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 2017: Oct-Dec

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Ofcom's top 10 TV programmes for 2017...

As judged by the most complaints


Link Here 28th December 2017
The Scotsman has published Ofcom's top 10 most complained about TV programmes for 2017:

1. Good Morning Britain, ITV, 5 September (1,142 complaints)

Dr Michael Davidson described homosexuality as a "sin" and "a socially constructed concept".

2. Press Preview, Sky News, 20 June (1,063 complaints)

British journalist Melanie Phillips suggested that amongst the world's Muslim population "there are millions of people to try to kill others."

3. Britain's Got Talent, ITV, 1 June (665 complaints)

Presenter Amanda Holden offended the easily offended with a sexy dress.

4. Coronation Street, ITV, 27 October (541 complaints)

The murderous Pat Phelan was a little too nasty for some viewers.

5. Comic Relief 2017, BBC 1, 24 March (339 complaints)

Comedian Russell Brand said 'fuck' before the watershed and former Shooting Stars presenter Vic Reeves flashed a fake penis at

6. Emmerdale, ITV, 6 March (275 complaints)

Aaron Dingle suffered homophobic abuse from fellow prison inmates before being beaten up.

7. I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! ITV, 7 December (243 complaints)

Iain Lee and ex-footballer Dennis Wise became embroiled in a bullying row.

8. This Morning, ITV, 13 November (181 complaints)

Guest Andrea Williams of the Christian Legal Centre. Williams referred to the transgender identity as "a fad".

9. Good Morning Britain, ITV, 20 June (176 complaints)

Good Morning Britian was criticised for hosting right-wing figure Tommy Robinson who made commented about the Qur'an as a violent and cursed book.

10. Benidorm, ITV, 3 May (137 complaints)

The sitcom Benidorm received a number of complaints following comments towards a character with a cleft lip.

 

 

Offsite Article: Less Lucille...


Link Here 24th December 2017
The opener for the 7th season of the Walking Dead made the news in the UK for its violence. but it had in fact been cut. Movie-censorship.com has revealed the UK TV cuts

See article from movie-censorship.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Lucile is thirsty...


Link Here 21st December 2017
Movie-Censorship.com reveals the TV cuts to the opening episode of The Walking Dead Season 7

See article from movie-censorship.com

 

 

Touched a sensitive spot...

The BBFC receive a few whinges about apprentices measuring the inside leg of a male model


Link Here 15th December 2017

An episode of The Apprentice where female contestants ogled male models has sparked a few complaints to the BBC.

The women not only encouraged the men to show their six-packs, but one contestant also got dangerously close to touching the crotch of one of them, as she measured his inside leg.

The footage of Elizabeth McKenna and Michaela Wain casting the person for their fashion show was branded inappropriate by some of the members of the audience.

The BBC revealed it had received 158 complaints about the scene, making it the most complained-about show on the BBC in the last fortnight. The BBC wrote:

We received complaints from some viewers that the candidates behaved inappropriately in the male model casting audition.

We raised audience concerns with The Apprentice production team. They would like to reassure everyone that neither the models nor anyone present during the filming of the scene felt that anyone's behaviour was inappropriate, nor were they unhappy with the events portrayed on screen. The audition was intended to be viewed as being light-hearted, which was very much in the spirit of the events that the candidates were tasked with planning.

 

 

Modern rules disallow vintage comedy...

TV adverts refused for stand up comedian's DVD due to his smoking


Link Here 8th December 2017
Footage of Sunderland comedy hero Bobby Thompson has been deemed unsuitable for TV adverts because he smokes too much on stage.

His DVD The Little Waster was recorded in 1982. Distributors wanted to advertise it on TV this Christmas, but were told that the Woodbine hanging constantly in his hand would break the advertising code.

And some of the jokes he cracked were deemed too offensive to modern ears, so had to be avoided too.

Clearcast, which works with TV advertisers to make sure their commercials comply with ASA guidelines said:

We were recently asked to approve an ad for a Bobby Thompson DVD. We were unable to approve the ad at this stage because it showed an excessive amount of cigarette smoke and [the rules] state, "Advertisements must not promote smoking or the use of tobacco products".

 

 

Offsite Article: BBFC Podcast Episode 76...


Link Here 7th December 2017
Breaking Bad. The BBFC discuss the classification of TV programmes extensively featuring drug use

See article from bbfc.co.uk

 

 

Unwanted censorship...

TV censor whinges at a brief sex scene broadcast 3 minutes after the watershed in the film Wanted


Link Here 4th December 2017
Wanted is a 2008 USA / Germany action crime fantasy by Timur Bekmambetov.
Starring Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman. BBFC link IMDb

A young man finds out his long lost father is an assassin. When his father is murdered, the son is recruited into his father's old organization and trained by a man named Sloan to follow in his dad's footsteps.

The film is 18 rated by the BBFC for strong bloody violence.

Wanted
Sky1, 18 September 2017, 21:00

Wanted is a film about an office worker, Wesley, who learns that he is the son of a professional assassin and that he shares his father's superhuman killing abilities. It is an action thriller that was classified at an 18 rating by the British Board of Film Classification in 2008.

Ofcom received a complaint about the broadcast of the word fucking and a sex scene shortly after the watershed. The complainant said that her 11 year old son was watching and that she considered the scene unsuitable for the time of broadcast.

The film was scheduled to start shortly after the 21:00 watershed. From 18:30 to 21:00, five episodes of The Simpsons were broadcast.

The film cut at 21:03 to a scene in which Wesley’s girlfriend and friend, Cathy and Barry, were shown having sex on a kitchen table. Barry was naked from the waist down, while Cathy was in a skirt and bra. Barry was shown standing while having sex with Cathy, who lay on the table with her legs wrapped around him, slapping his buttocks. The scene was shot mainly from the side and behind Barry. It lasted about 10 seconds.

We considered Rule 1.6:

  •  The transition to more adult material must not be unduly abrupt at the watershed (in the case of television) …For television, the strongest material should appear later in the schedule.

We first assessed whether the sex scene was more adult material. We considered that, although relatively brief, and although the couple were partially clothed, it clearly depicted them having sex. In addition, at the same time as the sex scene, the word fucking was used. Ofcom's 2016 research on offensive language4 highlighted that the word fuck and similar words are considered by audiences to be among the most offensive language. Therefore, in our view, this material was aimed at an adult audience and could be considered more adult material in the context of Rule 1.6.

We considered that broadcasting a sex scene and an instance of the most offensive language three minutes after the watershed, and on a channel which had just broadcast family entertainment, was an unduly abrupt transition to more adult material.

Ofcom's Decision is that the material was in breach of Rule 1.6.

 

 

Straight white men need not apply, there's obviously too many already...

Ofcom boss seeks to impose diversity requirements on the BBC


Link Here 23rd November 2017

About this proposal for Baywatch Changing Rooms. How is that 'diverse?

 It celebrates the sexuality of the community of people who are both transgender and gay. In particular those who are uncomfortable in their roles as straight men and who  fantasise about identifying as gay women
.

Ofcom boss Sharon White has urged the BBC to lead the way on diversity in a talk at the Westminster Media Forum.

She spoke as the TV censor published revised guidance for broadcasters on promoting equal employment.

White told the forum that nothing has the power to shape our culture, values and national identity as much as television.  She said arge numbers of older people, particularly women, say they feel negatively portrayed on screen. And of those who come from an ethnic minority group, many see themselves portrayed neutrally or negatively.

There was an urgent need for broadcasters to reach and reflect every corner of modern Britain, White said.

To ensure the BBC delivers on screen, Ofcom is launching an in-depth review to understand how well the corporation represents and portrays all members of society.  She said:

We will be looking at the range and portrayal of people on screen (and) on air, including in popular peak-time shows.

Ofcom is requiring the BBC to implement a new Commissioning Code of Practice for diversity, covering both on-screen portrayal and casting, as well as workforce diversity.

 

 

Ofcom threatened to light Gunpowder under the BBC's arse...

The BBC set to start producing viewer complaint figures once a fortnight


Link Here 15th November 2017

The BBC is to publish detailed information about the complaints it receives from viewers after Ofcom , the TV censor, demanded that the corporation become more transparent.

Under new rules the BBC will have to reveal the number of complaints it receives every fortnight, identify the shows that received more than 100 complaints, and explain the editorial issues raised by the complaints and whether they were upheld.

Ofcom's demand has prompted an angry response from the BBC, which initially fought against publishing the figures amid concerns that it would be expensive and time-consuming.

The BBC is expected to publish the first wave of information about complaints under the new system within the next few days.

 

 

You can't joke about that!...

BBC respond to complaints that the Have I Got News for You panel made light of low level supposed sex harassment at Westminster


Link Here 9th November 2017

Have I Got News For You
BBC One, 3 November 2017

Complaint

We received complaints from some viewers about the programme's coverage of recent allegations of sexual harassment at Westminster.

Response

Have I Got News For You is a long-running panel show that takes a satirical approach to covering the latest news stories and events. It has built a reputation for irreverent satire and, as such, contains jokes and provocative comment rather than genuine political reporting or debate.

The programme has dealt with many subjects over the last 27 years, and this show reflected the speculation around the biggest news story at the time of record. Given the extensive coverage that arose from allegations of sexual misconduct in Westminster it would have been odd for Have I Got News For You to ignore this story.

Guests are booked in advance, rather than for particular topics, and we try very hard to book guests from all areas of the political spectrum. This means there will sometimes be panel members with views that the audience and others on the show may disagree with. We do not necessarily share or endorse the views of the panellists and their material doesn't reflect the opinions of the BBC. The host is also there to chair the show and to add perspective and balance when needs be 203 as we saw when Jo Brand made her points so eloquently in taking panel members to task in this edition.

While most viewers know what to expect from the programme, it doesn't set out to deliberately offend viewers. Its purpose is to be entertaining and to maintain the standards the show has set over the last 27 years. That said, we accept that tastes vary enormously and that some viewers might have a different point of view.

 

 

Pat Phelan storyline is a big hit for Coronation Street...

Lots of 'outrage', publicity and complaints to Ofcom


Link Here 8th November 2017
Coronation Street has scored a big hit with their Pat Phelan baddie. The shock double murder last week had kidnapper Phelan forceing Andy Carver to shoot fellow captive Vinny Ashford, Phelan then shot Andy in cold blood.

The plot sparked almost 400 complaints to Ofcom and yesterday chat show king Michael Parkinson said it was more suited to a horror channel.

But the show's producer, Kate Oates said:

I've realised I've split the audience with Phelan.  In terms of what we showed, yes it was pretty dark but one of the reasons people found it so disarming is that it was truthfully written, when sometimes these things can be tongue in cheek.

She said fans are in for a treat when Phelan finally gets his comeuppance.

 

 

You can't say that...

Harriet Harman offends for repeating a joke on TV that she wanted to point out as offensive


Link Here 4th November 2017
The former Labour deputy leader, Harriet Harman, recounted a joke on live TV as she complained she had been branded humourless for objecting to offensive and hurtful material.

Now a Jewish advocacy group is demanding an apology for repeating the joke about the Holocaust an Andrew Neil's political chat show, This Week.

But Harman insisted that she recounted the joke in order to show that anti-Semitic humour was no laughing matter. During a debate on the limits of acceptable humour, Harman said:

I've long been accused of being a humourless feminist and I'll give you two examples that I protested about because they were offensive and hurtful. Two jokes. One was 'How do you get 100 Jews into a Mini? One in the driver's seat and 99 in the ashtray'. That's not funny.

Cutting her short, Neil responded:

We'll stop with that one example.

As he turned to speak to another guest, the former Labour deputy leader attempted to interrupt in order to justify her decision to repeat the joke, only for Neil to tell her: Be quiet.

The broadcaster later explained his handling of the incident on Twitter, saying he was appalled and even a little bit upset by what she said.

And the chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, Simon Johnson, demanded an apology from Harman for what he termed a staggering error of judgment.  I cannot recall being so disappointed in a politician, said Johnson.

Update: Complaints to Ofcom

6th November 2017

Ofcom announced that it received 26 complaints about violence in Gunpowder and inevitably these have been officially consigned to the wastepaper bin, nominally awaiting a first response from the BBC.

 

 

 

Updated: A few fireworks...

'Shocked' tweeters recommend the BBC's drama Gunpowder


Link Here 26th October 2017
The BBC's new primetime drama, Gunpowder , was described by a few 'outraged' tweeters as unnecessarily gruesome and brutal over graphic scenes of violence.

The post watershed three-part series chronicles the plot to blow up the House of Lords in 1605. The opening episode contained close-up scenes of a young priest being hung, drawn and quartered and a woman stripped naked before being crushed to death by a stone slab.

One whinger said she felt traumatised by the hideously brutal scenes, while another commented: This execution scene is one of the most painful things I've ever witnessed on TV.

Sally Abbott, the lead writer on BBC1 crime drama The Coroner , said she thought Gunpowder was a very good drama ...BUT... she said she felt compelled to change channels during the scene of a woman being stripped and tortured, which she said made my heart sink in the context of the revelations about actors being sexually harassed by Harvey Weinstein.

A BBC spokeswoman said:

The scenes aired after 9.30pm with a clear warning given to viewers before the episode started. The methods depicted are grounded in historical fact and reflect what took place during the time of the gunpowder plot.

Update: BBC response

26th October 2017 See  article from bbc.co.uk

Complaint

We received complaints from people who were unhappy about the portrayal of violence in this historical drama, and in particular the execution scenes in episode one.

Response

The gunpowder plot is one of the best known stories in Britain and this drama looks at the history behind it. The execution scenes served to establish the motives behind the plot. We felt it was important to understand the prevalence and the brutality of religious persecution at that time in order to comprehend the murderous acts envisaged by the plotters. The methods depicted are grounded in historical fact, and we sought to portray them accurately and realistically.

However, we appreciate that some scenes might upset viewers despite the historical accuracy so we took care with scheduling and we included a clear warning before episode one started. The starkest sequence in the first episode came after 9.30pm, with earlier scenes having set the tone and given viewers a sense of what was to follow.

Update: Complaints to Ofcom

6th November 2017

Ofcom announced that it received 37 complaints about race discrimination and offence. Inevitably these have been officially consigned to the wastepaper bin, nominally awaiting a first response from the BBC.

 

 

Cleaning up TV...

Ofcom get nasty to force TV companies to snoop on the religion and sexuality of workers and contractors so that Ofcom can demand discriminatory policies of who is allowed to work in TV


Link Here 24th October 2017
Ofcom threatened:

We have investigated 67 licensees in total who failed to respond to our information request by the required deadline, or who provided an incomplete response and we have published our findings on them in this bulletin.

Ofcom considers the breaches we have found to be serious and we will be engaging with these licensees on this matter. We will request diversity and equal opportunities information annually and if the breaches continue, we will consider the imposition of statutory sanctions.

We have examined in detail the arrangements each licensee has in place to promote equal employment opportunities and training, in line with their licence conditions, and we will be contacting licensees we assess to have inadequate arrangements in place.

Monitoring of the radio industry

Ofcom has already started engaging with the radio industry to discuss equal opportunities and diversity and we will begin our monitoring of radio broadcasters shortly. Each licensee will be sent an information request, detailing exactly what information we are collecting, when it is required and what action each licensee needs to take to comply with the request.

Further monitoring of the television and radio industry

We've committed to monitoring the broadcasting industry on an annual basis and publishing the results. Therefore, in 2018 we will be requesting, as a minimum, information on the same protected characteristics of gender, racial group, disability, sexual orientation, age, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity, and gender reassignment. We are also very keen to understand the make-up of the industry in terms of additional characteristics such as social, geographic and educational background, and we welcome feedback on how this can be measured and improved.

 

 

You can't do that...

Muslim Council of Britain recommends Channel 4's My Week as a Muslim


Link Here 23rd October 2017
The Muslim Council of Britain has claimed that a Channel 4 documentary, in which a white woman is given the appearance of a Pakistani Muslim in order to experience public attitudes and Islamophobia, has caused deep offence. A spokesperson for the MCB said:

The use of brownface and blackface has a long racist history and it is not surprising that it has caused deep offence amongst some communities. Had we been consulted, we would not have advised this approach.

We do, however, laud the apparent goals of the documentary -- to better understand the reality of Islamophobia, which has become socially accepted across broader society.

In a press release announcing the documentary, Channel 4 said it was an immersive programme that will explore what it's like to be a Muslim in Britain today and challenge some of the assumptions and prejudices that different communities in the UK have about each other.

Fozia Khan, the documentary's executive producer, said the idea for the film came after the EU referendum and the rise in Islamophobia that followed. We saw divided communities, people living side by side but not mixing. We wanted to do something bold, a kind of social experiment: to take someone with no exposure to the Muslim community and give her a really authentic experience.

My Week As a Muslim airs on Monday 23 October at 9pm on Channel 4.

 

 

Nothing will change!...

Good Morning Britain takes over as Ofcom's top TV programme with 1121 complaints about a segment on gay cure


Link Here 18th October 2017
Ofcom received record-breaking levels of complaints about a segment on Good Morning Britain featuring a gay cure therapist. On September 5, the ITV daytime show aired a discussion between host Piers Morgan, Liverpool Echo journalist Josh Parry and gay cure therapist Dr Michael Davidson.

LGBT groups condemned the segment for irresponsibly giving a platform to gay cure therapy, which has been disavowed by every psychiatric and medical body in the country and is banned on the NHS.

It has emerged that the episode attracted a total of 1121 complaints to TV censor Ofcom, with 672 complaining about Sexual orientation discrimination/offence, and 449 complaints about a lack of impartiality.

 

 

Smoking Hot...

House of Lords questioning criticises smoking on ITV's Love Island


Link Here 17th October 2017

Lord Storey Not So Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Education)

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to strengthen the broadcasting code in relation to smoking on reality TV shows, particularly those aimed at young people.

Lord Ashton of Hyde The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

My Lords, as the independent regulator, decisions on amending the Broadcasting Code are rightly a matter for Ofcom. Ofcom takes the protection of children and young people very seriously, and that is why there are already specific restrictions on the portrayal of smoking on television.

Lord Storey

I thank the Minister for his reply. I do not know whether he is a regular watcher of Love Island, but the ITV website describes that programme as an, emotional feast of lust and passion in the sun.

The same website says that the programme captures 56% share of 16-34 viewers.

On this programme, those contestants are regularly smoking. What message does that send to young people -- that I can live a glamorous life if I smoke as well? I am surprised that the Ofcom Broadcasting Code says that smoking must not be,

"glamorised in ... programmes likely to be widely seen, heard or accessed by under-eighteens unless there is editorial justification".

Does the Minister think that Ofcom should take action on this matter?

Lord Ashton of Hyde

My Lords, I am not a regular watcher of Love Island, but I cannot help noticing that the House is unusually full today. Obviously, as I said, it is a matter for Ofcom. The Broadcasting Code is there to be regulated by Ofcom, and that is what Ofcom is there for. Any complaints about a programme will be investigated by Ofcom, and it is up to anyone who has concerns about smoking in this programme to complain to Ofcom. Incidentally, to put this into perspective, Ofcom had just under 15,000 complaints last year and 75 related to smoking on Love Island.

 

 

Update: An unbalanced complaint...

Ofcom clears an Al Jazeera documentary which revealed political plotting at the Israeli Embassy in London


Link Here 10th October 2017
Full story: Al Jazeera censored in the Middle East...The Middle East doesn't like the balanced reportng of Al Jazeera
Qatar is under the cosh in the Middle East caught in a deadly pincer movement of a Saudi led coalition of Arab countries on one side and Israel on the other. All these countries object to Qatar's funding of the Al Jazeera news channel which provides seeming well balanced reporting across the region in both Arabic and English. Its seems that Qatar's neighbours would prefer the news to be dominated by their own, not quite so balanced, news networks, that are a little bit more sycophantic to their own interests.

So perhaps it was hardly surprising that an Al Jazeera documentary investigating the Isreali Embassy in London would be reported to Ofcom for supposed bias.

The UK TV censor Ofcom investigated Al Jazeera after receiving complaints about The Lobby , a four-part documentary investigating the political influence of the Israeli embassy in Britain.

The programme showed Shai Masot, an official in the Israeli embassy in London, saying he would take down MPs including Sir Alan Duncan , the Foreign Office minister who is an outspoken supporter of a Palestinian state. The Israeli ambassador subsequently apologised for the comments and Masot resigned.

Ofcom cleared al-Jazeera after concluding it did not make allegations in the documentary that were based on the grounds of individuals being Jewish and that it had included the view of the Israeli government in the programme. It ruled that al-Jazeera had not breached rule 2.3, which relates to offensive matter, and rule 5.5 with regards to impartiality. Ofcom said:

It was the view of some complainants that The Lobby fuelled harmful stereotypes about Jewish people controlling or seeking to control powerful organisations. These complainants considered this was antisemitic and offensive.

We considered that the allegations in the programme were not made on the grounds that any of the particular individuals concerned were Jewish and noted that no claims were made relating to their faith. We did not consider that the programme portrayed any negative stereotypes of Jewish people as controlling or seeking to control the media or governments. Rather, it was our view that these individuals featured in the programme in the context of its investigation into the alleged activities of a foreign state -- the state of Israel acting through its UK embassy -- and their association with it.

An al-Jazeera source welcomed the ruling, saying:

This goes to show that no matter what al-Jazeera's critics say, its journalism meets and exceeds the highest standards of objectivity and balance. We feel vindicated by the rulings and ever more committed to exposing human rights violations by anyone -- regardless of geography, religion, or the power of their lobbies.

 

 

A complaint about transparency...

Ofcom tells the BBC to publish detailed viewer complaints figures about its programmes


Link Here 7th October 2017

The BBC is facing a court battle after it defied Ofcom orders to publish figures on complaints about its shows.

Channel 4 and ITV already disclose the numbers, and release detailed information about objections to their programmes every two weeks. But the BBC nsists on keeping that information a secret. Perhaps this more about revealing political accusations of bias rather than trivial whinges by the 'easily offended.

Now TV censor Ofcom has waded in and told the BBC it has no choice but to become more transparent. Ofcom insiders have also made it clear that they are prepared to go to court over the matter if the BBC digs its heels in. Sharon White, Ofcom's chief executive, regards it as an important point of principle.

Kevin Bakhurst, an Ofcom director and a former BBC news boss, has told Corporation executives they need to comply. In a strongly worded letter, seen by the Mail, he said:

The greater transparency we propose is necessary to build and maintain public confidence in the operation of the BBC... and to provide public accountability.

Ofcom has given the BBC until the November 19 to comply with orders and publish fortnightly complaints bulletins that go into the same level of detail as Ofcom's reports about Channel 4, ITV, Five, Sky and other broadcasters.

BBC bosses will then have to publish the exact number of complaints the Corporation receives about every programme that registers 100 or more objections. Every time a complaint sparks an investigation, it will also be forced to disclose full details of the complaints, the points of principles at stake and the outcome of its probe.

A BBC spokesman has responded:

The BBC is already the most transparent broadcaster on complaints, including publishing data every month and responding on our website, and numbers are often influenced by orchestrated political campaigns but of course we are considering Ofcom's letter.

 

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