UK TV and Radio News


2018: April-June

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Squeaky clean...

Ofcom bins a few more whinges about soaps Emmerdale and Coronation Street


Link Here 5th June 2018
Ofcom has rejected about 100 complaints about a recent murder scene in Emmerdale .

Ex-prisoner Gerry Roberts, played by Shaun Thomas, was killed by Lachlan White (Thomas Atkinson) in a scene broadcast last month.

An Ofcom spokeswoman said complaints were dismissed because they found no graphic details were shown on screen. She said:

We carefully assessed complaints that scenes involving violence were not suitable for broadcast before the watershed. The scenes were also part of a long-running storyline, which would have been within regular viewers' expectations.

Ofcom also received 11 complaints about a male suicide storyline in Coronation Street, where Aidan Connor, played by Shayne Ward, took his own life. The Ofcom spokeswoman said:

We considered a small number of complaints about this storyline involving a character ending his life. However, neither the suicide nor the body were shown. We also took into account that clear warnings were provided at the start of the programme, and that ITV worked closely with the Samaritans when creating the storyline.

 

 

Updated: The Sex Business...

21, 22, 23 May on Channel 5 at 10pm


Link Here 26th May 2018
A new documentary on the porn industry, featuring interviews with well-known British adult performers Ashley Ryder and Kiki Minaj, airs on Channel 5 over 3 nights, Monday to Wednesday at 10pm.

If the advance previews of The Sex Business are any indication, both Ryder and Minaj speak in generally positive terms about their experiences working in porn.

The first episode is titled Porn Stars , while parts two and three are called Working From Home and Working the Streets , and focus on the escort business and street prostitution, respectively.

Update: A few complaints

26th May 2018. See  article from thesun.co.uk

Channel 5's The Sex Business featured full romps, a close-up of a male climax, violent S&M and street hookers using drugs. Channel 5's The Sex Business featured hookers, prostitutes and a dominatrix. Other scenes were too explicit to describe in a family newspaper.

Three 10pm episodes looked at the lives of porn stars, home-based hookers and street prostitutes.

The episode about the escorts earned 15 complaints to Ofcom whilst the porn episode scored 21.

 

 

Updated: Nervy times...

The Telegraph reports that Ofcom will not ban RT over its take on the Salisbury nerve agent attack


Link Here 24th May 2018
Russia's international propaganda channel RT will not lose its UK broadcasting licence according to information reported by the Telegraph.

Ofcom has been investigating the news channel for continuously casting doubt about the Russian connection in the attempted murder of ex spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury.

Perhaps it is rather bizarre that a news content censors should be tasked with something that could lead to consequences such as retaliatory action and a further escalation of an already tense relationship with Russia. Surely when such risks are involved, diplomats and the Foreign Office should be taking the lead.

Perhaps Ofcom were thinking along these lines in taking the decision not to ban the channel. In a legal document entitled Update on the RT service , Ofcom has now said:

States sometimes commit, or will have committed, acts which are contrary to these values. In our judgment, it would be inappropriate for Ofcom always to place decisive weight on such matters in determining whether state-funded broadcasters were fit and proper to hold broadcast licences, independently of their broadcasting record.

If we did, many state-funded broadcasters (mostly those from states which may not share UK values) would be potentially not fit and proper. This would be a poorer outcome for UK audiences in light of our duties on plurality, diversity and freedom of expression.

Ofcom were a bit more bullish at the start of the investigation saying:

Should the UK investigating authorities determine that there was an unlawful use of force by the Russian State against the UK, we would consider this relevant to our ongoing duty to be satisfied that RT is fit and proper, the regulator said at the time.

Also it is a little strange to note that the Telegraph's story has not been picked up by other newspapers. The Express initially published the story but withdrew it a little later.

Update: Tit for tat

24th May 2018. From the FT

Ofcom have jsut announced that that 3 further programmes on the Russian propaganda channel RT will be investigated after an Ofcom move to continuously monitor the station's output. In response, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova has informed reporters that relevant Russian structures have begun closely studying the content of the materials of the British mass media that are represented in the Russian Federation.

 

 

Out of Order...

Frankie Boyle says that the BBC edited out comments about Israel and Gaza from his New World Order show


Link Here 23rd May 2018
Frankie Boyle has accused BBC television producers of editing out comments he made about last week's Palestinian deaths on the Gaza border and his joke about Israel being an Apartheid state.

The outspoken comic called out the censorship after he was screened discussing left-wing antisemitism with guest David Baddiel on last Friday's episode of his New World Order chat show series on BBC2.

Responding to criticism from viewers that he had failed to address the deaths of over 60 Palestinians following demonstrations in Gaza, Boyle tweeted:

There were, of course, various jokes in this weeks's New World Order monologue about the situation in Gaza, and about Israel being an Apartheid state.  Edited out for reasons nobody has yet explained to me, despite assurances to the contrary.

Ok. Happy to quote this sentiment, which I've had from literally hundreds of people, that anti-semitism in Britain should not be discussed while Israel commits warcrimes. The idea that Jewish people have collective responsibility for Israel is racist. Have a great day

 

 

Dog-eared offerings...

Secret Window cut for Horror Channel broadcast


Link Here 14th May 2018

It appears that the Johnny Depp psychological horror thriller from 2004, of Secret Window, an adaptation of a Stephen King book, proved too much for The Horror Channel who censored it for the early evening showing on this Sunday night.

The jump cut is to when Depp's character finds his mutilated and very dead dog outside his wooden cabin wrapped under a sheet. All we see is a very quick 5 second jump cut and a micro flash to the dog, instead of seeing its head and then slightly later full body shot under the sheet at 24 mins 57 secs lasting until 25 mins and 2 secs (NTSC timings).

Surprising cut since The Horror Channel often shows bloody trailers throughout the day of far worse scenes of new films going to be shown for the next month as well as current films.

Maybe suspicions of a BBFC influenced animal cruelty cuts policy here on said channel?

 

 

Hat rack...

BBC lets Newsnight off for its Corbyn's Russian hat slur


Link Here 11th May 2018
The BBC has published its findings after investigating the rather blatant knock at Jeremy Corbyn on Newsnight. Newsnight used an image of Corbyn in a Russian style hat set amongst Moscow images as the back lot for a critical news piece. The BBC writes:

Newsnight
BBC Two, 15 March 2018
Use of Jeremy Corbyn's image

Finding by the Executive Complaints Unit

This edition of Newsnight was broadcast at a time of heightened interest in UK/Russian relations following the nerve agent attack in Salisbury. The programme focused on Jeremy Corbyn's position in the House of Commons on the previous day, and an image of him, set against a Moscow-inspired skyline, was used as the backdrop for the introduction and a later studio discussion. 48 people complained to the Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) that the backdrop had been deliberately contrived to convey an impression of pro-Russian sympathy on Mr Corbyn's part, on one or more of the following grounds:

that the image had been manipulated to make Mr Corbyn look more Russian than in the photograph from which it had been taken, particularly by altering the appearance of his hat;that the superimposition of the image on such a background compounded this;that the selection of a photograph in which he was wearing what some described as a Lenin-style cap was also intended to suggest a Russian association.

Some also complained that the programme's choice of focus represented bias against Mr Corbyn.

After investigation, the ECU reached the following findings.

Manipulation of the image

Many complainants maintained that the image had been photo-shopped , in terms which reflected what the Guardian columnist Owen Jones said in the following evening's edition of Newsnight:

Yesterday, the background to your programme, you have Jeremy Corbyn dressed up against the Kremlin skyline...dressed up as a Soviet stooge...you even photo-shopped his hat to look more Russian.

Some illustrated their complaints with copies of the original photograph next to a screen-grab of the equivalent image in the programme, in which the hat did appear to be slightly taller. This, however, was not the result of photo-shopping or otherwise manipulating the image. It resulted from the fact that the screen onto which the image was projected is curved, meaning that the image as a whole appeared higher in relation to its width than it would on a flat surface.

The BBC made clear from the outset that the photograph had not been photo-shopped or manipulated to make Mr Corbyn seem more Russian, and some complainants understood this as a claim that it had been shown unaltered. However, it was immediately apparent from the backdrop that the source images had been modified in some respects. In fact, the graphics team had increased the contrast to ensure enough definition on screen, and given the whole backdrop a colour wash for a stylised effect (as the then Acting Editor of Newsnight explained on Twitter). Newsnight's graphics team regularly treats images of politicians from all parties, and other,s in this way, to create a strong studio backdrop for whichever story is being covered. As a result of this treatment, much of the detail of Mr Corbyn's hat visible in the original photograph was lost, and the hat appeared in silhouette. This was the effect which suggested to some complainants a likeness to a Russian-style fur hat.

Superimposition of the image on a Moscow-inspired skyline

Visual montage is a commonly-used device in TV programmes to highlight a story or theme. The use of the technique in news programmes such as Newsnight is intended to epitomise the story rather than to express or invite a particular attitude to it, and the montage used in the item in question was no exception. The backdrop in the previous evening's edition of Newsnight , which focused on the current state of relations between Britain and Russia, also included a Moscow-related image. As the focus of the 15 March item was on Mr Corbyn's reaction to the claim that Russia was responsible for the nerve agent attack, it was entirely apt for the backdrop to combine his image with this backdrop.

Selection of the photograph

The photograph was chosen because it was a typical and readily recognisable image of Mr Corbyn, of a kind which has been used many times across the media without remark. Complaints about its use on this occasion focussed on the supposedly Russian associations of the Lenin-style cap he was wearing, but this objection conflicts with the objections of those who maintained that it was the alleged photo-shopping of the hat which gave it a more Russian appearance. Neither objection has any basis in fact.

Choice of focus

The reasons for Newsnight s choice of focus were made clear in the introduction to the item by the presenter, Emily Maitlis:

Did Jeremy Corbyn misread the mood of his party in the Commons yesterday when he refused to point the finger at Russia? Last night a group of Labour backbenchers said it unequivocally accepts the Russian state's culpability for the spy poisoning. Overnight they were joined by senior frontbenchers, who command the defence and foreign affairs briefs. Today, Corbyn clarified, stressing his condemnation of the attack and saying the evidence pointed towards Russia. But he reiterated the need not to rush ahead of evidence in what he referred to as the fevered atmosphere of Westminster. Is he right to go slowly? Or is more cross-party solidarity called for at a time when a foreign agent appears to be targeting people on British soil?

That is entirely in keeping with an editorial decision made on the basis of sound news judgement. The item which followed consisted of a report by David Grossman on the British left's current and historic attitudes towards Russia, and a studio discussion whose two participants were both generally supportive of Mr Corbyn, though one of them believed he had missed an opportunity to be "crystal clear" in his condemnation. The ECU saw no grounds for regarding the contents of the item as less than impartial or fair to Mr Corbyn.

The ECU has not upheld the complaints.

 

 

BBC gay film winds up the Catholic Church...

Church leaders say that it is bad taste to speak of tasteless communion wafers


Link Here 27th April 2018
Catholic Church leaders are to meet the head of BBC Scotland Donalda MacKinnon to discuss their concerns over a digital film about being gay in 2018.

The piece, published on digital content stream The Social , included a clip saying the communion host tastes like cardboard and smells like hate.

Bishop of Paisley John Keenan said that was deeply insulting and offensive.

Ms MacKinnon has agreed to meet the Bishop of Edinburgh and St Andrews, Archbishop Leo Cushley who, along with Bishop Keenan, complained about the film titled Homophobia In 2018 : The Time for Love.

In an official statement, BBC Scotland explained that The Social existed uniquely to give young content creators a platform to express their views about matters that directly impacted on them.  It added:

The 'Time for Love' piece is a personal polemic about being gay in 2018 and the experiences outlined in the film are intended to reflect those of the filmmaker.

As a young gay man, raised in the Catholic faith, it is seen though his eyes and told in his voice, and is intended to reflect the challenges and opinions he personally faced while growing up in Scotland.

The BBC appreciates that some of our audiences will find it challenging in its approach to tackling some very difficult themes, but we do believe it important that we should provide platforms such as The Social to allow appropriate space for artistic freedom of speech.

 

 

Ofcom get heavy with RT seemingly with an intent to ban it...

The government does not like Russian propaganda channel casting doubt about Salisbury murder attempt and the Syrian chemical weapon attack


Link Here 18th April 2018

Ofcom has today opened seven new investigations into the due impartiality of news and current affairs programmes on the RT news channel.

The investigations (PDF, 240.5 KB) form part of an Ofcom update, published today, into the licences held by TV Novosti, the company that broadcasts RT.

Until recently, TV Novosti's overall compliance record has not been materially out of line with other broadcasters.

However, since the events in Salisbury, we have observed a significant increase in the number of programmes on the RT service that warrant investigation as potential breaches of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.

We will announce the outcome of these investigations as soon as possible. In relation to our fit and proper duty, we will consider all relevant new evidence, including the outcome of these investigations and the future conduct of the licensee.

 

 

Updated: A history lesson with relevance today...

BBC defends the radio broadcast of Enoch Powell's 'Rivers of Blood' speech on its 50th anniversary


Link Here 14th April 2018
The BBC has defended a decision to air Enoch Powell's 1968 Rivers of Blood speech on Radio 4.

The Archive on 4 programme, presented by BBC media editor Amol Rajan, will on Saturday broadcast the right-wing MP's anti-immigration speech - voiced by an actor - in full, for the first time.

The decision to do so was criticised as an incitement to racial hatred. The peer Andrew Adonis has called for the broadcast to be banned, and has written to the TV censor Ofcom. He wrote: What is happening to our public service broadcaster? He said the speech was the worst incitement to racial violence by a public figure in modern Britain. He added: Obviously this matter will be raised in parliament should the broadcast go ahead.

Presumably critics are worried that the concerns voiced by Enoch Powell still exist today, and so may chime with listeners. Surely if this is the case, then it would be better if views were aired so that the authorities could address the concerns. For instance if politicians had been better aware of  such opinions, they would not have called the incredibly divisive Brexit referendum.

The BBC said there would be rigorous journalistic analysis and the show was not endorsing controversial views.

Delivered to local Conservative Party members in Birmingham, days before the second reading of the 1968 Race Relations Bill, then MP Powell referenced observations made by his Wolverhampton constituents including in 15 or 20 years' time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man. He ended with a quote from Virgil's Aeneid, when civil war in Italy is predicted with the River Tiber foaming with much blood.

The anti-immigration speech ended his career in Edward Heath's shadow cabinet.

Archive on 4 will broadcast on Radio 4 on Saturday at 8pm.

Update: BBC response

14th April 2018. See  article from bbc.co.uk

Complaint

We received complaints from people who feel it is irresponsible to broadcast Enoch Powell's 1968 Rivers of Blood speech.

Response:

BBC Radio 4's well established programme Archive on 4 reflects in detail on historical events. Many people know of this controversial speech but few have heard it beyond soundbites and, in order to assess the speech fully and its impact on the immigration debate, it will be analysed by a wide range of contributors including many anti-racism campaigners.

This is a rigorous journalistic analysis of a historical political speech. It is not an endorsement of the controversial views and we believe people should wait to hear the programme before they judge it.

 

 

Slapdash censorship...

CBS Action cuts Diagnosis Murder for early evening broadcast


Link Here 10th April 2018
Diagnosis Murder is a USA TV  crime mystery series
Starring Dick Van Dyke, Barry Van Dyke and Victoria Rowell. IMDb

Dr. Mark Sloan is a doctor at Community General Hospital, and he is a consultant for the police department. His son Steve Sloan is a detective for the department. He and his father, along with emergency room resident Dr. Jesse Travis and Dr. Amanda Bentley, who is the pathologist at the hospital help to solve some very strange murder cases in Diagnosis Murder.

I couldn't help, but notice CBS Action on Freeview censoring a Diagnosis Murder season II episode 16 called A Blast from The Past on Wednesday night's 4th April early evening showing and its following repeat the next morning. A firm favourite with students and the unemployed back in the 90's including this former university undergraduate, the BBC always showed all episodes uncut in the afternoon slot, but not CBS I'm afraid with its reruns! Maybe the recent Hollywood sex scandal has hit home causing panic to TV censors?

I compared it with my R1 NTSC 30fps and at around 31 mins 45 seconds there was a 2 second or so cut by CBS to the TV version scene when the bad guy punches/slaps (it's so quick) his pretty girlfriend in the face and it fades out black. Obviously this would be earlier at PAL speed. CBS just showed the fade out instead, missing the entire slap and went straight to the commercial break. The uncut version is pretty mild by today's standards and the BBFC gives a 12 to all seasons of this usually tame murder mystery comedy drama starring the ever likeable Dick Van Dyke as the doctor detective Mark Sloan.

 

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