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2011: April-June

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30th June   

Despicable...

Iran makes threatening noises about BBC Mohammed documentary
Link Here
Iran's minister of cultural and Islamic guidance has attacked an upcoming BBC2 documentary series on the life of the founder of Islam, the prophet Muhammad, saying the enemy was attempting to ruin Muslims' sanctity .

The three-part series, The Life of Muhammad , presented by Rageh Omaar, a Somali-born British Middle East correspondent for Al Jazeera English, is scheduled to be broadcast on BBC2 in mid-July and has been drawing increasing criticism from senior figures in Iran.

The documentary makers say it seeks to retrace the actual footsteps of the prophet from his birthplace in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca, his struggles with his prophetic role and divine revelations, his migration to Medina and establishment of the first Islamic constitution before his final return to Mecca following armed conflicts.

The BBC has made clear that its series is in line with Islamic tradition and it does not depict any images of the face of Muhammad, or feature dramatic reconstructions of Muhammad's life .

But the Iranian culture minister, Mohammad Hosseini, who has not seen the programme, said in an interview that he was worried about the BBC film. Speaking to Iran's semi-official Fars news agency, he said: The BBC's decision to make a documentary on the life of [the] prophet Muhammad seems dubious and if our suspicions are proved to be correct, we will certainly take serious action.

Hosseini added: What the enemy is trying to do in ruining the Muslims' sanctity is definitely much more than causing us to react and unfortunately, some Islamic countries are not taking this issue seriously. One way to show objections is to express condemnation of the West over their despicable actions.

 

29th June   

Well, What Were You Expecting?...

Whinges about daytime trailers for Candy Bar Girls
Link Here

Channel 5 has aired vaguely provocative trailers for Candy Bar Girls , a reality show about lesbians in London, during daytime TV.

10 nutters complained about a series of  promos for the series.

Each of the on-air promos feature teasing close-up images that appear to be of two women engaged in sexual activity, intercut with lines such as Red... hot... lesbians and Pussy... loving... ladies .

Wider shots then reveal the women to be engaged in more innocent activities, such as a gym workout and a woman stroking a toy cat in another's lap, with the voiceover stating, Well, what were you expecting? , before a plug for Candy Bar Girls.

Ofcom is investigating the promos to see if they are in breach of broadcasting regulations about appropriate scheduling and harm and offence.

 

21st June   

Update: Chewing on Life's Gristle...

The BBC to dramatise the story of the Life of Brian
Link Here
Full story: Monty Python...Monty Python winds up the nutters

The BBC is to dramatise the unholy row over Monty Python's Life of Brian

The religious controversy that engulfed the Monty Python film on its 1979 release was no laughing matter, and is now to be the subject of a BBC drama.

Holy Flying Circus , written by Tony Roche will air this autumn on BBC4 and aims to use the Life of Brian controversy to explore the subject of free speech.

Monty Python's irreverent take on the story of Jesus Christ revolved around Brian Cohen, a reluctant fictional Messiah in first century Judea who is eventually crucified. Church leaders in the US and the UK protested, claiming it mocked Christ, and the film was banned in several countries including Ireland and Norway as well as by several UK local authorities.

The film was heavily criticised by the Roman Catholic journalist and satirist Malcolm Muggeridge and the Bishop of Southwark, Mervyn Stockwood. It was later claimed that Muggeridge and Stockwood had arrived late to a screening of the film and did not know that Brian and Jesus were different characters.

Terry Jones told the Guardian: How Muggeridge and the bishop had the gall to slate the film when they'd missed the first 15 minutes is quite extraordinary. It is a very good story.

None of the surviving Pythons are involved with the creation of Holy Flying Circus.

 

15th June   

Choosing to Die...

900 complaints about a documentary showing an assisted suicide
Link Here

The BBC has received about 900 complaints for broadcasting the final moments of a man's assisted suicide in a BBC2 documentary.

Choosing To Die , made by author Sir Terry Pratchett, has sparked 'outrage' among a few viewers, charities and religious groups.

898 complaints have been filed with the BBC about the documentary, which aired on Monday night. A few more have been sent to the TV censor, Ofcom.

In the programme, watched by 1.64 million,  retired millionaire hotelier Peter Smedley, 71, from Guernsey, told Christine, his wife of 40 years, Be strong, my darling before passing away, apparently not under the most comfortable circumstances.

Sir Terry shook hands with Peter, who suffered from motor neurone disease, shortly before the hotelier gulped down a lethal cocktail of drugs at the controversial Dignitas clinic near Zurich in Switzerland.

Christine, 60, fought back tears as her husband started to choke before grabbing his arm.

He was heard gasping: Water. But doctor Erika Preisig replied: No more water, just sleep. Peter then closed his eyes and started to snore loudly, a sign of respiratory failure. The doctor told Christine: He's sleeping very, very deeply now. Soon the breathing will stop, then the heart.

Religious and anti-euthanasia groups said the programme idealised suicide and posed a risk to vulnerable people.

Dr Peter Saunders, campaign director of anti-euthanasia charity Care Not Killing, said: This was a grossly misleading and unbalanced piece of dangerous propaganda that could lead to an increase in suicides. There were no arguments on the benefits of end-of-life care and providing support.

The ex-Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, claimed the programme glorified suicide .

Many viewers have praised the programme, too.

 

15th June   

Update: Old Joke...

Parliamentary committee resurrect the very old debate about Frankie Boyle's Katie Price joke
Link Here
Full story: Frankie Boyle...Whinges about Frankie Boyle and Mock the Week

The boss of Channel 4 has refused to apologise for airing a joke about Katie Price's disabled son.

At a heated parliamentary hearing, David Abraham was condemned for the decision to show it. But although he was repeatedly asked to apologise, he did not. Abraham said we only ever had satirical intent .

The joke about the former glamour model Jordan's son was made by Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle on his Tramadol Nights series last year.

At a meeting of the Culture Media and Sport Committee, Tory MP Louise Bagshawe, repeated the joke and told Abraham: This is a disabled little boy we are talking about. I am bewildered you can sit here and say that it is challenging political correctness -- and that you will not apologise to the little boy for having put him on a television programme in this context. Surely no cultural remit could ever possibly justify such a joke?

Channel 4's chairman Lord Burns, also at the hearing, said: Personally, if it has caused distress to the son, then obviously I'm very sorry.

 

14th June   

Update: Uncomfortable Viewing...

Viewers complain about EastEnders scene with two gay men chatting in bed
Link Here
Full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

An EastEnders episode that showed a gay couple apparently naked in bed has sparked an audience backlash.

At least 125 viewers complained that a scene featuring the characters Christian Clarke and Syed Masood was inappropriate for the show's pre-watershed slot.

The pair were lying in bed together, with no tops on, and bedclothes pulled up to their chests. The two characters, who are trying to adopt and are planning a civil ceremony, also shared a brief kiss.

They were seen joking about getting matching rings and not changing their names when they tie the knot. Syed was seen with his arm draped around his partner as they cuddled up in bed in the short scene.

Some viewers said the broadcast made for uncomfortable viewing and was guilty of confusing their kids .

In a statement, the BBC said it approached the portrayal of gay relationships in exactly the same way as it did heterosexual scenes and the scenes were suitable for pre-watershed viewing. It said it could not discriminate by treating gay characters differently to other people shown in the programme.

 

9th June   

Update: Assisted Propaganda...

Assisted suicide on Emmerdale gets few complaints but will be examined by Ofcom
Link Here

There wasn't a dry eye in the house last night when Emmerdale's Jackson Walsh ended his life, with the help of his mother and partner.

Had Emmerdale, as critics are now saying they should have, played sad music while Jackson drifted off , whilst Aaron and Hazel wiped away a little tear, the ITV soap would have been slammed for glorifying assisted suicide, for promoting it as the right thing to do even.

Yet when the scene that aired was of Jackson gagging whilst trying to gulp the cocktail of lethal drugs down, whilst his mother, face contorted in horror, sobbed hysterically and his partner kept losing his grip on the glass because he was shaking too much shaking, it was deemed too horrific.

In an interview released by bosses at ITV, Mark Silcock explained that the shows intention was never to promote assisted suicide, quite the contrary, so there had to be a distinct difference between the beauty and tenderness of the final goodbye of all three characters and the realisation of the actual death, which would never have been a beautiful moment.

In the interview, he commented: We ensured it wasn't beautiful -- it is horrific, because it's a horrific thing. Some people might have liked to have seen soft music in the background and for Jackson to slowly drift off to sleep. But that's not reality and not what happens. We didn't want to glorify it for one second. You see the love between the three of them in those scenes, which is beautiful, but what happens is not beautiful in any way .

Yet, despite only a handful of complaints, based mainly on the time that the episode was shown, Ofcom have decided to assess the criticisms.

 

26th May   

Geordie Fury at TV Filth...

A few whinges on Twitter is enough for a shock horror outrage newspaper article
Link Here

The Daily Star obliges with suitable 'outrage':

Shock reality show Geordie Shore has sparked a Geordie war after being branded the most outrageous show on TV.

The X-rated series promised to reveal what the finest young lads and lasses of Newcastle get up to.

But viewers complained to Ofcom after the opening episode featured boob-fondling, drunken girls vomiting and naked hot tub frolics.

And many Geordies said they hate the show, claiming it makes the local girls look like slappers and the boys like poncey Muscle Marys .

Geordie Shore was launched on Tuesday night on MTV, billed as a UK version of the US hit Jersey Shore.

It features eight people living in a luxury house in the Jesmond area. Cameras follow them partying hard in city hotspots and working as nightclub promoters. However, episode one shocked viewers who saw Holly whipping out her FF breasts in a hot tub while the lads poured booze all over them.

One viewer, called ToonTime, Tweeted: This is the most outrageous show ever screened on British telly. I can't believe they've got away with it.

Tourism bosses reckon the show could wreck their bid to boost the region's economy. NewcastleGateshead Initiative boss Sarah Stewart said: Initial reaction to the depiction of the area and the behaviour of the people featured in Geordie Shore has been negative.

Yesterday broadcasting watchdogs Ofcom confirmed they had received complaints that the show gave Geordies and Newcastle a bad name. However it is unlikely that officials will do anything, since no broadcasting code has been breached.

The next episode airs on Tuesday on MTV at 10pm.

 

18th May   

Nutter Bliss...

Whingeing to Ofcom over topless Britney Spears lookalike with modesty preserved by Union Jacks
Link Here

A flurry of complaints prompted by a topless Britney Spears lookalike has supposedly put Britain's Got Talent in Ofcom's firing line.

The TV censor is considering mounting an investigation into 29 year old Lorna Bliss's performance, despite wearing pasties with more being obscured by Union Jack logos.

Nutters were left 'aghast' at the raunchy antics but Bliss sailed through to the second round despite three no votes, leading to concern that show bosses are trying to sex up the format.

Ofcom are currently assessing whether to take action against the show's producers after previously criticising ITV for broadcasting similarly raunchy impersonations of Rhianna and Christina Aguilera on X Factor.

 

17th May   

Free Palestine...

BBC censor a Mic Righteous rap
Link Here

The BBC has come under attack after the words free Palestine were edited out of a performance by rapper Mic Righteous on a 1Xtra show. The freestyle rap originally aired in December, but appeared again in a best-of show at the end of April with the political statement edited out.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign issued a statement last week urging listeners to write to the BBC and Radio Times to complain about what they termed an extraordinary act of censorship .

A BBC spokesman claimed: All BBC programmes have a responsibility to be impartial when dealing with controversial subjects and an edit was made to Mic Righteous' freestyle to ensure that impartiality was maintained .

 

13th May   

The Big Story...

Chelsea Charms gets noticed on daytime TV
Link Here

Chelsea Charms, who claims to have the largest breasts in the world, 'horrified' daytime viewers by discussing her sex industry past

'Shocked' viewers have criticised This Morning for featuring porn star Chelsea Charms live on the show. Phillip Schofield interviewed her about colourful career and her huge breasts.

But parents expressed 'outrage' that the topic should be discussed during the programme which could have been seen by children.

Of course the only 'outrage' noted, was a couple of readers comments on the programme's Facebook page. But hey any old excuse will do to get a head turning story.

During the programme Phillip demonstrated how heavy the 35-year-old's breasts were by lifting buckets weighted with watermelons. American Chelsea also discussed her career in the adult entertainment industry. She got the breasts by having them injected with polypropylene. It irritates the breast lining making them swell - and they are still growing at a rate of one inch a month.

 

12th May   

Update: At the People's Court...

Jon Gaunt gets his day in the Court of Appeal
Link Here
Full story: Jon Gaunt and Talksport Nazis...Talksport sack radio presenter over Nazi jibe

Radio presenter Jon Gaunt has put his case to the Court of Appeal. He contended that his right to freedom of expression was violated by a decision to uphold complaints about him calling an interviewee a Nazi.

Gaunt, whose contract was terminated by TalkSport in November 2008, 10 days after the exchange with councillor Michael Stark, says media watchdog Ofcom's response was disproportionate .

His QC, Gavin Millar, told three judges headed by the Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger that context is everything when considering rights under Article 10 of the European Convention.

Last summer, Gaunt, supported by Liberty, challenged Ofcom's June 2009 finding that the interview failed to comply with the broadcasting code but the High Court backed Ofcom.

The judges have indicated they will give their decision at a later date.

 

12th May   

Mediawatch-UK Recommends...

Live Drugs on Channel 4
Link Here

Channel 4 is to show live footage of the effects of Class A drugs in a programme to be called Drugs Live.

 The broadcaster explained in a press release:

With higher levels of cocaine and amphetamine use than any other nation in the European Union, Britain has recently been deemed the drugs capital of Europe. So what actually happens when someone takes a drug or drinks alcohol - what are the effects on a human body?

Channel 4 announces a radical new science series examining the claims and counterclaims made about the effects of recreational drugs by testing them on live television. Under strict medical supervision and in a controlled clinical environment, individuals will be filmed as they use different substances. Their physical and psychological effects will be monitored, as will their social interaction with others as the drugs enter their systems.

Recreational drugs were used by 2.8m adults in England alone from 2009 to 2010, yet their dangers are disputed, with opinion having been divided between government policy-makers and scientists. The last Government dismissed its own chief scientific advisor and another expert recently described the current classification of drugs as: a very British farce .

Specialist Factual Commissioning Editor David Glover says: This subject is fraught with controversy and confusion - this series will provide viewers with unmediated access to a live drug trial. Viewers will be able to see for themselves the actual effects the drugs have in scientific detail. We will work closely with the leading research institutes from across the world. The aim is to bring new clarity to the facts of illegal drug use.

This four-part series, made by Renegade Pictures with Alan Hayling as executive producer, will examine the effects of individual drugs and explore how addictive they are and how they affect a range of behaviours.

...BUT... Vivienne Pattison, director of campaign group Mediawatch-UK, fears that Channel 4 will not handle the issue carefully enough.

I can't say it fills me with joy because Channel 4 have got a bit of a reputation for doing "educational" programmes that turn out to be sensationalist, she said. She pointed to the recent show The Joy of Teen Sex, which she said was similar to soft-core porn .

Pattison added: The bottom line is Channel 4 have got to deliver an audience, because people won't advertise if they don't. Let's see how it turns out. But I have got concerns given their previous track record.

She added: We know children don't look at this sort of thing in the same way as a mature adult.

 

12th May   

Updated: Mediawatch-UK Recommends...

Inside the Human Body on BBC 1
Link Here

In another final breaking down of barriers, the BBC will now show the final dying moments of an 84-year-old cancer sufferer.

Known only as Gerald, viewers of the science series, Inside the Human Body , will see his final breath as he dies at home surrounded by his family.

Gerald died on January 1. Like him, his family hope the programme will help others, and its presenter, Michael Mosely, has been quick to head off criticism. In an interview with the Radio Times, he said: There are those who feel that showing a human death on television is wrong, whatever the circumstance. Although I respect this point of view, I think there is a case to be made for filming a peaceful, natural death -- a view shared by many who work closely with the dying.

The BBC has also filmed the last moments of a man at a Dignitas clinic in Switzerland for a Terry Pratchett documentary.

Vivienne Pattison, of Mediawatch-UK said:

Both these programmes had the consent of all those involved. They are not turning death into Big Brother-style reality TV, but it is a question of balance, and I can understand why concerns are being raised, particularly by the Dignitas programme.

Quite a number of programmes have already been screened which have taken a pro-euthanasia stance. It's an emotive subject, but there are just as many people who oppose it, and their views don't seem to be represented. Our job is to campaign for socially responsible broadcasting and against content that is offensive and harmful to viewers.

I don't think showing someone's last moments is necessarily harmful, but the goal posts on what is acceptable on television have shifted greatly over the last decade.

Update: Tonight

12th May 2011. See  article from  mirror.co.uk

The Living Body will air tonight (12th May 2011) on BBC 1 at 9pm.

Tory MP John Whittingdale, chair of the Culture, Media and Sports select committee, warned: Death is usually something that should not be turned into a spectacle for a TV audience.

A BBC spokesman said: Death is an important part of the human experience, and showing Gerald's death is integral to understanding what happens to the body when it is no longer able to function properly. The BBC does not shy away from difficult subjects like this.

 

4th May   

Updated: Bailey Bollox...

All society's ills to be cured by banning gay kisses from pre-watershed TV
Link Here

Lesbian kisses could be banned from television screens until the watershed under nutter inspired Government plans to stop children being exposed to supposedly indecent images.

A review launched with the backing of David Cameron is expected to recommend that sexually suggestive scenes currently allowed before the 9pm watershed, such as the famous lesbian embrace on soap opera Brookside, should not be shown until later in the evening.

The inquiry is being led by Mothers' Union chief executive Reg Bailey.

The Daily Mail said that Bailey is likely to focus on more restrictive watershed rules. A source close to the inquiry said: It is hard to protect children in the internet and mobile-phone age but we have to do something.

Sources also suggested that raunchy dance routines, such as those by pop stars Christina Aguilera and Rihanna on last year's X Factor final, could also fall foul of more censorial watershed rules.

Bailey is also understood to be looking at a ban on sexy advertisements in public places. The source added: Some of those huge poster advertisements for bras and knickers leave precious little to the imagination and they are there for all our children to see.

Bailey is examining restricting internet pornography by enabling parents to ask ISPs to block adult websites at source rather than relying on parental controls.

Update: Mothers' Union chief executive Reg Bailey is not speaking for the Mothers' Union

4th May 2011. See  article from  themothersunion.org

Clarification on reports published in print and online 1st and 2nd May 2011.

Mothers' Union explicitly refutes all allegations regarding the banning of lesbian kisses on television before or after the watershed as claimed by the media this week, including in The Sun and the Daily Mail newspapers.

The Bailey Review as conducted by the Department of Education is independent of the Mothers' Union's Bye Buy Childhood Campaign and therefore, any recourse to statements against Mothers' Union are unfounded and should be directed to the Department of Education.

The Mothers' Union's Campaign is gender inclusive and is therefore, neither targeted towards or against any type of relationship and should not be expressed as such.

 

23rd April   

Update: No Joke...

Have I Got News For You censored by court injunction
Link Here
Full story: Super Injunctions...Granting super powers to rich gaggers

The BBC was last night forced to blank out parts of Have I Got News For You to protect the identity of a celebrity who has won a gagging order.

Tory MP Louise Bagshawe came close to identifying a married Premier League footballer who had an affair with Big Brother star Imogen Thomas, but was censored.

Last night, as part of the BBC One show's odd one out round, four images of people who have taken out injunctions were displayed with their faces blacked out. Miss Bagshawe, who is also a novelist, said: You're not allowed to know who they are. They may or may not have done something with ladies who are not their wives. One of them definitely doesn't rhyme with... even though he is a footballer.

When she said the rhyme, the sound was muted and a black bar was slapped across her mouth.

 

19th April   

Prolonging the Agony...

Campaigners have a whinge about Terry Pratchett euthanasia documentary
Link Here

Campaigners have whinged that the BBC were cheerleading for assisted suicide after filming a man killing himself at the famous Dignitas clinic.

Sir Terry Pratchett, a prominent supporter of euthanasia, presents the programme which follows a man in the late stages of motor neurone disease as he travels from Britain to the Swiss clinic. The programme includes the moment of a suicide victim's death is a first for terrestrial television.

The programme is due to be broadcast on BBC2 this summer, a move condemned by campaigners, politicians, medics and religious leaders. They accused the corporation of being unethical, promoting assisted death and euthanasia, and disregarding the supposed sanctity of life.

Dr Peter Saunders, director of charity Care Not Killing, said: The BBC is acting like a cheerleader for legalising assisted suicide. It is regrettable that a man's death will be shown on screen but we are also concerned that this documentary will not be balanced. Given Sir Terry Pratchett's position, the fear is that it will show all the supposed benefits of assisted death with very little redress.

The documentary, entitled Terry Pratchett: Choosing To Die , has already been filmed. Viewers will see the man, named only as Peter, struggle to cope with his illness, which leads to loss of mobility and difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing. They will then see his final days and hours in Switzerland.

Pratchett said: I am a firm believer in assisted death. I believe everybody possessed of a debilitating and incurable disease should be allowed to pick the hour of their death. And I wanted to know more about Dignitas in case I ever wanted to go there myself.

Phyllis Bowman, Right to Life campaigner, echoed fears that the BBC is biased on the topic: The BBC has an agenda -- it has had one for years. Allowing Sir Terry Pratchett to make this documentary is effectively promoting assisted death. My worry is that it will be presented as the preferable option, or the right thing to do when people feel they are getting old or infirm.

Conservative MP Nadine Dorries warned that the BBC was in danger of normalising a very serious issue : It is pushing back a moral boundary. A programme like this will romanticise assisted death and dying. This is an authored piece so it will be one-sided. I hope the BBC is thinking of ways it can present the counter-argument.

The BBC defended the decision to show the last moments of a man's life. A spokesman said: Death is an important part of the human experience and is integral to any discussions about assisted dying, which is why it is appropriate for it to be included. We know that watching a death can be distressing for some members of the audience, so we will ensure that clear warnings are given beforehand. The BBC doesn't have a stance on assisted suicide, but we do think that this is an important matter of debate.

 

15th April

 Offsite: So W.R.O.N.G...

Link Here
A campaign against nutters like Ann Diamond spouting bollox on TV about games

See article from computerandvideogames.com

 

10th April   

Update: Big Appeal...

Katie Price calls for Channel 4 boss to be sacked over bad taste joke
Link Here
Full story: Frankie Boyle...Whinges about Frankie Boyle and Mock the Week

Glamour model Katie Price has called for the sacking of the Channel 4 boss who allowed the broadcasting of a bad taste gag by comedian Frankie Boyle about her disabled son Harvey.

The reality TV star, real name Katie Price, has written to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt claiming that David Abraham's position is completely untenable as chief executive of the official broadcaster for the 2012 Paralympics.

The show drew more than 500 complaints, including from Mencap and the Royal London Society for the Blind, who also called for Abraham to quit his job.


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