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UK TV and Radio News


2009: April-June

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25th June   

Update: BBC in an Era of Easy Offence...

BBC recommendations in response to Russell Brand Show
Link Here
Full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

The BBC Trust ordered a review of acceptable standards following the row over obscene phone messages left for the actor Andrew Sachs by Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand.

The report - written by BBC creative director Alan Yentob and director of archive content Roly Keating - calls for clear guidelines on intrusion, intimidation and humiliation to to ensure that everyone involved in programme making understands that such behaviours are unacceptable.

Of 2,206 adults aged over 16 were questioned for an Ipsos Mori survey.

The main findings were:

  1. Where audiences are concerned about the area of taste and morality on television as a whole, this is often connected with broader concerns about falling standards in terms of quality and the over-reliance on reality formats.
  2. Standards of morality, values and behaviour in the media in particular are not a top-of-mind issue for the majority of the public.
  3. The BBC overall performs well in the audience's perceptions of standards of morality, values and behaviour, compared to other channels and broadcasters. The audience also has higher expectations of the BBC.
  4. In general terms, the public do not want increased censorship or regulation. The majority value the creativity of the BBC and accept that it may sometimes lead to offending some people.
  5. When prompted, a significant proportion of the audience have various concerns about standards of morality, values and behaviour in the media as a whole, including newspapers, magazines, broadcasting and online content.
  6. Strong language is an area of concern for some audiences; they recognise when language is used for clear purpose or effect within a programme - including comedy and entertainment - but dislike 'unnecessary' or excessive use.
  7. In certain genres, the offensive potential of strong language can be compounded when it is combined with apparently aggressive or bullying behaviour. This reflects broader public concerns about aggression and bullying within society as a whole.
  8. There is little public consensus or agreement about what constitutes offence: it means very different things to different sections of the audience.
  9. The context in which potentially offensive content is placed is of paramount importance to audiences, as are judgements of quality. Both can make the difference between whether something is acceptable to audiences or not.
  10. Tone and intent can also make strong material acceptable: the 'twinkle in the eye' of a performer and their skill in delivery can make the decisive difference, even with potentially offensive material.
  11. Age and socio-economic group go some way to describing who in the audience is more likely to have concerns, but they do not tell the full story.
  12. Younger audiences (11-15 year-olds) are uniquely self-selecting in their choice of media content, through the web and magazines as well as broadcast material. Though strongly drawn to more sexual content, some express unease about the sexualised nature of the media world in which they live and the pressure to 'grow up fast.'
  13. Sexual content on television and radio was a matter of relatively low concern for audiences. There was an expectation that the television watershed should be respected, and content on radio appropriately scheduled. There is no appetite for a watershed in radio.
  14. Some respondents commented that the transfer of some successful series from BBC Two may bring a somewhat ‘edgier' tone to BBC One.
  15. Respondents expressed few concerns about standards on BBC Radio. However, of all the BBC's services, Radio 1 has the most divided response in terms of morality, values and behaviour.
  16. Audiences are conscious of the challenges presented by the growth of online and on-demand content, but there is little awareness of the BBC's 'G for Guidance' systems, or understanding that iPlayer has a parent password protection scheme which prevents children accessing adult content.

Conclusions

  1. Audiences accept potentially offensive content but believe it should be there for a purpose. They have a sophisticated sense of different programme genres, from serious documentary to reality and entertainment. Producers should ensure that any potentially offensive material has a clear editorial purpose and ask themselves is it necessary? Does it enhance the quality of the experience for audiences?
  2. Viewers understand and value the television watershed. The BBC must respect and maintain its significance as a crucial contribution to audience confidence in television standards. There is no audience demand for a radio watershed.
  3. Of all BBC services, BBC One is the most sensitive, because of its ability to unite generations and families in shared viewing. The bar for the strongest language between 9pm and 10pm must therefore remain significantly higher than on other BBC television channels.
  4. On all channels, producers, presenters, commissioners and controllers have a shared responsibility to ensure that the force and value of the strongest words is not weakened by over-use. The mandatory referral of the most offensive language to Channel Controllers reflects this and must be maintained.
  5. Mischievous banter, practical jokes and formats, which include elements of confrontation and criticism, can all be legitimate, indeed the public tell us that they can add greatly to their enjoyment; but programme makers, on-air artists and presenters must ensure that they never tip over into malice, humiliation or harm.
  6. Audiences admire performers who take risks but have the expertise to know when to draw a line. To support such talent, producers and controllers must always be candid and open with them about judgements of tone and content, and be prepared where appropriate to take and enforce tough decisions.
  7. Risk-taking is as vital a part of the BBC's mission in comedy, drama and entertainment as it is in other genres. As with all programme making, the greater the risk, the greater the thought, care and pre-planning needed to bring something groundbreaking to air.

Recommendations

  1. New series on television and radio For new series where questions of taste and standards are likely to arise, there must be a discussion with the commissioning executive early in the production cycle to agree appropriate parameters of tone and content, to ensure that all involved, including presenters and performers, have given thought to questions of channel, context and slot. Even when a returning series has established expectations of strong language and content, there should be a similar discussion before the start of each run.
  2. Greater care over cross-channel transfers When a TV series moves to a more mainstream channel - especially to BBC One - producers and controllers should be sensitive to its new context, and give careful consideration to adaptations of tone or format if necessary.
  3. Clearer policy on bleeping of strong language A clearer policy should be set for the use of bleeping in TV and radio programmes. In general, where strong language is integral to the meaning or content of a programme, and other questions of slot, context channel etc have been resolved, it should not be disguised. But when in other circumstances a sequence that is editorially necessary happens to contain the strongest language, it may be right to bleep or disguise the words, even after the watershed.
  4. New guidance on malicious intrusion, intimidation and humiliation BBC programmes must never condone malicious intrusion, intimidation and humiliation. While they are all aspects of human behaviour which may need to be depicted, described or discussed across the BBC's factual and non-factual output, they must never be celebrated for the purposes of entertainment. New guidance is needed to ensure that everyone involved in programme making for the BBC understands that malicious intrusion, intimidation and humiliation are unacceptable.
  5. Clearer audience information and warnings The BBC should always recognise that some sections of its audiences are more readily offended than others. We owe the public the information they need to make informed choices about viewing and listening and to avoid material they may regard as unsuitable for themselves or their families. Each channel must make even greater efforts to ensure that appropriate content information (eg. billings and presentation announcements) is provided which enables informed judgements to be made by all audiences, both pre- and post-watershed, about programme content.
  6. Music radio Music radio thrives on strong personalities, and young audiences value BBC Radio 1 highly; but editorial teams must be reminded that particular care needs to be taken at times of day, such as school runs, when different generations may be listening together.
  7. Major awareness campaign about online guidance The BBC has pioneered content guidance and child protection mechanisms provided by the iPlayer. Audiences are concerned about the internet as a space of unregulated content and are insufficiently aware of the protection available for BBC content. A major campaign of public information is needed as soon as possible to raise awareness of the content guidance and offer reassurance to audiences. The BBC should also work to ensure that the next generation of Freeview and FreeSat PVRs have PIN protection functionality.
  8. More regular audience research In-depth audience research, along the lines of the findings in this paper, should be conducted more often to ensure that the BBC maintains a full and detailed understanding of audience attitudes to taste and standards. To keep up with changes in audience taste, research should be commissioned every two to three years. Careful attention should be given to key tracking questions that will enable the BBC to identify changes in audience and societal attitudes.
  9. Revision of Editorial Guidelines and Guidance The BBC's Editorial Policy department should use the research, general principles and recommendations in this report to inform the current general revision of the BBC's Editorial Guidelines and, in particular, to clarify audience expectations of tone and context. In addition, new Guidance will be required to keep programme and content makers up-todate with audience expectations of BBC content.
  10. Increased commitment to training The research findings offer new opportunities to illuminate the understanding of taste and standards for programme makers across the BBC. The findings should be briefed to leadership groups in all content divisions by the Director and Chief Adviser, Editorial Policy. The Colleges of Production and Journalism should develop new training material that explores audience attitudes specific to each of the key genres, which will be rolled out to programme makers both in-house and independent. The audience research and the conclusions of this report should also be made available through normal Editorial Policy channels to all programme makers. The findings of this study and the materials used in it should inform online courses, which will be used to maintain editorial policy standards.

 

25th June   

Update: Truer Lies...

True Lies on ITV 2
Link Here

One of the biggest films of the 1990's was James Cameron's True Lies . A film that proved that Cameron could deliberately do comedy (not accidentally, see Piranha 2 , he may have disowned it, but its still out their), and that Arnie's Last Action Hero , was simply a bad call (a fact that would be cemented in 1995, when its director gave us arguably the best Die hard sequel). However, what made True Lies even more of a point of interest was when Joe public was renting it on video, it had a strange message on the back of the cover, quite small, but big enough to see. This film has been formatted to fit your television . Ok, nothing wrong with that, Those Hollywood boffins tinker with films all the time for home video release (check out early pan and scans of Die Hard , half the terrorists are missing for most of it. I thought their was only 4 until I watched the widescreen version), So there's nothing strange there. Except underneath that sentence, their was another sentence. James Cameron's own bitter sentence: It has also been edited for censorship purposes. I'm amazed the video even got rented, as it was a massive box office hit, and young men in their early teens like myself, saw it Theatrically several times, (and knew exactly what was missing). Something that would haunt Arnie's next big release, Eraser , but that's a different story.

Over the years, True Lies has appeared in all sorts of shapes and forms in the UK. From the (quite) neatly trimmed VHS (its a Rembrandt compared to the editing Die Hard with a Vengeance , Eraser & Judge Dredd would suffer), to the butchered edit of the first gen DVD, to being released totally uncut on DVD (as a dual region 2/4), without anyone batting an eyelid (although it was quickly withdrawn). The TV versions are even funnier................. Except ITV 2. A few months back they screened a version of True Lies that had some of the best (and sneaky) editing for this film to date (the way Bill Paxton's bloodied nose was cut around was VERY shrewd). Although it had some holes (why's Arnie walking away from a dead guy slumped over a crate?), but it was barely noticeable.

Now. ITV 2 are probably the most Ofcom friendly channel you can get. Their films always seem to adhere to what the pre-millennium BBFC deemed safe for the UK, this is handy as none of their films seem to breach the millennium mark, and therefore their big actioners are from a time when James Ferman and his group of Hollywood fearing, scissor happy chums, were at their peak of saving humanity from reality ( Cliffhanger , it could happen you know). Until tonight. But, I'm not quite sure what's happened.

A while back, it was reported that True Lies had again been released uncut, this time as part of a DVD action box set. No alarm bells were rung, the set wasn't yanked from shelves (to my knowledge) in a bitter outcry of negligence, and humanity didn't crumble. Fair enough, the BBFC may have granted it an uncut certificate on the quiet. Happened with Cliffhanger , the Blu-ray of Eraser , and apparently Die Hard with a Vengeance (although the last 2 have yet to surface on shelves). Just because we didn't hear about it, didn't mean it didn't happen.

However. And here's where I get hazy, tonight, ITV 2 screened a NEAR complete True Lies Yep, Bill Paxton's bloodied nose graced the screen for its full 3 seconds of youth corrupting glory, the scalpel in the eye was intact too. BUUUUUUUUUUUUT, in the same scene as the scalpel, the neck break of the (would be) torturer was missing, as was the cracking of the guards ribs with the crow bar. The ear clap in the toilet fight was present, yet the headbutt was missing (still very cleverly cut around). Language has never been an issue with this film, so that was all intact, and the film went out at 21.30. So all the precious kiddiewinks were in bed. Was the DVD action set UNCUT? or did it just have some of the more memorable cuts reinstated? or have the BBFC been submitted yet another version? As their website doesn't acknowledge any cuts waived. Either way, very odd.

Update: Action Heroes Collection

25th June 2009. Thanks to Simon

I recently wrote about the uncut version of True Lies on the Action Heroes Collection .

After reading about the showing on ITV 2, I thought I would check the DVD against what was missing from the ITV 2 showing. All the footage missing is present on the DVD.

It would make it a lot more clearer if the BBFC would say weather the box set contains the uncut version or not.

 

24th June   

Update: Scouts Unprepared for a Jeremy Clarkson Quip...

Scouts join the ranks of the easily offended
Link Here
Full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

The Top Gear presenter, Jeremy Clarkson, with co-star James May, offended both the Scout Association and the Catholic Church while reviewing the Skoda Scout car.

May said: I suppose every summer it goes off to the country somewhere and is touched inappropriately. Clarkson added: No, no, James, that's the Skoda Catholic Church.

Simon Carter, a spokesman for the Scout Association, said it had submitted a formal complaint to the BBC. He said the remarks were tasteless , adding: We have had dozens of calls and emails from Scout members not happy at all. It's a shame they decided to have a dig at two organisations that do a lot of good in the community. And there is no real excuse because [Top Gear] is not live and is clearly scripted, so producers have heard it and given it the nod anyway.

TV censor Ofcom confirmed it had received complaints following the remarks made on Sunday night's show. But the BBC denied it had received a complaint from the Scout Association.

 

6th June   

Update: Daily Mail Trivia...

Daily Mail give John Humphrys a good bollocking
Link Here
Full story: Strong Language on TV...Whinging about strong langauge on TV

A BBC news presenter was forced to apologise today after a minor transgression during a major interview with a Cabinet minister.

John Humphrys was grilling International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander on the political crisis engulfing Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Raising the idea that Labour are embroiled in civil wa' , Humphrys said: We have got elements of Number 10 actually turning on MPs in their own constituencies. We have Barry Sheerman telling us that he's got people from Number 10 ringing his own constituency, talking to his own officials, telling them that they have got to get him to attend a meeting so that he can be given a bollocking.

Later, the presenter apologised for his inadvertent outburst while discussing ghost stories with John Sutherland, professor of English literature at University College London.

He said: Can I get guidance from you? I used a word earlier on this programme that was supposed to be 'rollicking' but it came out slightly differently and had a 'b' at the front instead of an 'r' at the beginning.

Professor Sutherland insisted it was an entirely innocent word.

But Humphrys said: It's alright with a 'b' or an 'r'? To those listeners who were offended by it, my humble apologies.

A BBC spokesperson said: Whilst John didn't use the best turn of phrase this morning, these slips occasionally happen in a live radio situation. John didn't mean to cause any offence to his listeners and did offer his apologies towards the end of the programme.

 

5th June   

Updated: I Dreamed a Nightmare...

Britain's Got Talent at whinging
Link Here

Ofcom is set to investigate the treatment of Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent after complaints from viewers.

The 48-year-old singer was last night being treated at a private clinic after suffering an emotional breakdown in the aftermath of the show.

Nineteen million viewers watched the beginning of Miss Boyle's meltdown on Saturday night as she was beaten to first place by dance group Diversity. Within 24 hours, police officers and TV producers had forcibly escorted her to The Priory clinic in North London.

TV censor Ofcom is considering an investigation into whether ITV has breached the broadcasting code after viewers flooded phone lines with a large number of complaints.

Section eight of the code states: People in a state of distress should not be put under pressure to take part in a programme or provide interviews, unless it is warranted.'

Britain's Got Talent producer Talkback Thames last night admitted that contestants are not psychologically tested. It has now said it will review this policy.

Update: Ofcom, a Talent for Censorship

3rd June 2009: Based on article from ofcom.org.uk

Ofcom have just published a notice to say that the media has jumped the gun in suggesting that Ofcom are already investigating Britain's Got Talent:

There has been a lot of public interest in the semi-final and final of ITV's popular Britain's Got Talent programme.

A number of people have contacted Ofcom to make comments and complaints about aspects of the programme.

With Britain's Got Talent , we are reviewing the complaints we have received against the Broadcasting Code. As with all such cases, our assessment will help us to decide whether we need to investigate or not, however at present we are not investigating.

Update: Few Complaints

4th June 2009: Based on article from news.bbc.co.uk

Almost 350 people complained to Ofcom about Britain's Got Talent last week, but fewer than 20 were concerned about the treatment of runner-up Susan Boyle.

Only 16 complaints were received after Saturday's final. Ofcom says most of them were about the winners, Diversity.

In contrast, 331 viewers got in touch after Friday's semi-final. More than half were annoyed that Hollie Steel was allowed a second chance to perform. Ten-year-old Steel performed a second time on the talent show after bursting into tears during her first attempt at Edelweiss. Ofcom said around 50 complaints were received about the welfare of the young singer.

The incident sparked debate over whether children should be allowed to participate in such programmes because of the pressure involved.

Update: Psychological Testing to Ensure that Contestants are Crazy Enough to go on TV

5th June 2009: Based on article from broadcastnow.co.uk

The UK government is preparing a major public consultation on the use of children in TV shows such as Britain's Got Talent , which last week saw 10-year-old semi-finalist Hollie Steel break down on live TV.

Broadcasters and indies are among producers to have met with the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) in the lead-up to the full consultation, due later this summer.

The DCSF's review, which is also canvassing the modelling, stage and film industries, centres on legislation that has remained unchanged since 1968, when the Children's Entertainment Regulations came into force. It is being led by junior children's minister Delyth Morgan.

A DCSF spokesman said: We want children to develop and have exciting opportunities to participate in television and other forms of entertainment. However, while they are doing that, we have a duty to ensure that children are safeguarded appropriately, and that the regulations we have make sure that this happens.

Silver River boss Daisy Goodwin said: There's an interesting moral question for everyone in telly about why the most popular programme on TV is one where children cry and where a woman with learning difficulties is shown at the end of her tether. If I was making the show, I would consider raising the age limit. I'd also question why there was no psych testing.

 

2nd June

 Offsite: Who's a Silly Boss Then?...

Link Here
1969 BBC bosses were not pleased by Monty Python debut

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

30th May   

A Question of Cash...

BBC coughs up over Question Time comment about the Muslim Council of Britain
Link Here

The BBC has offered to pay £30,000 and apologise to the Muslim Council of Britain after airing claims that it encourages the killing of British troops.

The Corporation caved in after a panellist on the Question Time TV programme accused the country's most influential Muslim organisation of failing to condemn attacks on soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The broadcaster was threatened with legal action over comments by former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore during a debate about Islamic protests which marred a soldiers' homecoming parade in Luton.

Moore said: The Muslim Council of Britain, which is the umbrella organisation for all Muslim groups in this country, I've gone to them many times, and I said will you condemn the killing and kidnapping of British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they won't.

But there is a bigger, another step that they take, they say it is actually a good thing, even an Islamic thing, to kill or kidnap British soldiers.

Faced with the threat of a writ, the BBC made an offer of amends and an apology on the Question Time website. But this has been rejected and the MCB is demanding an apology on air.

The Corporation's decision to pay out will raise eyebrows in Whitehall, where ministers have refused to settle a similar defamation claim over a letter written by Communities Secretary Hazel Blears.

Update: Coughing Up

17th July 2009. Fom islamophobia-watch.com

The BBC has agreed to pay £45,000 in damages to the head of the Muslim Council of Britain over a libel claim in the Question Time programme.

The BBC is paying £45,000 in damages to Abdul Bari – which he will donate to charity – as well as his legal costs.

 

27th May   

Pissed Off with Petty Whinging...

BBC receive 12 complaints over the used of 'pissed off' on the Archers
Link Here

An episode of Radio 4's flagship soap The Archers has infuriated a few fans by including an outburst of bad language.

Listeners have complained after Matt Crawford told his arch rival Brian Aldridge to 'piss of' during a drunken encounter in a bar.

It is understood to be the first time such language has been broadcast on The Archers and fans have posted messages on its own website saying it does not fit with the context of the show.

Moderators who are responsible for monitoring the content of the official Archers website have removed some postings which repeat the offending phrase.

Jon Beyer, the director of Mediawatch UK said: I think people generally speaking expect better than this from The Archers. The audience for The Archers is what it is and they would not expect to hear language like this in the programme.

The episode was first aired at 7pm on May 15 and then feature in the omnibus edition last Sunday morning.

A BBC spokesman confirmed the corporation had received 13 official complaints. He added: The Archers always gives a lot of consideration before using any potentially offensive language in the programme and it is used very sparingly. However the programme has a reputation for being as realistic as possible, and the use of the phrase was appropriate to Matt's character and the situation he found himself in.

 

20th May   

Update: Swearing by Opinion Polls...

Beyer commissions poll that manages to contradict BBC survey
Link Here
Full story: Strong Language on TV...Whinging about strong langauge on TV

A new poll published on 19th May 2009, shows that 73% of people find swearing on TV offensive. The poll, commissioned by mediawatch-uk, was conduced by ComRes who interviewed 1002 GB adults by telephone between 15 and 17 May 2009.

Significantly, the poll also found that 70% believe the regulator, OFCOM, should do more to reduce the amount of swearing on TV. Despite Ofcom's own Communications Market research conducted over recent years, showing that the majority of people believe there is too much swearing on TV, the regulator very rarely upholds public complaints on this issue.

60% of people believe that swearing on TV encourages swearing in daily life and 53% believe that children are not effectively protected from swearing on TV.

Speaking today, John Beyer, director of mediawatch-uk, said: The results of this survey show once again that swearing on TV causes widespread offence and that OFCOM really is not doing enough to allay public concern. We certainly welcome OFCOM's recent criticism of record-breaking programme, Ramsay's Great British Nightmare , but this action is too little too late.

Aware of the latest BBC survey Beyer disputed the finding that people are relaxed about swearing on TV. He said: It may be true that swearing ‘in context' is tolerable but for most people the main concern is with swearing that is entirely gratuitous and has no dramatic or any other context whatsoever.

Moreover, the BBC's findings seem to contradict research carried out by the BBC for Panorama in February which found that 55% of people thought there was now too much swearing, while 68% thought language had worsened in the past five years.


Beyer said: Rather than wasting licence fee payers money on unnecessary surveys, the BBC should be asking itself how swearing in programmes fulfils its Charter obligation to ‘sustain citizenship and civil society'.

Beyer concluded: The time really has come for broadcasters to act decisively on this matter by strengthening the regulations otherwise they know they risk alienating swathes of viewers. In the Digital Age when broadcasting standards matter more and more to viewers and listeners it really is no good ignoring public feeling against swearing on TV.

Comment: Attempt at Discrediting BBC Survey

From Dan

"Rather than wasting licence fee payers money on unnecessary surveys, the BBC should be asking itself how swearing in programmes fulfils its Charter obligation to 'sustain citizenship and civil society'".

The BBC's survey is unnecessary because it doesn't give Beyer what he wants to hear. If the survey had reported the viewers are all up in arms over swearing on TV Beyer would have said that it was very useful and welcomed it.

"We are hopeful that Gordon Brown, who has expressed personal concern about broadcasting standards, will now directly intervene in this situation and call upon broadcasters and film makers to seriously improve standards of literacy in their media productions."

Why should film makers be included in all this? The issue is over swearing on TV and the offence that it may or may not cause to TV viewers. Films have not been talked about and people who do not wish to hear swearing in films can avoid films that contain swearing.

But of course Beyer confuses offence with potential harm and believes swearing should be censored out of everything for the own good of viewers.

What Beyer and Mediawatch UK are worried about is that the results of the BBC's survey which shows viewers are relaxed about swearing (and again we don't know how representative of the entire broad spectrum of tastes and views of the British TV viewing public the survey is) will prevent the regulation to ban swearing on TV completely that he and Mediawatch UK want brought in.

Which is why he is launching into this tirade and why his pressure group have released this press release in order to attempt to discredit the BBC's findings.

At the moment surveys into viewers views on swearing, sex and violence are designed to fit the agendas of those who carry them out and are mainly targetted at certain groups (eg: Mediawatch UK's survey was probably carried out amongst people living in middle England who share their views).

It's time for a survey which will represent the views of all TV viewers and will take into account the broad tastes and views which TV viewers hold.

 

19th May   

Comment: BBC Won't be Bullied...

BBC survey finds that the public is relaxed about strong language on TV
Link Here
Full story: Strong Language on TV...Whinging about strong langauge on TV

One of the most exhaustive pieces of research conducted by the BBC into viewers' attitudes to taste and decency is said to show that most are relaxed about the use of bad language on air.

The corporation will submit the results of the survey, which involved around 7,000 members of the public, to the BBC Trust this week. The trust had asked the management to review its editorial guidelines on taste and standards in the wake of the resignation of Russell Brand and the suspension of Jonathan Ross.

The review is also likely to show that a substantial minority of viewers and listeners are in favour of less censorship. Viewers apparently objected to the behaviour of Ross and Brand because of the bullying tone of the broadcast rather than the fact that swearing was used.

Mark Thompson, the BBC's director general, told the Observer: If we set up a programme strategy based on never offending anyone - which is sometimes a world that some of our critics would like - you wouldn't broadcast any news programmes, for example.

Update: Business as Usual

19th May 2009. Based on an article from the Express. Thanks to Dan

A BBC report will show that the public is more relaxed than ever about swearing on TV ­ sparking nutter fears that it will give the corporation a licence to air even more bad language.

The survey of 7000 viewers' attitudes on taste and decency was ordered by the BBC Trust after the furore over Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand leaving lewd messages on veteran actor Andrew Sachs's answer phone.

The report is said to show that viewers are relaxed about the use of bad language, especially after the 9pm watershed.

Nutters fear the latest report will stop the BBC cleaning up its act.

John Beyer, of Mediawatch, said:

There is already far too much swearing on TV that is entirely unnecessary. My fear is that Mark Thompson, the BBC's director general, will tell everybody that it is business as usual.

But swearing alienates television viewers. If they are going to carry on broadcasting swearing, the BBC will alienate swathes more viewers.

Comment: Allowing viewers to make up their own minds

19th May 2009. From Dan

"My fear is that Mark Thompson, the BBC's director general, will tell everybody that it is business as usual."

Business as usual? What, allowing viewers to make up their own minds what they want and do not want to watch and not having the viewing tastes of John Beyer and the rest of Daily Mail Tory voting middle England forced upon them? Sounds good to us Johnny Boy!

"But swearing alienates television viewers. If they are going to carry on broadcasting swearing, the BBC will alienate swathes more viewers."

And those viewers will pick up their remote controls and switch over and watch something else. The kind of action you don't seem to be able to grasp Johnny Boy!

The truth is the BBC have never said they are going to be broadcasting more swearing because of this survey. This is just the fear held by their critics. Heck their critics probably hope they will broadcast more swearing just so they can have another go at them.

 

18th May

 Offsite: Hooked on Toxic TV...

Link Here
TV diet of sex, greed and cruelty can turn ordinary people into raving Daily Mail writers

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

17th May   

High Definition with a Vengeance...

Die Hard with a Vengeance uncut in HD on Sky
Link Here

Well, a few weeks ago we had a half and half version of Die Hard with a Vengeance on Sky action. I say half and half due to the fact that that version had all the language intact, but missed a lot of the gorier action.

HOWEVER. about 2 weeks ago Sky movies announced that they would be showing all 4 films back to back and in HD, and wouldn't you know it, Die Hard with a Vengeance in all its uncut glory, and in HD.

Now whether its a 1080p full HD or a 1080i upscale is irrelevant. The more important point is that the UK doesn't have an official Blu-ray / High def release of the third film, yet Sky are showing it at 1.00pm. Once again, movie whores like myself have to pay over the odds postage to get an Aussie import, as the genius's at Sony have yet to make a multi - region Blu ray player within the price range of people not willing to sacrifice half a months paycheck.

As far as I know Buena vista still owns the license to the third Die hard, and the DVD was rated in its uncut form by the BBFC a while back. Yet if you want to see it in the UK you have to pay Skys high rate film package cost, or the even higher HD cost. Either way, your being bled dry, for a 15 year old film that you should have been able to see uncut in its opening weekend, but the fat cats at Buena vista weren't having that.

 

14th May   

Update: Digging up the Trivia...

Daily Mail have still got their beady eye on Jonathan Ross
Link Here
Full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

A number of listeners complained to Ofcom about the Jonathan Ross show on Radio 2, claiming the comments on his programme on Saturday were homophobic.

Ross was involved in a light-hearted discussion about prizes in a competition themed around the fictional teen pop star when he joked: If your son asks for a Hannah Montana MP3 player, you might want to already think about putting him down for adoption before he brings his...erm...partner home.

A spokeswoman for Ofcom was unable to say how many people had complained but said: We have had complaints. We are assessing those complaints against the broadcasting code.

A BBC spokeswoman said: The BBC has received four complaints about Jonathan’s comments on Saturday’s show. However, these off-the-cuff remarks were made purely in jest and were not intended to be offensive. Jonathan is not homophobic in any sense and never meant for his comments to be taken seriously.’

 

13th May   

Nightmare Survey...

Survey of parents claims Dr Who and Primeval cause kids to have nightmares
Link Here

  Haven't the kids of today
got a sofa to hide behind?

Youngsters are suffering nightmares because children's television is too scary, according to a survey of parents.

More than 70% of parents with children under the age of seven said their children had regular nightmares because of programmes such as Primeval and Ben 10 .

The programme that attracted greatest criticism in the new poll was Primeval – about a breakdown in the time-space continuum that allows dinosaurs to travel to the present day, wreaking havoc on the world. Parents said this was too frightening for young children.

They also complained that Ben 10 , featuring a boy who finds a device called an Omnitrix which transforms him into alien lifeforms, was too aggressive.

Other programmes cited as inappropriate included Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids , which parents said gave children ideas for bad behaviour, and Power Rangers , which was seen as being too fast and violent.

Parents claimed that so-called family entertainment such as Doctor Who , Primeval and Robin Hood should be shown after the watershed.

More than half of those polled also said much of children's television encouraged bad behaviour. Three-quarters of parents would welcome more guidance from broadcasters, and age certificates being shown before a programme was aired.

Kathryn Crawford, spokeswoman for www.thebabywebsite.com, which conducted the poll of 3,000 parents, said: All children suffer from nightmares at some point during childhood. But there is no doubt that viewing unnecessary violence and hostility on television contributes to this.

There is a great uncertainty about what to allow children to watch – on the one hand, you want them to be accepted by their peers and be able to join in conversations, but on the other, you want to protect them from growing up too fast and suffering with nightmares.

 

12th May   

Not Fair...

BBC censor Lily Allen for the Radio 1 Big Weekend Bash.
Link Here

Lily Allen was told to censor one of her songs by the BBC, when she performed at the Radio 1 Big Weekend Bash.

The singer was told to alter lyrics in Not Fair , but Allen found the whole issue hilarious - causing her to burst out into laughter as she sang the single.

Lily told listeners: I'm so sorry. They told me I'm not allowed to say rude bits and I can't stop laughing because I think I'm going to slip up.

 

8th May   

Strong Language Blues...

Tempers run high as Chelsea exit the Champions League
Link Here

Ofcom are looking into complaints into the screening by Sky of Didier Drogba's rant at its cameras after Chelsea's emotional exit from the Champions League.

Sky's touchline cameraman stepped on to the pitch at the final whistle and captured on film the striker's animated protests to the referee, Tom Henning Ovrebo, after Andrés Iniesta's injury-time goal had ended Chelsea's hopes of reaching the European Cup final. After excoriating the official for a performance even Ovrebo admitted had been error-strewn, a wild-eyed Drogba approached the camera to shout it's a fucking disgrace . He was then pushed away from the scene by his manager, Guus Hiddink.

Sky's lead pundit, Andy Gray, was quick to apologise for Drogba's language and the broadcaster cut soon afterwards to a commercial break. On the return to the studio the clip was shown again and, once more, Drogba's swearing was audible, prompting the studio anchor, Richard Keys, to apologise again for the error in failing to check the tape.

Sky's defence will be the post-watershed time of the broadcast – it occurred at around 9.50pm last night – and its swift apologies.

 

1st May   

Update: Fitzpatrick on Speed...

Media and Jeremy Clarkson blamed for speeding
Link Here
Full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

Computer games, television programmes and Hollywood films are encouraging a dangerous culture of speeding among UK drivers, according to a report.

High-speed chases in movies and programmes such as Top Gear have built up a cachet of excitement and glamour around speeding, the report from Co-operative Insurance found.

Launched at a parliamentary reception attended by Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick, the report showed that more than a third of drivers aged 17-18 and a quarter of those aged 19-21 broke the speed limit at least once a day.

Just 17% of teenage drivers said they never exceeded the limit, compared with more than half of older drivers. Based on responses from 3,000 people, the report found almost twice as many men as women break the speed limit at least once a day. The report found that speeding was endemic across both sexes and all age groups with three in four drivers admitting to speeding regularly.

David Neave, director of general insurance at Co-operative Insurance, said: It is undoubtedly the case that games, TV and films have fuelled the increase in speeding. The Fast & The Furious (computer game) and Top Gear are devoted to speeding and are targeted at a younger audience who are more likely to be encouraged to speed. We need to create the same stigma for speeding that currently exists now against drink-driving.

Fitzpatrick said: Many of the most serious collisions are caused, or their consequences exacerbated, because of someone driving well in excess of the speed limit. Research shows that one in seven people are extreme speeders. These people are playing Russian roulette with their lives and those of others and they must be hit by the full force of the law.

 

22nd April   

Tackling of Issues Best Left Untackled...

Unpolitically correct to explain politically correct rugby selection
Link Here

Former international rugby coach Dick Best is likely to come under fire after making an on-air racial slur directed against England full-back Delon Armitage.

Best was being interviewed by Sky Sports News at Heathrow ahead of today's squad announcement for the British and Irish Lions.

And after his choices for the Lions' first XV were published on-screen, which included Armitage out of position on the wing, Best was asked why he had selected the England man over impressive Ireland winger Tommy Bowe.

You've always got to have a coloured boy in the team, Best remarked.

Coverage then cut back to a visibly shocked presenter Mike Wedderburn, who is black.

Soon afterwards Wedderburn's co-presenter Millie Clode issued an apology, stating: [Dick Best] made remarks that he thought were off-camera. We would like to apologise for any offence this may have caused.

A spokesperson for Ofcom confirmed to inthenews.co.uk that, as yet, no complaints have been received.

 

20th April   

Comment: A Talent for Whinging...

Whinging at burlesque act on Britain's Got Talent
Link Here

Dozens of people have complained to the TV censor after a burlesque dancer stripped down to nipple tassels and a basque on Britain's Got Talent .

Ofcom said it had received 39 complaints about ITV1's show - aired at 19.45 on Saturday - in which Fabia Cerra removed some of her clothes.

Ofcom is examining the show to see if a full investigation is needed.

A spokesman for ITV said: Fabia's performance was given careful consideration by ITV, the producers Talkback Thames and the licensee Channel Television. As a result, the segment was edited in order to obscure any inappropriate detail, and it was felt that the overall effect was comedic rather than titillating.

It is understood ITV received about 40 complaints about the housewife's performance. The show's peak audience was 11.8 million.

Comment: Boring Old Farts

20th April 2009. See article from sundaysun.co.uk by Ken Oxley

What a bunch of boring old farts we’ve become. Not all of us, obviously, but some of us clearly need to get a life.

I’m thinking here specifically of those who complained about the episode of Britain’s Got Talent , with burlesque dancer Fabia Cerra.

Scores of viewers called broadcasting watchdog Ofcom or ITV itself after the 20-stone dancer lost a nipple tassel, moaning that the raunchy routine was unsuitable for family viewing.

First of all, it wasn’t raunchy. The woman is named after a car and is the size of one . . . it was pure comedy. Secondly, the tassel incident appeared to be a genuine accident and – even if it wasn’t – ITV saw fit to digitally cover her modesty with Union flags.

Thirdly, the “offending” routine was broadcast after the 9pm watershed, so what’s the problem?

That Ofcom has chosen to launch a probe into the incident is even more laughable than the footage itself.

 

20th April   

Update: The Lunatics Have Taken over the Asylum...

Jonathan Ross has a dig at Ofcom, John Beyer and the Daily Mail
Link Here
Full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

 What’s the point of
having a media watchdog,
if the people who fall foul of it
just make fun of it?

The Daily Mail have had a bit of fun in a rant about Jonathan Ross being a little flippant over a statement about the Ofcom fine:

Jonathan Ross remained unrepentant over the Andrew Sachs scandal and made a string of sarcastic remarks and jokes on his Radio 2 show after a damning watchdog ruling into his conduct was read out.

Instead of taking the opportunity to apologise after the Ofcom ruling was detailed before his Saturday morning slot, he made a series of gags and the played Fun Boy Three’s The Lunatics Have Taken over the Asylum.

The ruling was over obscene messages that Ross and Russell Brand left on the 78 year-old actor’s answermachine about his granddaughter Georgina Baillie.

It described the messages as offensive, humiliating and demeaning. The statement continued: The material that was broadcast was exceptionally offensive, humiliating and demeaning.

After the announcement had finished, Ross said: You can never find a pen when you need one, can you? You didn’t get that email address down, did you? I want to get the full thing sent over because I can’t read enough about it.

He then played The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum and made loaded comments with sidekick Andy Davies that suggested the lyrics were a fitting response.

After the song ended, Ross commented: You know, I’ve never really listened to the lyrics of that before. Davies laughed in the background and added: That was a lucky accident.

Conservative MP, Philip Davies, who sits on the media select committee, said: These comments show Jonathan Ross still does not think he has done anything wrong. He just didn’t seem to understand how angry the general public are about what he did.

A senior BBC insider told the Daily Mail: There are plenty of people at the BBC that would just like to see him go when his contract runs out. Ross just behaves like he has no respect for the people that have put their neck on the line, or lost their jobs, so he can keep his.

Mediawatch director John Beyer said: The BBC should be reviewing his contract. What’s the point of having an official regulator, if the people who fall foul of it just make fun of it?

Once again the corporation opted to defend his behaviour.

A BBC spokeswoman said: We are satisfied Jonathan’s light-hearted comments did not detract from the seriousness of the statement.

 

16th April   

Updated: Sci-Fi Cooking...

Under Siege 2 shown uncut on Sci-Fi Channel
Link Here

I was channel hopping on Saturday (11th April 2009), and noticed that the Sci-Fi Channel were showing the Uncut USA version of the Steven Seagal classic: Under Siege 2: Dark Territory.

This film suffered around 2 minutes of James Ferman directed cuts on video/DVD.

All the knife action/arm breaks/man on fire sequences etc were present .

There is another showing this Wednesday evening 9:45pm (15th April 2009), on Sci-Fi & Sci-Fi +1 and SC-FI HD.

Update: Shoddy DVD

16th April 2009. Thanks to Andrew

Well once again Under siege 2 was shown uncut. This time on Sci - fi. This is the umpteenth time its been shown (in its official cut, not the preferable Canadian cut) here in the UK.

Yet the DVD still remains in a shoddy form. Although that being said. There is now an official region B Blu-ray release of this film. So we might have an uncut version and just not know (Blu-rays are mostly the uncut original master prints). Either way the standard def DVD is still languishing in the bowels of Ferman's action fearing BBFC.

 

15th April   

Vulnerable People...

Whinging at Coronation Street for mention of christian indoctrination
Link Here

Coronation Street producers have defended the TV soap against claims that it was anti-Christian after a character’s attack on the faith during an Easter Sunday episode.

Viewers complained after Street veteran Ken Barlow, played by Bill Roach, said Christians forced their views on vulnerable people.

At one point Ken accused his grandson Simon’s school of indoctrinating him, before vowing to tell the youngster the truth about religion.

Ofcom confirmed it had received dozens of complaints and fans of the show posted comments on ITV1 message boards labelling Ken’s rant completely unacceptable.

Stephen Green, of campaign group Christian Voice, said: What is it about Christianity that is so scary for these people. I don’t know if they do it out of ignorance or antipathy but it is not the kind of example television should be setting.

 

13th April   

Revealing a Right Tit...

Beyer whinges at nude drawing classes on daytime TV
Link Here

  obsession with sex and nudity

Channel 4 is to broadcast life drawing classes featuring nude models on afternoon television.

The station says it wants to revive interest in more traditional forms of art however the move will cause controversy as the programme will show full-frontal male and female nudity before the 9pm watershed.

Viewers of Life Class: Today’s Nude will be able to sketch models from home, while an expert will give pointers throughout the programme.

The five-part series, called Life Class: Today’s Nude , will air in July, before 6pm.

The idea for the show came from artist Alan Kane who said Channel 4 had no concerns at all : because it's educational and nonsexualised nudity

John Beyer, of viewing standards group Mediawatch-UK, claimed Channel 4 had an obsession with sex and nudity.

But John Whittingdale, the Tory chairman of the Commons culture select committee, said that, in principle, he would not object to nude life drawing classes before 9pm if they were in an educational context and avoided gratuitous titillation.

 

10th April   

Nagging the BBC...

Complaints about the TV documentary slaughter of a horse in Siberia
Link Here

More than 100 viewers have complained about a graphic scene showing the killing of a horse in the BBC Two documentary Horse People.

The programme on Tuesday at 2100, which was filmed in Siberia, showed a horse being choked to death before being stabbed through the heart.

A BBC spokeswoman said viewers were warned in advance that: Tonight's programme features a community who cares deeply for their animals, but ultimately, in scenes which some may find upsetting, kill them for food. She said the death was included to show the life the horse herders lead.

 

10th April   

BBC Set for a Kick in the Teeth...

Ofcom consider insensitive remarks in Grand National interview
Link Here

The BBC may face an Ofcom investigation after Clare Balding's jibe about the teeth of Grand National-winning jockey Liam Treadwell provoked more than 2,000 viewer complaints.

The TV censor is considering whether to launch a formal inquiry into the remarks broadcast during a post-race interview.

After congratulating Treadwell on his 100-1 win in Saturday's race, Balding urged the young jockey to give us a big grin to the camera.

When he smiled shyly but kept his mouth closed, she demanded: No, no, let's see your teeth. He hasn't got the best teeth in the world, but you can afford to go and get them done now if you like. An embarrassed Treadwell mumbled: Well, I could do, but I ain't complaining.

The BBC received 1,962 complaints and Ofcom received 39. Ofcom will decide next week whether Balding's comments merit investigation under section two of the broadcasting code, which states that broadcasters must avoid material which may cause humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity .

The BBC said in a statement: Clare Balding had no intention whatsoever of upsetting or embarrassing Liam Treadwell, but she fully accepts that she shouldn't have raised the subject with him. The presenter apologised personally to Treadwell via text message.

 

6th April   

Offsite: Brand Premium...

Call for Ross and Brand to top up expense account funds rather than TV license payers
Link Here
Full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

  It doesn't seem fair that the tax payer
 should pay for your husband's porn.
Better if Jonathan Ross pays.

Senior government expense account holders have backed demands for Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand to pay the £150,000 fine imposed on the BBC for their antics.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw, Communities Secretary Hazel Blears and Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell all added their voices to the outcry.

There is outrage that the licence-fee payer will have to meet the fine imposed on Friday by the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom.

There are also calls for Brand's production company Vanity Projects, which produced the broadcast, to pay at least some of the money.

Straw, the most senior expense account holder to have spoken out about the fine, said the performers should pay out of their own pockets. It is wrong that licence-fee payers will have to pick up the bill for this. It is ridiculous that the penalty will be paid by the public.

Jowell, the former Culture Secretary, added: I think it would be honourable for Jonathan Ross to offer to pay it himself.

Miss Blears told the BBC's Any Questions: The BBC is funded by all of us as licence-payers, so are we having to pay the fine? Maybe Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand should pay it … that might be quite a good idea.

The BBC has said the money for the fine will come out of its general budget.

An Ofcom spokesman said: Parliament decided for very serious breaches of our broadcasting rules the BBC would be subject to a maximum fine of £250,000. These powers only allow for fines to be levied against the BBC and not individuals. 'To do so would require a change in the law.

 

5th April   

Update: EastEnders Rundown...

Whinges about a car accident in EastEnders
Link Here
Full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

'Shocked' viewers have complained to the TV censor after a 'violent' EastEnders special.

Now Ofcom have launched a probe into Thursday's hour-long episode. The latest instalment ended in the shock death of Archie's estranged grand-daughter Danielle Jones, played by Lauren Crace, when she was run over by Albert Square bad girl Janine Butcher.

Danielle was then seen dying in the arms of her mother Ronnie Mitchell, played by Samantha Janus, just minutes after telling her she was her daughter.

Ofcom confirmed they had received complaints about the violent content and the fact the show was aired before the 9pm watershed. A spokesman said: The complaints were mostly about the violent nature of the show and the horrific death at the end. It was broadcast before the 9pm watershed cut-off, so we're looking into complaints about that too.

 

5th April   

Updated: Little Britain Teachers...

Teachers blame TV for naughty kids
Link Here

Television executives are to be urged by schoolteachers to tone down the language and behaviour shown in programmes because pupils are copying what they see and hear in the classroom.

A survey of almost 800 teachers found that the rudest behaviour in the classroom was caused by pupils copying Big Brother and Little Britain .

Two-thirds of teachers said they believed Big Brother had led to bad or inappropriate behaviour in their school – while 61% cited Little Britain .

Other offenders include Waterloo Road – the BBC1 drama about a comprehensive school – which is said to encourage pupils to wear their uniforms in a sloppy fashion and The Catherine Tate Show which has prompted pupils to reply to teachers with the Lauren Cooper catchphrases Whatev-ah! and Am I Bovvered?

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, which conducted the survey, said: School staff believe that television has an even greater influence on the behaviour of young people than computer and video games. More and more pupils believe the violence depicted on television and computer games is cool, heroic and something they want to emulate. It is not just aggressive behaviour – our members face swearing, inappropriate language and general rudeness on a daily basis, which is frequently picked up from the TV programmes pupils are watching.

The survey revealed that 88% of teachers believed the level of general rudeness in the classroom had increased as a result of the TV programmes children were watching.

Three out of four believed that TV programmes should be given an age classification in the same way as films at the cinema.

Comment: TV is turning our children into little yobs

5th April 2009. See article from dailymail.co.uk by Anne Diamond

Anne Diamond in the Daily Mail is happy to concur and blame pretty much all of the teachers woes on TV:

Kids soak up television faster than kitchen paper absorbs household spills. Any parent knows it, and has seen it in children's behaviour since the days of Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which turned my boys into hyperactive aliens until I carefully limited their TV time and steered them back towards Postman Pat.

Now, however, the nation's teachers are reporting that too much television is making life unbearable at school - transforming our little Siennas, Chloes, Joshuas and Mohammeds into a generation of foul-mouthed Vicky Pollards and Gordon Ramsays.

I know they're right - because I have heard it, too. Kids do copy swearing from TV and it's not the same sort of swearing you used to overhear several years ago from the kids at the corner shop or the bus stop, who'd let a fourletter word slip out, have a giggle and then instinctively hush up because adults were within earshot.
Catherine Tate

A bad influence? Lippy schoolgirl Lauren from the Catherine Tate Show

Nowadays, the swearing, aggressive, defiant behaviour is right in your face. They're proud of it. It defines them. After all, it's on the telly, isn't it?

...Read full article

 

2nd April   

Transphobia...

Complaints about jokes targeting Moving Wallpaper lady boy
Link Here

Ofcom has received more than 50 complaints about an episode of ITV comedy Moving Wallpaper over alleged transphobia.

The complaints focus on an episode aired on 20th March, in which trans character Georgina was mocked by other characters.

Viewers complained that she was the subject of a barrage of taunts such as She’s a walking GM crop, it’s not natural and her identity was derided by the other characters, who referred to her as it and 'joking' about her hairy hands, stubbly face and Adam's apple.

A Facebook group of 424 members is encouraging viewers to complain to Ofcom, arguing that production company Kudos blatantly flouted official guidelines in order to use a transsexual character as the butt of cruelty.

The show's broadcast has inspired Ryan Combs to create a group called Trans Media Watch , which serves to acknowledge transphobic rhetoric where it exists and call people to action to fight against harmful representations of trans people and trans lives.

In response to a letter of complaint, an ITV spokesperson apologised, saying: It is never our intention to upset or to offend our viewers but obviously for you on this occasion we got it completely wrong. The episode did highlight, in a comedic way, the prejudice suffered by many, and I should like to mention that positive comments were made by the characters of Gillian and Kelly in defence of Georgina to counter those made by Jonathan Pope.

 

1st April   

Update: Channel 4 the New Daily Mail...

The Sex Education Show v Pornography doesn't impress
Link Here
Full story: The Sex Education Show...Channel 4's sex education winds up the whingers

Channel 4 reveals a 'startling' aspect of teenagers' sex lives: pornography. Schoolchildren, it appears, are big consumers of porn. A new series, The Sex Education Show v Pornography , shows how teenagers' sexual attitudes, behaviour and hang-ups are influenced by so-called adult entertainment.

A survey of 400+ pupils, aged 14 to 17, in four schools in the south and west of England suggests that the average teenager claims to watch 90 minutes of porn a week.

Three in 10 pupils say they learn about sex from porn. Yet porn actors rarely use contraception on camera. For all the bravado, there's an undercurrent of ambivalence. Asked whether pornography might give boys or girls false ideas about sex , 60% said yes.

A group of boys from Sheringham high school in Norfolk is shown photographs of 10 pairs of breasts. All say the most attractive are the ones that have been surgically enhanced. A posse of their female classmates says the same thing.

Similarly, when the programme makers show boys and girls a woman opening her legs to reveal hair, there are gasps, some born of disgust. In porn, females are always shaved down below. Girls admit that they are starting to shave their lower regions and that boys expect them to do so. The pupils' reaction shows how their expectations of what bodies should look like are framed by watching porn.

Unsurprisingly, 45% of girls at Sheringham are unhappy with their breasts and almost a third would consider surgery. Presenter, Anna Richardson, says: Teenage boys told us that they feel very anxious about the size of their penises, because they're being influenced by porn. They're very anxious about their performance as and when they do come to have sex because they see what happens in porn and think, 'Well, that's how it's meant to be'. Richardson says she found making the series distressing and disturbing.

Comment: Letter to Ofcom

From Shaun

Dear Sir/Madam,

I wish to complain about the clearly biased and hysterical reporting used in these programmes. It seems as if Channel 4 have adopted an agenda to impose censorship of the internet on everyone in this country. Is that because of their failing viewing figures ?

In the first programme, the female presenter went online searching for pornographic material. According to her, she was taken to a site featuring a SIX year old within a matter of minutes! This was with a well known online search engine clearly visible. After FIFTEEN YEARS of online experience, I can assure you that this SIMPLY DOES NOT HAPPEN. It has NEVER happened to me, and I hope it NEVER does! As Ofcom and the ITC before it, might be aware, I have been involved in this debate for some years. I therefore suggest the following possibilities regarding the six year old :

1: The woman was very unlucky, which is extremely unlikely, especially given the time she was shown surfing.

2: The woman was in fact lying, and there was no such explicit image of a six year old girl. For obvious reasons the image wasn't shown on our screens so we could not in anyway know.

3: The woman knew EXACTLY where to look for such a video, and used the images in the video to try and shock the rest of the team, and the TV audience, instilling fear and doubt into many I've no doubt.
Whatever the circumstances it DID NOT represent what happens in the real world.

On the second programme broadcast at midnight she hysterically approached Sony, and PC World asking them why they didn't always have enabled child filters installed on the PCs they sell, and accused them of not caring about children. PC world and Sony are not in a position to judge what filtering software might be suitable for a potential purchaser. The onus should be on the parent to arrange protection, as I did for MY children, now aged 15 and 17 year old.

So far the programme has been a shocking, biased and completely hysterical slant on what can be a difficult issue. I am not saying there isn't justification for a debate, but please, let it be a rational and honest one.

As for censorship, Ofcom will be aware that the Europeans have had explicit material available on Cable and Satellite for years, without evidence of harm to the Europeans. The BBFC have concluded the same, regarding R18 films in this country. Why therefore, is this ridiculous hysterical programme being broadcast in its current form ?

Have you seen channel 4s main web page, and their Crusade against such material at www.channel4.com ?

Many thanks for your time.

Shaun also comments to the Melon Farmers forum:

What's the difference between fantasizing about being with a stunningly beautiful girl, with perfect breasts and body or the male equivalent, or being able to play all the works of Beethoven and Chopin effortlessly?

Both are completely unachievable for most folk. As is being a brilliant athlete, sportsman or actor.

Yet we are bombarded with images of brilliant musicians, athletes, actors and and sportsman all the time. The better looking the human, the better it is. But no one suggests that these should be censored in any way, do they ?

But when it comes to the human body, and sex, we seem to have a problem Houston.


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