Melon Farmers Original Version

UK TV and Radio News


2009: Oct-Dec

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29th December   

Bor-ing...

Radio DJ sacked for cracks during the Queen's speech
Link Here

The comedian behind inept DJ Ivan Brackenbury has been fired from a radio station after interrupting the Queen's speech with a gag.

Tom Binns was sacked by the Midlands-based Orion Media after pulling the plug on the royal Christmas broadcast and saying on air: Two words: Bor-ing.

A couple of listeners complained including one who made a death threat which was enough for bosses to give Binns the boot.

However, the group of stations, which includes BRMB in Birmingham and Mercia in Coventry, was never meant to broadcast the Queen's message in the first place.

Binns told Chortle: I was working on my own on Christmas Day; I'd even had to let myself into the studio. After the guy before me finished, we should have taken the news from Sky, and then my show would start. But instead of the news, we got the Queen's speech. I knew it shouldn't be there, but having never heard it before, I didn't know how long it was going to go on for. I'm not trained to make editorial decisions, but I decided to get rid of it and make a joke. I said, "Two words: bor-ring"

I then went into an old riff about how people say the royal family are good for tourism, but the French beheaded theirs and people still visit France. The next record was George Michael's Last Christmas, so I made some sort of comment about "going from one Queen to another" as a parody of a cheesy DJ.

One man got really angry, he sent me a message saying I should be sent to Basra and hoped I'd get killed by a roadside bomb. That was so nasty it really got to me, given that it was Christmas and I've seen in graphic detail the effects those bombs can do as I've worked with [forces radio] BFBS.

I rang him up off-air to give him a piece of my mind; but other than that almost all the texts we received were in support of what I'd done.

Nobody would have tuned in to hear the Queen's speech; and I tried to deal with it in a funny way. After all, they employ comedians to make jokes.

But it seems a knee-jerk reaction to fire me. Broadcasters are scared to death of regulators since the Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand affair, and even though only a very few listeners objected to what I'd said, that was enough.

It's got to the point where comedians aren't allowed to say anything that could possibly offend anyone any more.

David Lloyd, Orion Media Group's programme and marketing director, said: On Christmas Day, one of our presenters, Tom Binns, made some inappropriate comments surrounding the Queen's speech. We do not condone what he said in any way; whether said in jest or not. We are making contact with the small number of listeners who were offended by Tom's comments and have complained to us to convey our apologies, and have also apologised on air.

 

19th December   

Pop My Cherry...

Vivienne Pattison hypes Coronation Street
Link Here

Despite being one of Britain's most controversial celebrities, Katie Price aka Jordan is deemed so socially important a new Coronation Street plotline features one of the characters wanting to emulate her.

Rosie Webster, played by actress Helen Flanagan, stuns her family when she decides she wants to be the new Jordan.

The character, who is 18 in the show, has a test photo shoot, dressed in 'provocative' outfits. In one photograph, she wears a white and red cheerleader's top, with the words: Pop My Cherry emblazoned on the back. While in another, she wears a corset and thigh high stocking as she hitches up her skirt.

Vivienne Pattison, from Mediawatch-UK, said: This is a pre-watershed programme but I don't think this is suitable viewing before the watershed.

 

18th December   

Rage Against the Cowell Machine...

Strong language hype for Killing in the Name
Link Here

The BBC has apologised after Radio 5 live broadcast strong language from Rage Against the Machine in a live performance of their song Killing In The Name .

Zack de la Rocha, the US band's singer, was heard swearing four times on the station's breakfast show.

A BBC spokesman said: We had spoken to the band repeatedly beforehand and they had agreed not to swear. He added: When they did, we faded the band out and said sorry immediately. We apologise again to anyone who was offended.

The band were interviewed in a live link-up with the US on Thursday morning, before performing the song. As the song was abruptly faded out during the controversial closing bars of the song, listeners heard presenter Shelagh Fogarty say, get rid of it . She added: Sorry. We needed to get rid of that because that suddenly turned in to something we were not expecting. We are honoured they've chosen our song to be the rebel anthem to try to topple the X Factor monopoly Tom Morello Rage Against The Machine. Well, we were expecting it and asked them not to do it and they did it anyway - so buy Joe's record.

Rage Against The Machine's 90s hit is in the running for the Christmas number one after a group was set up on website Facebook urging people to buy it. The group was set up in protest at the dominance of the X Factor winners singles in the Christmas charts in recent years.

Guitarist Tom Morello said the internet campaign tapped into the silent majority of the people in the UK who are tired of being spoon-fed one schmaltzy ballad after another .

 

18th December   

Bullied...

Hollyoaks storyline changed after complaint from James Bulger's mother
Link Here

The makers of Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks have agreed to change upcoming scenes following a complaint that they bore similarities to the James Bulger case.

A future plot was to have revealed two characters had been living under false names after bullying a child to death.

But when the mother of murdered toddler James Bulger complained, production company Lime Pictures agreed to amend certain aspects of the storyline.

Denise Fergus said she was grateful that they are respecting my wishes .   made it clear that I did not want those scenes broadcast and I'm pleased to say they clearly understood my feelings, she told independent news website Click Liverpool.

 

10th December   

Lumbering Entity...

Greg Dyke calls for BBC to be regulated by the TV censor Ofcom
Link Here

Greg Dyke, the former director general of the BBC, has called for the BBC Trust to be abolished with regulation handed to either Ofcom or a new public service broadcasting watchdog.

Dyke, giving the annual Royal Television Society Christmas lecture, also argued that Channel Five has no real chance of surviving as an independent broadcaster and should become part of the ITV family .

He said that the BBC Trust, the corporation's governance and regulatory body, is an expensive, lumbering entity that has found itself hamstrung by the impossible dual role of attempting to regulate and champion the corporation.

The [BBC] Trust is unduly slow and bureaucratic, expensive to run and creates inbuilt conflict within the organisation [which] has left the BBC without a supportive board or chairman and the director general without the 'cover' any chief executive needs, added Dyke.

In any organisation the chairman/chief executive relationship is all important and here the structure works against it being effective. Most of all, when the organisation is under attack, as it currently is, the chairman isn't free to defend it as he should because he's really the regulator, he said.

Dyke argued that it was more logical for Ofcom to regulate the BBC and a new board - with a non-executive chairman and executive and non-executive members - should be responsible for running the corporation.

 

10th December   

Bitching about Bollocks...

Vivienne Pattison whinges at mild language on daytime TV
Link Here

Nutters say too many incidents of bad language and inappropriate material are capable of being seen by children before the 9pm cut-off.

On Tuesday, art critic Brian Sewell, a guest on The Alan Titchmarsh Show , which starts at 3pm, said of Victoria Beckham: I have great respect for David Beckham but his wife is ghastly. She is just a common little bitch. Alan Titchmarsh apologised to viewers shortly afterwards.

Later during The One Show , which starts at 7pm, actress Bette Midler blurted out the word bollocks as she was being interviewed.  She was talking on the BBC show about how happy she was to be visiting the UK. She said: This is a kind of fabulous place and I am always happy to come. She then added: Oh bollocks .

Vivienne Pattison, director of pressure group Mediawatch-UK, said: We know that audiences do not like this kind of language. It should be made clearer to guests that swearing is not allowed.

Pattison added: Obviously in live TV things happen and we know how difficult that is and the presenter has to get out of that very quickly. But I am concerned that it is still happening.

I certainly think that it should be made clearer to guests that swearing is not allowed. It is quite extraordinary that they are not allowed to swear on these shows in the States and yet they come over here and do it. It is down to the editors on live TV show to let their guests know that this is the case.

Conservative MP, Philip Davies, who sits on the culture, media and sport select committee, also expressed concerns about the incidents: I completely understand the anger of viewers, particularly if they are watching something with their children. It is totally unacceptable. Parents will be rightly angry to be subjected to this when we do have watershed. Maybe the broadcasters can do more.

 

10th December   

A Variety of Innuendo...

Whinging about Patrick McGuinness at the Royal Variety Performance
Link Here

The Daily Mail reports that audience members including the Queen and young children were left 'stunned' after comedian Patrick McGuinness delivered a number of sexual innuendoes during his stand-up routine at the Royal Variety Performance.

McGuinness made references to his genitalia and included a jibe at presenter Paul O'Grady's sexuality. He arrived on stage mid-way through the show. Part of his act included a spoof guide to living in the north of England, which he directed at the Queen and Prince Philip.

Using a pointer as a prop for the sketch he welcomed the Monarch before saying: I know what you're thinking. I've got a small pointer. But my girlfriend always tells me that the smallest acorns make the biggest oaks.

It drew muted reaction from the 3,000 audience members before he addressed the Queen once again and made a remark about the sexuality of Paul O'Grady. In reference to the openly gay Liverpool-born presenter, he told her: You may be the Queen of our country, but we've got our own queen here in the north. Paul O'Grady. Royal audience: The Queen

Now ITV producers say that they are considering whether or not the offending material breaches the company's guidelines and if it is unsuitable for a family audience.

Nutter groups have said ITV must cut the smutty gags from the show ahead of its broadcast at 7.30pm next Wednesday.

McGuinness continued with his set before proclaiming the virtues of a local Indian restaurant telling the gathered crowd: You haven't lived until you've had eight of Ahmed's peshwari balls in your mouth. The gag was again greeted with nervous laughter.

A spokesman for ITV said that the show would be edited to adhere to strict pre-watershed guidelines but said it was too early to say whether McGuinness's comments would be cut: The Royal Variety Performance transmits at 7.30pm and programmes comply with all regulatory guidelines. In addition, the performance is recorded as live, but is edited so that it fits into the allotted running time.

A spokesman for Mediawatch UK, who campaign for responsible broadcasting, said that it hoped ITV would ensure the programme was suitable for a family audience.

Vivienne Pattison said: Broadcasters make a big deal about the watershed in order to protect children and I'd like to see that taken seriously. I'd like to think ITV will take all the necessary steps to make sure that the Royal Variety Show is suitable for a pre-watershed audience.

A spokesman for Buckingham Palace refused to say whether the Queen had been offended by any of the comments made on stage by McGuinness.

 

7th December   

Rat Surprise...

I'm a celebrity get me out of court
Link Here
Full story: I'm a Celebrity...TV show done for cruel bush tucker

I TV has apologised after a rat was killed and cooked during this year's I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!

It also said it would tighten up its procedures. The producers will not face charges over alleged animal cruelty on the show, Australian police have said. However charges are being brought against the winner, chef Gino D'Acampo and contestant Stuart Manning after they cooked a rat to eat. The pair have been ordered to appear in court on 3 February 2010.

The RSPCA in New South Wales said it was not acceptable an animal had been killed as part of a performance.

The production was asked if a rat could be caught and eaten by the celebrities in exile camp to supplement the basic rations they had been provided with for their evening meal, said a spokesman for ITV. Having sought health and safety advice, the go-ahead was given purely on this basis... the production was unaware that killing a rat could be an offence.

He added that ITV accepted that further inquiries should have been made. ITV apologises for this error, and to the celebrities concerned, and will put in place procedures for next year's series to ensure that this cannot happen again.

During the series, the contestants were divided into two groups, one of which was in exile with meagre rations. D'Acampo decided to kill and eat the rat to add meat to the group's meal. He told the show's video diary room, the Bush Telegraph: It's not done by choice but it's done because we need it. We need some kind of protein, we need some kind of flavour. I saw one of these rats running around. I got a knife, I got its throat, I picked it up.

Fellow contestant George Hamilton spoke out in defence of D'Acampo, telling the Daily Mirror that ITV producers had given them permission to eat the rodent.

The actor said: I went into the Bush Telegraph and said, 'May we eat a rat?' They were a bit shocked, thought about it and then said we could. It was a very good dinner.

 

2nd December   

A Lady Thatcher...

BBC Trust dismisses complaints against Jo Brand
Link Here

A complaint about a gag by comedian Jo Brand in which she claimed Lady Thatcher sounded like a hair removal device has been rejected by the BBC Trust.

The body also decided not to uphold complaints about Brand's comments about incontinence which she made in the same edition of BBC1's QI earlier this year, which one viewer claimed were ageist and sexist.

The jokes were broadcast just days after Baroness Thatcher's daughter Carol had been dismissed from her job as a reporter on The One Show after using the word golliwog off-air The incident had been witnessed by Brand, who was a guest on the early evening show.

During the Stephen Fry-hosted QI show, which was broadcast in February, just two days after Carol Thatcher's dismissal, Brand joked: It was great actually when she became Lady Thatcher. Because then she sounded like a device for removing pubic hair. You couldn't take her seriously after that.

Later in the show she asked: Is there a facility for men to wet themselves when they cough? Does that ever happen to blokes? Do men wet themselves when they cough, when they get old?

Controller Jay Hunt said Brand's comments were not poking fun at the former prime minister but were merely referring to her name.

A complaint to the BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit was originally rejected earlier this year and now an appeal to the Trust's Editorial Standards Committee has also been turned down. The committee thought the play on words and the joke about incontinence were editorially justified , did not amount to prejudice and did not breach programme guidelines.

 

1st December   

25th Hour Warning...

BBC 1 interrupts film with strong language warning
Link Here

The Guardian columnist Charlie Brooker noticed that the BBC thought the language was so strong in the film 25th Hour that it required a warning - in the middle of the film!

The online reaction is that this seem a tad too far, even considering BBC 1's propensity for censorship (unlike its sister station BBC 2!).

 

30th November   

Too Salty!...

A few whinges about Harry Hill and swastika shaped potato crisps
Link Here

Harry Hill has landed a few whinges over Nazi gags on his TV Burp show.

A few 'angry' viewers contacted TV censor Ofcom after the comic held up a potato snack in the shape of a swastika while poking fun at BBC1's Jimmy's Food Factory.

In another episode he compared Jimmy Docherty's Vienetta ice creams to German tanks invading Poland. A line of Vienettas were then paraded across the floor.

Ofcom has received complaints from 'shocked' viewers. They claim the show, which takes a cheeky look at the week's telly, insulted members of the Jewish religion and those who fought in the world wars. One protester said: There are certain things you don't joke about.

But Mark Frazer from the Board of Deputies of British Jews said it had not received any complaints. He said: It just sounds like a load of silliness.

And ITV spokesman Mike Large said it had not received any complaints about the German jokes.

Update: Pardoned

24th December 2009. Based on article from chortle.co.uk

The TV censor has ruled that 13 complaints about the episode of Harry Hill's TV Burp that compared Viennetta to German tanks did not breach broadcast rules.

A dozen sensitive viewers took offence at the ridiculous sketch that compared products coming off the production to tanks rolling into Poland.

There were also complaints that Hill displayed a potato snack in the shape of a swastika.

 

29th November   

Diplomatic Incident...

Stephen Fry called to explain Channel 4 News comments to Polish ambassador
Link Here

Channel 4 logoStephen Fry has been summoned to the Polish embassy in London on Monday to provide the ambassador with an explanation of his supposedly offensive comments last month about about Auschwitz.

Yes, he is having lunch at the embassy, confirms a spokesman for the Polish ambassador, Barbara Tuge-Erecinska. This meeting is connected to Mr Fry's remarks on Channel 4. They will discuss a range of issues.

In a debate about the Conservatives' links with Poland's Law and Justice party, Fry appeared to accuse Polish Catholics of being complicit in the Final Solution . Remember which side of the border Auschwitz was on, he said.

The Polish embassy had accused Stephen Fry of slander after he suggested Poles had played a role in the Holocaust.

He made the comments on Channel 4 news while talking about the Conservative Party's links with Poland's Law and Justice party. The party has members that have faced accusations of anti-Semitism and homophobia, and Fry appeared to hint that Poland may hold some responsibility for the mass murder of European Jews.

Let's face it, there has been a history in Poland of right-wing Catholicism, which has been deeply disturbing for those of us who know a little history, and remember which side of the border Auschwitz was on, he said.

 

28th November

 Offsite: A Bit Miffed...

Link Here
Full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua
Comedy writers 'no longer taking risks'

See article from news.bbc.co.uk

 

28th November

 Offsite: Filthy English...

Link Here
An Uncensored History of Swearing on Television

See article from independent.co.uk

 

27th November   

Censorial Spirit...

BBC drop segment of The Spirit of Diaghilev ballet
Link Here

The BBC has abandoned plans to screen a ballet featuring a deformed Pope who rapes nuns that it had announced as one of the highlights of its Christmas schedule.

Last month the corporation said it would televise In The Spirit Of Diaghilev from Sadler's Wells as part of a season of ballet programmes.

The tribute to the Russian impresario comprises four acts, each by a groundbreaking choreographer, with the entire production due to be screened on BBC Four next month.

Richard Klein, BBC Four Controller, promised viewers a great watch , hailing the combination of one of the most inventive and musically exciting ballet scores being performed by one of Britain's foremost dance groups .

But it wasn't until the production premiered at Sadler's Wells that the BBC discovered that one of the acts, Eternal Damnation To Sancho And Sanchez by Javier de Frutos, centres on a group of horny priests and a fictional hunchback Pope, who rapes eunuchs and pregnant nuns. The act prompted boos from the Sadler's Wells audience and a number of walk-outs.

After extensive discussions within the BBC, the corporation has decided to drop the de Frutos section. The three other acts will air as planned during the broadcast on December 18.

A BBC spokesman said: We have decided not to show this particular work as it contains material unsuitable for the pre-watershed slot for which the programme was commissioned.

The BBC said it could not show the Pope act in a separate late-night transmission, with a clear warning, because it would still be considered inappropriate for a pre-Christmas broadcast.

The three other In The Spirit Of Diaghilev acts, which have been favourably received, are not narratively linked so the BBC believes that viewers will not notice the cut.

 

24th November   

Update: Romania Easily Offended...

Romania whinges at top gear for Borat and gypsies reference
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Full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

Jeremy Clarkson is in trouble again, this time with Romanian government

The production team of the BBC two hit series Top Gear have been asked by the Romanian government to remove supposedly offensive remarks made about the country. The Romanian ambassador Dr Ion Jinag was surprised and disappointed by the references to Borat and gypsies.

When Clarkson and his co-presenters Hammond and May visited the Romanian countryside, Jeremy put on a pork pie style hat and talked of entering Borat country. Clarkson said: I'm wearing this hat so the gypsies think I am one. I'm told they can be violent if they don't like the look of you.

The presenter was also seen washing his face before he said 'cool, refreshing communist water'. The Romanian embassy said: We anticipate a positive response to our request for changes.

 

24th November

 Offsite: Rocking the Social Cohesion Boat...

Link Here
Full story: Undercover Mosque...Police made false accusations re Undercover Mosque
An insidious argument for censorship

See article from guardian.co.uk

 

21st November   

Update: Ofcom Busybodies...

Jon Gaunt has a knock at radio censorship
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Full story: Jon Gaunt and Talksport Nazis...Talksport sack radio presenter over Nazi jibe

Shock jock Jon Gaunt has launched a blistering attack on the level of censorship in radio - claiming it will kill the medium and calling for Ofcom to be scrapped.

The Sun Radio presenter, who has been hauled over the coals by Ofcom five times and was famously fired from TalkSport for calling a counselor a Nazi, slammed the regulator as a bunch of busybodies and an unelected quango - adding, people don't need Ofcom when they have an off switch .

He also claimed that radio is self-censoring in the wake of Sachsgate, and that this fear of a scandal will eventually be the medium's undoing.

Do you know the worst thing about the Ross/Brand thing. It's censorship. And I don't mean censorship by other [organizations], I mean self-censorhsip, he said. That's what's going to kill radio.

Speaking at The Media Festival in Manchester, Gaunt claimed he has never been more heavily censored than when he worked at the BBC.

 

21st November

 Offsite: One Year On...

Link Here
Full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua
Is censorship taking over the BBC?

See article from news.bbc.co.uk

 

20th November   

Yes! Yes! Yes!...

Nutters have an orgasm over teatime clip from When Harry Met Sally
Link Here

A BBC presenter used his teatime show to broadcast an audio clip of a woman in the throes of an orgasm.

DJ Steve Harris played the ten-second recording of oohs , ahhs and yes! yes! yes! when talking about the new drug flibanserin, described as a female equivalent of Viagra.

But his decision to use the clip of actress Meg Ryan in a famous scene from the film When Harry Met Sally left a few nutters whingeing

Steve Masters, editor of the website ukparentslounge.com and father of girls aged 12 and seven, said: Sometimes it's easy for radio presenters to forget their audience but they ought to know better than to play such content at this time of day. On my scale of acceptability, as a parent, I think a bit of rudeness you can get away with, but lewdness you can't.

Vivienne Pattison, director of campaign group Mediawatch UK, said the BBC had made a serious error of judgment: Parents driving in their cars having just picked up their children from school would have been horrified to hear the clip. It boils down to a decision taken by the producers of that particular show. The BBC have a serious responsibility to their audience but this was totally inappropriate for that time slot.

The clip was broadcast on BBC Radio Solent, which covers Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight, at 4.20pm on Monday.

Harris played it immediately after asking listeners: What would you say if I asked if you were interested in a female version of Viagra?   As the screams of pleasure stopped, he joked: I thought that might get an enthusiastic response. He then discussed flibanserin with a health reporter. But when he returned to the subject after playing a record, Harris was more coy, saying: I think we will stop this now. This is, after all, a family show.

Last night the BBC said: It wasn't our intention to offend. This was a lighthearted intro to an informative discussion utilising one of the best-known film clips of the last 20 years. We've had not a single complaint or comment.

 

20th November   

Updated: Nutters Pissed...

School kids try ethanol after seeing the idea on Waterloo Road
Link Here

Six pupils were taken to hospital after drinking ethanol the day after watching similar scenes in the BBC drama Waterloo Road .

Five girls and a boy, aged 14 and 15, saw the scenes in which a teenager drinks some of the pure alcohol stolen from a science department.

The next day, the students did the same thing, stealing the liquid during a science lesson and spiriting it away to drink.

The alarm was raised by a member of staff at Aldridge School in Walsall, a specialist science college. The pupils had confessed to the teacher and also later told headteacher David Mountney they had watched the episode of Waterloo Road the day before. In the TV show featuring a fictional school, the girl drinks the ethanol hoping it will cure her hangover but it makes her violently ill.

A small amount of the chemical is the same as a large number of normal alcoholic drinks and the immediate effects are nausea, vomiting and intoxication. In large quantities, it can cause almost immediate loss of consciousness and even death.

Three ambulances and a paramedic in a rapid response vehicle were sent to the school to take the pupils to hospital. After blood tests, they were allowed home and were back at school yesterday.

Yesterday, the BBC was criticised for screening the disturbing scenes before the 9pm watershed. A parent living near the school, who declined to be named, said: I was watching the programme and I thought someone would copy it. It never should have been screened because children are very impressionable.

The BBC should be punished for this - it could have turned out so much worse. Vivianne Pattison, director of television watchdog Mediawatch, said it was worrying that a screen plot had apparently led to the pupils' actions. People say TV does not have any effect on real life and then something like this happens, she said.

Broadcasters keep saying viewers can tell the difference between TV and reality but this shows this is clearly not the case. They need to know that what they put out does have an effect, especially on young minds.

A BBC spokesman defended the content of the programme and insisted it had dealt with an important issue; Waterloo Road has always tackled serious issues of the day in a responsible manner. Wednesday's episode clearly showed the dangers of using ethanol and did not glamorise it in any way. Each storyline is thoroughly researched using experts within their respective fields.

Update: Another Round of Drinks

20th November 2009. Based on article from dailymail.co.uk

Four schoolgirls are said to have become seriously ill after drinking ethanol when copying a scene from the BBC drama Waterloo Road .

It is the second time within a week that pupils have imitated what they've seen on TV.

In this latest incident the youngsters, who are thought to have found the potentially lethal neat alcohol in their school's science lab, reportedly mixed it with Ribena.

The pupils at Highfield School in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, are believed to have complained of stomach and head pains and were taken to hospital.

One parent from Letchworth told the Daily Mirror: Everyone here thinks they must have watched Waterloo Road and tried to imitate it.

Vivianne Pattison of television watchdog Mediawatch said: Broadcasters need to know what they put out has an effect.

A BBC spokesman said: Last week's episode clearly showed the dangers of using ethanol and did not glamorise it in any way.

 

18th November   

Update: A Religious Thought...

Thought for the day to continue to deny non-religious thoughts
Link Here
Full story: Thought for the Day...Religion monopoly on Radio 4's god slot

The BBC should broadcast a version of Radio 4's Thought for the Day for non-believers, John Humphrys said yesterday.

The Today programme presenter said that Radio 4 should create an alternative outlet for the irreligious, after the BBC's governing body ruled that excluding atheists from the three-minute religious slot did not fall foul of its impartiality regulations.

Humphrys told The Times: As a non-believer, I've always thought there's an argument for a secular Thought for the Day but not because of discrimination. I think we'd get some interesting views.

The BBC Trust rejected 12 complaints, led by the National Secular Society, against a decision by Mark Damazer, the controller of Radio 4, that atheists should continue to be barred from Thought for the Day . Related Links

Terry Sanderson, president of the society, claimed that allowing a religious monopoly gave speakers a platform on the news programme to put a biased point of view that no one can question them about .

The trustees said that the necessary impartiality could be achieved by broadcasting alternative views within Thought For The Day within the week, or by the presenters referring listeners to other portions of the Today programme that dealt with conflicting views.

Richard Tait, chairman of the Trust's Editorial Standards Committee, which considered the appeals, said: We understand that some people feel strongly about this issue and have given it careful consideration. However, we have concluded that the current arrangements do not breach BBC editorial guidelines and specifically requirements of due impartiality in content.

 

16th November

 Offsite: Nodding Off...

Link Here
BBC banned Enid Blyton for 30 years for being naff

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

15th November   

Update: Rhubarb and Guff...

Russell Brand unrepentant about Sachs gag
Link Here
Full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

Comic Russell Brand said he would never tone down his comedy routine and was not afraid of censure. As hundreds of fans flocked to a DVD signing session in London yesterday, Brand leapt to the defence of fellow stand-ups Jimmy Carr and Frankie Boyle, who were criticised recently for offensive routines.

Frankie Boyle is brilliant and Jimmy Carr is brilliant, he said. They're not trying to be offensive, no-one is actually offended, the people saying they're offended aren't actually offended, the whole thing is constructed.

He added: If you hear it (the joke] delivered cold, like vomit into the nape of your neck, it might be offensive, but mucking around I don't think is offensive.

Last year, Brand resigned from his job at BBC Radio 2 after a scandal surrounding a series of lewd messages he left on actor Andrew Sachs' answer phone. But he insists Manuel-gate , as Brand prefers to call it, was just rhubarb and guff and he would do the same again.

I would've done nothing differently. I apologise for the thing I did wrong to the person I did it to, but the whole subsequent scandal was funny. It's just rhubarb and guff.

And he vowed never to tone down his own material for fear of further censure: I will not lose my edge.

 

11th November   

Update: Nanny Beeb...

Richard Herring goes online to avoid BBC censors
Link Here
Full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

Richard Herring has complained about the increasing regulations on radio shows since Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand's controversial phonecall to Andrew Sachs.

The comedian told Metro that greater censorship was the reason for his new series of online gigs, which are written on Sunday, performed on Monday and released as a podcast on Tuesday.

He said: Radio shows can take two years to get on air and there are so many restrictions about content now. Most people don't need nannying in that way.

It's got worse since the Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand thing but even on my last show, there were battles. I wasn't allowed to use Schopenhauer's quote about history being a whore with syphilis as it was deemed offensive.

 

10th November   

Comment: Olivia Recommends...

Daily Mail pick up John Beyer's role of identifying good Melon Farming TV
Link Here

   Olivia Recommends:
True Blood

Channel 4's latest attempt to seduce us with a mixture of swearing and sex comes in the form of True Blood , the latest in the long line of sexually explicit, violent and vulgar programmes that have, sadly, become the norm on British television.

True Blood is a shocking tale of depravity, explicit sexuality (bordering on pornography) and vile language.

Even before the opening credits have rolled in the first episode, we see a young woman pleasuring a young man while driving her car.

The plot is lazily set up at the outset via a television broadcast of a lady vampire informing us that since scientists have found a way to make artificial human blood, vampires no longer represent a threat to society.

As the tale unfolds, we learn there has been a horrifying reversal of events and that some humans, known as vampire drainers, like to drink the blood of vampires as it increases their strength, sexual appetite and performance.

The programme is full of others with fantastical powers. Set in Louisiana, there's the telepathic waitress, Sookie, and the shapeshifter Sam. Then there are the fang-bangers - humans who like having sex with vampires - and the drug dealers.

More offensive than all this is the sheer distasteful nature of the content. There's oral sex, overt discussion of genitalia, graphic sex scenes bordering on the deviant, and foul language.

It's animalistic, violent, corrupt and scary, and it airs on Channel 4 at 10pm on Wednesdays.

Comment: Foul

10th November 2009. From Alan

Nice to see the Daily Mail being so consistent about the evils of swearing, particularly as the editor-in-chief, Paul Dacre, is known to his subordinates as "the vagina monologue" on account of the frequency with which he uses the C-word around the office.

 

10th November   

Update: Scooby Doo Doo...

Having a whinge at children's cartoon violence
Link Here

Cartoons should be given movie-style age ratings to protect children from the violence shown in programmes such as Scooby Doo and Batman , a child safety 'expert' has warned.

Dr Karen Pfeffer, a senior lecturer at Lincoln University, said that risky behaviour which would normally lead to injury is rarely shown to have negative consequences in cartoons.

She claims to have found evidence that there children who watch violent programmes are more likely to engage in risky behaviour and injure themselves.

Dr Pfeffer, who is also an international mentor for the World Health Organisation, will address the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents this week and call for children's television programmes, particularly live action programmes, to carry ratings for parents to make informed choices for their children.

Among the programmes she deemed to contain the most risky behaviour were Scooby-Doo , Batman , X-Men and Ben 10 .

I have looked at whether television's portrayal of risky behaviour affects children and have found evidence of children imitating dangerous TV behaviours, evidence of a positive correlation between amount of TV viewing and injury rates and evidence that TV viewing can affect children's perceptions of risk, she said.

TV provides dangerous role models for children, especially boys. It is recommended that children's television programmes, particularly live action programmes, include ratings for parents on the portrayal of injury content. This would assist parents to make informed decisions.

Dr Pfeffer's paper, Risk and injury portrayal in boys' and girls' favourite television programmes , will be published later this month.

 

9th November   

Update: Effs Off...

Latest Gordon Ramsay show loses most of the strong language
Link Here

Gordon Ramsay has cut the strong language on his new series by 90%.

In the first episode of his new series of The F Word , he swore nine times, including six 'fucks'. Swearing guests took the total expletives to 12.

One viewer said: It's like he had Tourette's and they found a miracle cure. He's obviously been told to cut down his swearing.

But Tuesday's The F Word attracted just 1.8m viewers - half the number it got last summer.

 

7th November   

Update: Beeb Goes Bland...

Channel 4 is the sole guardian of nonconformism and provocation
Link Here
Full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

Channel 4 logoFear of causing offence has left TV in danger of becoming too bland, Channel 4's programme chief has said.

Julian Bellamy told the Royal Television Society that recent scandals were preventing broadcasters from taking creative risks.

He said the BBC appeared to avoid controversial ideas like the plague in the wake of last year's Radio 2 prank calls row: After a string of scandals about taste and decency, it seems to avoid disruptive, potentially controversial ideas like the plague. Time and again, producers tell me this and I believe it.

Bellamy said the industry's compliance spiral threatened to bland out the medium to no-one's benefit . But he said Channel 4 would continue to take creative risks even when public sentiment risks being offended . He described it as the sole guardian of nonconformism and provocation on Britain's most powerful cultural medium . I genuinely believe if Channel 4 retreats into conservatism we will cease to be a meaningful cultural force .

 

2nd November   

Update: The Spoon Lady Complains...

Rebecca Adlington considers punishment for Frankie Boyle's quip to be inadequate
Link Here
Full story: Frankie Boyle...Whinges about Frankie Boyle and Mock the Week

Olympic swimming champion Rebecca Adlington has formally complained to the BBC that it let comedian Frankie Boyle off with a slap on the wrist over jokes that caused her deep hurt.

The double gold medal winner at last year's Beijing Olympics has demanded an explanation from the BBC Trust over why it chose not to punish the comic for outrageous slurs that left her humiliated .

And her agent has called for the BBC to ban Boyle over his comments.

During an episode of BBC2's satirical show Mock the Week last year, soon after Miss Adlington's Olympic triumph, Boyle said she resembled someone looking at themselves in the back of a spoon and followed up with sexual innuendo.

The comments sparked 75 complaints, but although the BBC Trust criticised Boyle and agreed that his remarks were unfair and offensive it took no further action such as barring him from its programmes for a period.

Miss Adlington has now written to the Corporation, calling its rebuke no more than a slap on the wrist for comments which fell well below the standards of common decency . She questioned the effectiveness of the Trust's disciplinary process and called for the corporation to take greater responsibility for its stars.

The BBC Trust said last night it had received Miss Adlington's letter and would consider it, but added: At this stage we have no plans to review the finding .

 

30th October

 Offsite: Tastes Set at a Dial...

Link Here
Full story: Frankie Boyle...Whinges about Frankie Boyle and Mock the Week
The BBC's censors risk killing off comedy

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

29th October

 Offsite: Hobnobbing with the Easily Offended...

Link Here
BBC have gone completely (ginger) nuts

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

21st October   

Update: Taboo Words...

Joan Bakewell against a diktat on strong language...BUT...
Link Here
Full story: Strong Language on TV...Whinging about strong langauge on TV

Journalist and broadcaster Joan Bakewell has described the BBC's plans to clamp down on strong language as far too sweeping a diktat .

Bakewell, whose 2001 series Taboo listed the words people find most offensive, warned there was a major danger of censorship stifling creativity.

She argued that society needs taboos and spoke up for the right to shock .

Writing in the Radio Times, Bakewell referred to the Strictly Come Dancing race row, saying it was right that using insulting words like paki could get you into trouble as Anton Du Beke deservedly found out .

She continued: Casual swearing is lazy, ugly, a glib way to let off steam on the football pitch or in the kitchen. I don't want it on my television at all. But when it's part of a tense, gritty drama - such as those set among soldiers at war like Occupation - or of an uproarious lampoon of our political system such as The Thick of It , then that's a proper use of the language and should be allowed.

 

20th October   

Update: Haunted by Censors...

Mock the Week wins the Golden Spoon Award for Bad Taste
Link Here
Full story: Frankie Boyle...Whinges about Frankie Boyle and Mock the Week

A joke about the Queen broadcast on BBC2's satirical panel show Mock the Week had been cleared by the corporation's TV censor.

Comedian Frankie Boyle joked that you would not hear the Queen say during her Christmas broadcast: I'm now so old that my p**** is haunted.

The episode had first been shown in 2007 but was repeated in October 2008 during the Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand furore.

A complainant said the joke was grossly offensive and added: It would have been objectionable at the best of times but coming as it did in the midst of the Ross and Brand controversy it was quite unforgivable.

An initial complaint to the BBC's management had been rejected saying that, while the joke was near the knuckle , it was in keeping with the show.

The viewer then took his complaint to the BBC Trust which also rejected the complaint, despite admitting the joke had sexist and ageist overtones .

Richard Tait, BBC trustee and chairman of the editorial standards committee, said the joke was well after the watershed, well signposted and within audience expectations for the show . He said: The committee did feel this joke was in bad taste - it had both sexist and ageist overtones.

However, a gag on a different episode of Mock the Week about Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington was deemed to have broken rules.

In August last year, Boyle said Adlington looks like someone who's looking at themselves in the back of a spoon . He also made a sexual innuendo about the gold medalists' love life, saying Adlington's boyfriend looked like a male model and continuing: So from that I have deduced that Rebecca Adlington is very dirty - I mean if you just take into account how long she can hold her breath...

One viewer told the BBC he was appalled .

The show's producer later responded to the complaint, saying the ribbing might have gone a tad too far and apologised.

The trust said that 75 complaints were received about the item, originally aired in the week that Team GB returned from the Olympic Games. It found that, while Adlington was a public figure, she had not courted media attention. The judgment said: The joke about her appearance and the sexual innuendo were humiliating and there was no demonstration of a clear editorial purpose for the inclusion of these comments.

The committee also noted that the commissioning editor had made her views known about preferring not to include the joke. It said it was concerned she appeared to have been unable to obtain the edits she would have preferred.

 

15th October   

Updated: The X Factor...

Amateurish over-exaggerated offence at minor gay quip
Link Here
Full story: UK TV Talent Shows...A talent for whingeing

Dannii Minogue has apologised for a quip about a finalist's sexuality live on X Factor as fans called for her to be fired.

The judge sparked 'outrage' with a comment about contestant Danyl Johnson. The teacher had finished a version of Whitney Houston's I Am Telling You when Dannii referred to reports that Danyl is bisexual.

Talking about the lyrics, she said: No need to change the gender references, if we're to believe everything we read in the press.

The comment on Saturday's show 'stunned' Johnson and 'incensed' Simon Cowell.

Thousands of fans logged on to the X Factor forum to vent their 'anger' while a survey showed more than 80% of fans wanted her kicked off the show.

One fan said: Forget the Strictly row, Dannii is the one that needs to be sacked. She was live on air and set an extremely awful example to our children.

Many said they had complained to media watchdog Ofcom.

Dannii said on her Twitter blog she meant no offence and said she was happy to apologise publicly. In a statement, she said: I want to clear up exactly what happened on Saturday night's X Factor show and post my sincere apologies to anyone who took offence. It was meant to be a humorous moment about the fact he had an opportunity to have fun with his song. An openly bi-sexual guy singing a song that is lyrically a girl's song. Danyl and I were joking about the very same thing in rehearsals on Friday, so it carried on to the show. I'd like to apologise to anyone that was offended by my comments, it was never my intention.

Danyl said he was not offended: We're completely cool about it and chatted after the show. I wasn't upse t.

Update: I'm Telling You, 4000 Complaints

15th October 2009. Based on article from guardian.co.uk

The TV censor Ofcom has now received almost 3,885 complaints from members of the public about The X Factor judge Dannii Minogue's comment about contestant Danyl Johnson's sexuality on Saturday night.

Johnson changed the lyrics of Jennifer Hudson's song I'm Telling You , in which the lyrics refer to a male, so that the song from the point of view of a man singing to a woman. Minogue subsequently made a joke with Johnson, who has been the subject of tabloid stories suggesting he is bisexual, saying that there was no need to switch the gender reference in that song .

The regulator has not yet decided whether it will launch a formal investigation into whether Minogue's comment represented a breach of its broadcasting code.

 

14th October   

Update: Buried Alive by Complaints...

BBC is to research the level of violence in its programmes
Link Here
Full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

BBC management is to conduct a study into the level of violence in its programmes after 'concerns' were raised by the BBC Trust and viewers about an EastEnders storyline that showed a character being buried alive.

Speaking at a Westminster Media Forum seminar in London on offence and standards on television, the BBC director of editorial policy, David Jordan, said that the issue of violence on TV was second in importance only to swearing for viewers: We thought we might be detecting a greater sensitivity to the threat of violence and being scared, Jordan added. There was a particular episode of EastEnders where someone was buried alive. Nobody was hurt. Nobody was brutalised, but somebody was buried alive.

He was referring to two EastEnders episodes screened on BBC1 over the Easter weekend last year in which a philandering character, Max Branning, was buried alive by his estranged wife, Tanya.

Jordan said that both the BBC Trust and Ofcom had noticed this trend for viewers to have a lower tolerance threshold for TV violence: We thought we should have a look at what levels of violence are acceptable but also in news programmes too to see what is expected. Do you sanitise things ... it's not something we've looked at for a while .

Jordan said he expected the research into violence to be carried out by the end of the year.

Channel 4's viewers' editor, Paula Carter, revealed at the same event that complaints to the broadcaster are falling. The number of complaints made to Channel 4 is declining. In the year so far they are 20% down, Carter said. She explained that the main reason is because of the declining popularity of reality show Big Brother.

Carter also revealed that of about 200,000 to 250,000 calls or emails made to Channel 4 in a year, only about 10% are complaints about issues of strong language: Our biggest single issue is in fact scheduling ... If people feel we didn't deliver a programme at the time expected, .

 

11th October   

The Show Goes On...

Channel 4 broadcast suicide episode of Hollyoaks despite calls for postponement
Link Here

Channel 4's decision to broadcast a Hollyoaks episode featuring a suicide attempt despite similarities to a real-life incident in Scotland has sparked criticism.

The instalment of the teen soap saw schizophrenic student Newt (Nico Mirallegro) attempting to take his own life after making a suicide pact with new friend Rae (Alice Barlow). The troubled character jumped from an abandoned warehouse into cold dockland water while on the run.

Earlier this week, 15-year-old Neve Lafferty and 14-year-old Georgia Rowe died after jumping into the River Clyde from the Erskine Bridge.

A spokesman for Bishopton's Good Shepherd Care Home, where the teenagers lived, has now told The Sun: The decision to air this show is likely to cause further distress.

The network confirmed that it would transmit the episode as planned hours before broadcast. Speaking at the time, a Channel 4 representative said: Any similarities are entirely coincidental and we have carefully considered how best to proceed. We feel it is appropriate to continue with the transmission of these episodes as this is not a one-off programme but an established and long-running series.

 

7th October   

Update: Humiliated Stunts...

BBC TV to dumb down to please the easily offended
Link Here
Full story: Strong Language on TV...Whinging about strong langauge on TV

BBC presenters are to be banned from swearing immediately after the 9pm watershed and from conducting humiliating and intimidating prank phone calls under sweeping changes to the corporation's editorial guidelines.

The BBC will take the radical step of putting its guidelines out for public consultation as it tries to pander to nutters after editorial blunders such as the prank phone calls involving Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand.

The BBC Trust, the internal regulator, has conducted a review of the rules governing programming and is proposing new regulations banning the use of offensive language between 9pm and 10pm except in exceptional circumstances, and encouraging producers to bleep more swear words.

Other plans to go forward for public consideration include new restrictions on risqué breakfast radio presenters, such as Chris Moyles, whose shows are on air when large numbers of children are listening.  The trust is also insisting that the BBC never condones malicious intrusion, intimidation and humiliation .

Although much of the public focus will be on the trust's recommendations for bad language and behaviour, the plans will also include rules aimed at safeguarding the accuracy and impartiality of the BBC's factual programming, as well as measures to ensure that children do not emulate aggressive behaviour of characters in programmes such as EastEnders. Regulations on ensuring the integrity of phone-ins and text voting are also proposed.

Once the public consultation period is over, the trust will consider the responses before coming to a final decision on the use of its editorial guidelines. It is expected to put the regulations into operation early next summer.

 

7th October

 Offsite: Sex Returns to TV...

Link Here
Sex scenes are in vogue again on TV

See article from entertainment.timesonline.co.uk

 

2nd October   

Limp Complaint...

BBC TV censor rejects complaint about My Penis and Everyone Else's
Link Here

The BBC Trust has rejected a complaint that the BBC should not have screened full-frontal male genitalia in a programme called My Penis and Everyone Else's.

The BBC's regulatory body said today that the show, which was originally broadcast on BBC3 at 9pm in September 2007, had not breached corporation guidelines on harm and offence.

The complainant claimed that the broadcast of male genitalia was inappropriate as it could have been seen by children and that a display of penises and the time spent showing them was gratuitous and excessive .

But the trust said that while the programme had contained what some of the audience would have considered challenging material, there was a clear editorial purpose for it and that adequate steps had been taken to flag the content beforehand.


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