversation on free speech and censorship with caution. Dr Das added:

It is never just about being for one or the other -- as audiences clearly despise totalitarian censorship regimes for right reasons. But equally, they place expectations on producers and regulators to create a media sphere which is engaging, responsible and which contributes to good outcomes for citizens.

 

  Reality Check...

The BBC thinks it is without sin, and so will cast the first stones at 'fake' news


Link Here 15th January 2017
BBC logoThe BBC is to assemble a team to fact check and debunk 'fake' news. News chief James Harding told staff that the BBC would be weighing in on the battle over lies, distortions and exaggerations . But he didn't mention the BBFC news policy of under exaggerating political motivations when these run counter to political correctness.

The plans will see the BBC's  Reality Check series become permanent, backed by a dedicated team targeting false stories or facts being shared widely on social media.  Harding said:

The BBC can't edit the internet, but we won't stand aside either. We will fact check the most popular outliers on Facebook, Instagram and other social media.

We are working with Facebook, in particular, to see how we can be most effective. Where we see deliberately misleading stories masquerading as news, we'll publish a Reality Check that says so.

And we want Reality Check to be more than a public service, we want it to be hugely popular. We will aim to use styles and formats -- online, on TV and on radio -- that ensure the facts are more fascinating and grabby than the falsehoods.

The BBC's Reality Check team will focus on content that is clearly fabricated and attempting to mislead the public into thinking it has been produced by a reputable news organisation.

 

 Update: Doesn't the BBC know how much fat cat TV censors cost these days?...

Ofcom charges the BBC double the current bill for censorship services, despite the supposed efficiencies of not having two bodies doing nearly the same job


Link Here 15th January 2017

Ofcom logoThe BBC is refusing an order to pay 9 million a year to the TV censor Ofcom, in a behind-the-scenes row over the cost of the corporation's new censorship regime.

Ofcom, which will take on responsibility for censoring the BBC in April, is locked in a private battle after warning BBC executives that it wants to appoint double the number of staff the BBC Trust, the broadcaster's current ruling body, currently employs to censor the broadcaster.

The move will add more than 5 million to the regulatory bill currently footed by the licence fee payer, roughly equivalent to what the BBC spends on a six-part drama series .

The corporation is understood to have appealed to Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, to force Ofcom to reduce its fees. Sue Owen, permanent secretary at the DCMS, is understood to have written to Sharon White, the chief executive of Ofcom, calling on her to cut the planned fees, but White is said to have argued that the proposed charges are 'reasonable'.

The corporation is said to be particularly annoyed that Ofcom has demanded 6.5 million for the past financial year, which covers a period before the broadcaster assumes its full regulatory duties.

Ofcom insists that it will have a more wide-ranging role than the Trust, and will have to hold the BBC to account on new political correctness issues such as diversity targets.

 

  A pale imitation...

Sky pulls Michael Jackson episode from satirical series, Urban Myths


Link Here 14th January 2017
urban mythsSky have pulled the broadcast of an episode of their satirical series Urban Myths after Michael Jackson's children said they were 'sickened' and 'offended' by the portrayal of their father, played by Joseph Fiennes.

The episode is a tongue-in-cheek dramatisation of a rumoured road trip taken by Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando in 2001, after 9/11.

The casting of a white actor as Jackson had already proved contentious, prompting accusations of whitewashing, though many pointed out that the singer's skin had been considerably lighter by this point and he had undergone cosmetic surgery.

However, Jackson's children were 'enraged'. Paris- Michael said:

It angers me to see how obviously intentional it was for them to be this insulting, not just towards my father, but my godmother, Liz, as well. Where is the respect? They worked through blood, sweat and tears for ages to create such profound and remarkable legacies. Shameful portrayal.

Speaking to the Guardian this week, Ben Palmer, the series director, said people should not jump to conclusions and described Fiennes's performance of Jackson as a really sweet, nuanced, characterful performance .

 

 Update: Never ending whingeing...

A few viewers are wound up by strong language on EastEnders


Link Here 14th January 2017  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints
Eastenders logoA few angry EastEnders viewers have lodged complaints with TV censor Ofcom after two characters in the BBC One soap used strong language before the watershed.

Sharon Mitchelll 'shocked' these viewers by calling Phil a stupid bastard  and smashed a cup in fury.

Michelle then had her turn at swearing while complaining about husband Tim no longer finding her attractive. She said:

However hard I worked out, however many times I skipped breakfast and lunch, all I had to do was look at a bagel. I might as well have shoved it down my trousers and sellotaped it to my arse.

She then slammed Walford's residents, accusing them of all shagging their neighbours.

Ofcom received 86 complaints.

An Ofcom spokesperson said: We will assess these complaints before deciding whether to investigate or not. Usually a phrase used to denote a rapid consignment to the waste paper bin.

Update: Binned

6th February 2017

And indeed Ofcom confirmed in its February 6th Complaints Bulletin that it had binned the 119 complaints about this episode.

 

  Tell Me Another...

Ofcom censors the use of the word 'coon' in a chat show anecdote from the 70's


Link Here 11th January 2017

tell me anotherTell Me Another
Talking Pictures TV, 24 August 2016, 19:00

Talking Pictures TV is an entertainment channel broadcasting classic films and archive programmes.

Tell Me Another was a talk show originally broadcast between 1976 and 1979 in which stars of the 1960s and 70s recalled personal anecdotes of their experiences in show business.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to the use of the word coon , which they found offensive.

The word featured in an anecdote told by the comedian and singer Joan Turner when describing her first professional appearance on stage at the age of 14 in a theatre in east London in 1937. She described how the dancing girls in the troupe used to tan their legs: in those days the girls didn't wear tights...they used to make their legs up with what they call 'wet white', but it was actually brown . She told how, because her legs were cold and very pale, she borrowed wet white from a dancer and used it to darken her legs and face. Her booking agent however responded by saying, Take that bloody stuff off. You look like a bloody chocolate coloured coon... put that on again, you're not coming on! .

Ofcom considered Rules:

  • Rule 1.14: The most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed .

  • Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context... Such material may include, but is not limited to...discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of...race) .

Talking Pictures TV said that the word complained about occurred in an episode originally broadcast in ITV regions at 18:30 in 1978 and later. It said while we don't wish to defend the use of the term 'coon', we recognise that this was part of the lexicon of the era when the series was first broadcast .

The Licensee pointed out that the word coon was included for the first time only in Ofcom research on offensive language published on 30 September 20161 - a date after the episode of Tell Me Another was broadcast. Previous Ofcom research, including that of 2012 did not assess the word coon .

Talking Pictures said as a result of this case it had stopped broadcasts of this particular episode of Tell Me Another, and also reviewed the whole series against Ofcom's 2016 offensive language research, to ensure it contained no language that raised concerns. It said it had also increased the frequency of warnings before archive movies and TV shows to forewarn viewers of outdated language.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rules 1.14 and 2.3

In our view it was not the interviewee's intention to be discriminatory towards an ethnic minority or to cause offence. However, we considered that the use of the phrase bloody chocolate coloured coon clearly conveyed a negative reaction by the booking agent to Ms Turner's skin colour. Even though the phrase was not directed at anyone from an ethnic minority or used in an aggressive manner, it also would have been likely to have been seen by viewers as conveying a discriminatory and racist attitude on the part of the booking agent. These factors, in our view, would have been likely to increase the potential level of offence and on balance made the use of these words inconsistent with viewers' expectations for this programme on this channel at this time, and particularly for any who may have come across this material unawares.

We acknowledged that the language was broadcast in the context of a comedy entertainment programme made in the 1970s which contained what was intended to be a comic anecdote about comments made in 1937. However, this offensive language (as acknowledged by the Licensee) was broadcast to viewers with no warning beforehand alerting them to potentially offensive language, and without any editorial voice, commentary or other context to mitigate sufficiently the potential offence. We did not consider the fact that the programme had been made many years previously or that the anecdote referred to an earlier era, when attitudes were different, provided sufficient context in this case. In particular, we took into account that this programme was broadcast before the watershed with a potential for children to be in the viewing audience, who would not necessarily have been aware of historical differences in attitudes to offensive language.

Given all these factors, in this case we considered the word coon was an example of the most offensive language broadcast before the watershed in breach of Rule 1.14.

 

  Ofcom gives Fox an ear bashing...

But The Walking Dead was censored enough to keep Ofcom happy about a 9pm airing


Link Here 10th January 2017
walking dead s7Fox showed a censored opening episode of season 7 of The Walking Dead at 9pm. The episode showed Negan bludgeoning two popular characters to death. Fox carried the episode uncut on its on demand service and the original was indeed quite gruesome by TV standards.

Ofcom published its complain bulletin this week and commented that the episode was investigated and found not in breach of its censorship rules.

Ofcom didn't publish further details but the story was followed up by The Sun. An Ofcom spokesperson said:

Our investigation found that Fox took appropriate steps to edit the programme for the 9pm showing.

This is a well-established series, and we believe the scenes would have been consistent with many viewers' expectations.

However, Ofcom confirmed to The Sun that Fox has been warned about how future broadcasts are presented to fans.

 

  New Year mischief...

BBC tried to gag Robbie Williams but he was having none of it


Link Here 6th January 2017
robbie williams censored video The BBC have responded to complaints about a Robbie Williams concert playing before and after the New Year countdown.

It is now a characteristic of the BBC News to desperately avoid mentioning anything that may not be politically correct even if t leaves readers totally baffled. Here is what the BBC said about the complaints:

We received complaints from some viewers unhappy with elements of the Robbie Williams concert broadcast in the build-up to and after the fireworks.

BBC One has a long-standing history of ringing in the New Year with our audience.  In recent years we have sought to enhance this special night by showcasing special live performances by some of the most successful artists/entertainers around.

Robbie Williams is no exception to this; he is one of the UK's most successful solo male artists with an incredibly successful songbook of popular hits and millions tuned in to watch his live performance. Robbie's on-stage persona is now very well known, intended as tongue-in-cheek and that is very much part of his appeal. However, we do appreciate that it may not be to everyone's taste.

Although the live concert started nearly two and a half hours after the 9pm watershed, and followed a late evening of adult-skewed programming, namely Mrs Brown's Boys and The Graham Norton Show , we were mindful of the wider audience who might join BBC One to watch the fireworks. Robbie Williams was aware of this, and we placed particular emphasis on the part of his concert running up to the fireworks.

This was not a BBC event and whilst it was unfortunate that some of the staging, Robbie's stage antics, and the language upset some viewers, we hoped it was at least clear from watching it that Robbie had been clearly briefed about any use of strong language beforehand by BBC Management.

We hope that for the majority of viewers watching BBC One, the tone of the overall concert remained within general audience expectations for what was billed as a unique late-night Robbie Williams live performance.

It's a good job other news sources can actually say what was actually going on. The Metro revealed:

Robbie Williams will have royally pissed off the BBC after getting his live audience to swear on TV.

The notoriously naughty singer was live from Central Hall in Westminster on December 31 building up to Big Ben's momentous chimes with a New Year's Eve concert and after two songs, he was quick to tell everyone that Beeb bosses had banned him from saying the F word, the C word, and the S word .

But that wasn't going to stop Robbie, who instead realised that he was never told he couldn't get his fans to swear for him. What followed a rendition of his hit Come Undone with the crowd singing the words he was not allowed to sing -- and fans at home were loving it.

Update: Ofcom uninterested

24th January 2017

Ofcom have dismissed 14 complaints about the Robbie Williams televised concert without a formal investgation.