The BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky News and other broadcasters are being investigated by the TV censor Ofcom after almost 1,000 complaints about the airing of graphic footage of the Woolwich killing.
Ofcom received a total of 700 complaints about
TV news coverage of the Woolwich murder of soldier Lee Rigby died on 22 May, which included graphic scenes filmed by a member of the public on a mobile phone of one of the alleged assailants with blood on their hands.
About half of the complaints
are understood to have been about ITV News, which was the first to broadcast the footage on its 6.30pm bulletin on the day of the murder.
Ofcom has received complaints about the coverage by ITV News, BBC News, Channel 4 News, 5 News, Sky News and
A few months ago I read on your website about how TV shows like The Walking Dead and The Shield were edited for broadcast in the UK and how the same versions were subsequently issued on DVD despite being available uncut in the US.
Well you can add Breaking Bad to that list. The season 3 episode I.F.T. - which stands for I fucked Ted - was edited for broadcast in the US on AMC to omit the expletive from an important dialogue exchange at the end of the
The region 1 release lists that fact that it contains 3 uncensored episodes , but the UK version features the same censored version that AMC broadcast despite the fact that the language would not have caused a problem in the UK at
all, even on television. What makes this more annoying is that the expletive is included in the English subtitle track and the French dub track is also intact.
Season 3 has subsequently been issued on Blu-ray, but there doesn't seem to be any
indication that the edits have been restored.
Seasons 4 and 5 (part 1) seem to be okay, but I still don't see why UK viewers should have to put up with US TV censorship at all on a format that does not require it.
As AMC is also home to Mad Men
, so I'm starting to wonder if the DVD releases of those series are similarly edited.
Britain's TV censor Ofcom has launched an investigation into Channel 4' s documentary series Skint , which charts the lives of the long-term unemployed, after a few viewers whinged about the use of the word "fuck" 16 times in
the first 15 minutes of the opening programme.
The show aired at 9pm. According to Ofcom's rules, shows that air from the 9pm watershed are allowed to carry strong language and explicit scenes that may not be suitable for children. However
broadcasters are confusingly cautioned about making sure there is not an "unduly abrupt" transition from pre-9pm content designed to be suitable for kids and post-watershed material that is too obviously explicit.
The BBC has apologised for broadcasting a Radio 5 Live satirical panel debate about curing Clare Balding of being a lesbian.
19 listeners whinged to the broadcaster over the live edition of the show, Fighting Talk , which also asked
contestants to discuss whether Balding should present racing shows topless.
In a round where guests are invited to Defend the Indefensible , comedian Bob Mills debated the proposition that: Give me 20 minutes with her and I'm pretty sure
I could turn around Clare Balding. Mills responded to the challenge by describing Balding as a horse woman who appreciates power between her thighs , before adding: And we all know, there is no woman that can't be cured.
His remarks were greeted with jeers from the live audience. The programme was aired at 7.30pm. A later version of the programme, broadcast at 11pm, asked guests to discuss whether Balding should
present the Derby topless .
Colin Murray, a regular Radio 5 Live presenter attempted to defuse the row on Twitter by saying the Defend the Indefensible item was intended to make a mockery of idiot views, as that certainly is .
We try 2 b closer to the line than most shows and there is always a risk with that. We are 100% live so balancing act. But playing everything safe is also death of show.
BBC said in statement:
Fighting Talk is a live programme and on this occasion we got it wrong. The 'Defend the Indefensible' item was inappropriate and as such we have removed this short section of the programme from
iPlayer. We would again like to apologise to anyone who was offended by the programme.
Actors' union Equity is investigating fears that the success of sexy dramas such as Game Of Thrones and The Tudors means younger actresses are being pressured into taking roles involving nude and sex scenes
Jennifer Lopez performed her single Live It Up on Britain's Got Talent semi-final results show on Tuesday. The act was shown after the 9pm watershed.
She gyrated on stage in a thong and fishnet tights. Her dance routine provoked
the inevitable 'furious backlash', with campaigners calling on Ofcom to 'crack down' on ITV for airing it on a family show.
Apparently thousands of viewers took to Twitter to make their comments, with one saying the singer looked like a prostitute
Judge Amanda Holden seemed to be a fan, declaring: JLo's arse. I just wanted to bite it. It was fabulous .
Mediawatch UK said the programme had deliberately targeted younger viewers by screening the episode during the half-term
holiday. The group claimed that millions of children will have watched the performance, despite the lateness of the hour.
Director Vivienne Pattinson whiged:
Parents will have been more likely to let their
children stay up beyond their normal bedtimes.
And given the main show is incredibly popular with children, lots of them will have wanted to stay up a bit later to find out who won. It was totally inappropriate to show something
like this, given their audience. It seems as if they never learn.
TV censor Ofcom said it had received 30 complaints about the performance so far.
An ITV spokesman said:
We do not believe
that Jennifer Lopez's performance would have exceeded the expectations of the vast majority of the audience for this long-established entertainment programme.
Dramatic footage showing a suspect carrying bloodied knives in the aftermath of the murder of a soldier in Woolwich has so far prompted relatively few complaints to broadcasters, despite attracting millions of viewers around the world.
video, which was first broadcast by ITN-produced ITV News on its 6.30pm bulletin on Wednesday, had prompted about 800 complaints to the BBC, ITV and media regulator Ofcom by lunchtime on Thursday.
The bulk of the complaints, 500, directly to ITV,
with Ofcom receiving about 100 separate complaints about the channel's decision to air the film.
An ITV News spokesman said:
We carefully considered showing this footage ahead of broadcast and made the decision
to do so on a public interest basis as the material is integral to understanding the horrific incident that took place yesterday. It was editorially justified to show such footage in the aftermath of such a shocking attack, and we prefaced it on ITV News
at 6.30pm and News at Ten with appropriate warnings to make viewers aware in advance of the graphic images about to be shown.
After midnight on Wednesday, ITV edited the video on its website to obscure the body of the soldier and the
face of the second suspect. It is understood that this was after editors decided there was less public interest justification in showing the unedited footage to a Thursday lunchtime audience.
The BBC, which also broadcast the Woolwich footage,
said it had recorded approximately 200 complaints. The BBC posted its response as follows:
We have received complaints from viewers who felt that it was inappropriate to
broadcast footage of one of the suspected attackers in Woolwich making a statement after the attack.
We also received complaints that the accompanying footage we broadcast in our news reports on this story was too graphic and
The BBC's response
In our coverage of the Woolwich murder we thought very carefully about the pictures we used to tell the story. We gave great consideration to how we used the footage
of the attacker. The footage, captured by a bystander, was an important element of the story and shed light on the perpetrators and the possible motives for the attack. We did not show the footage in its entirety, we gave warnings for pre-watershed
transmission and dealt with the material as carefully as we could.
Where there were distressing images we used them sparingly and again, we gave warnings for pre-watershed transmission. We acknowledge that some of the images
central to reporting the story were distressing and we were very mindful of possible audience sensitivity when we used them.
Pensioner Kelly Fox causes a minor stir on Britain's Got Talent with her song Kiss My Ass.
Mediawatch-UK director Vivienne Pattison has asked David Cameron's Mary Whitehouse, Claire Perry MP, to investigate supposedly sexualised
content on pre-watershed shows like Britain's Got Talent. Pattison whinged:
The ratings are falling and ITV is just pulling out the stops. First we had the lap dancer Keri Graham and now this granny. It is
inappropriate. BGT is going all out to shock and Ofcom is simply underregulating the show.
In 2010, Ofcom said Rihanna's dancing on The X Factor had reached the 'limits of acceptability'. It must be past that by now. As a result,
Ofcom is trying to redefine family viewing.
The Britain's Got Talent judges granted Fox a thumbs up for another appearance.
BBC bosses are braced for pre-prepared 'outrage' over sadistic sex scenes to be shown 5 minutes after tonight's 9pm watershed. David Tennant will be seen raping his wife in a 70-second scene in The Politician's Husband.
Pattison, director of pressure group MediaWatch-UK, slated the decision to show adult material immediately after the 9pm divide. She said:
The Politician's Husband will be following on from snooker. Snooker to
sadistic sex is quite an extreme leap and care should be taken to avoid putting the most 'challenging' material immediately after 9pm.
And Katie Russell, of the organisation Rape Crisis, insisted viewers should be warned of the
sexually violent nature of the show before they watch it. She said:
It's important that any programme planning to screen such scenes carries clear and repeated warnings to avoid triggering flashbacks or distressing and
re-traumatising sexual violence survivors.
A BBC spokesman explained:
This scene goes to the heart of the emotional story for the characters. It establishes that their sex lives are integral to the
narrative, and while some viewers may find these scenes strong, they reflect the central themes of power and betrayal which impact on their political marriage.
It will air in a post-watershed slot and there will be a warning prior
to broadcast that the drama contains scenes of sexual violence and some strong language from the start.
BBC publicity described the scheduled TV programme Jerusalem: An Archaeological Mystery Story
The exile of the Jewish people has played a central role in Christian and Jewish theology for nearly 2,000 years,
even being mentioned in Israel's national anthem and its declaration of independence. But what if the exile never actually happened?
This documentary by Ilan Ziv looks at new evidence that suggests the majority of the Jewish
people may not have been exiled following the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Travelling from Galilee to Jerusalem and the catacombs of Rome, the film invites us to review and rethink our ideas around the exile, raising important ethical questions about its
impact on present-day Middle Eastern issues along the way.
But now the programme has been pulled at the last moment with the unconvincing comment that the documentary would not fit editorially .
There has been no
particular comment as to anything that may have been particularly controversial in the programme, so just down to religion, sensitivity and easy offence.
The BBC has been accused of political na´vetÚ after dropping a controversial documentary which called into question the mass exile of Jewish people from Jerusalem in AD70 after their failed uprising against the Romans.
Film maker Ilan Ziv accused
the BBC of
incompetence and suggested they succumbed to conscious or subconscious political pressure after they decided not to broadcast it.
In a blog post, Ziv said the decision to axe the
Ultimately a sad saga of what I believe is a mixture of incompetence, political na´vetÚ , conscious or subconscious political pressure and, I believe, a lack of courage of broadcasters when they are
faced with the complexity of the Middle East issue and the intense emotions, fears and aggression it generates.'
A spokesman for the BBC claimed they may show Ziv's programme in the future, and added unconvincingly:
We originally acquired Jerusalem: An Archaeological Mystery Story to supplement BBC Four's season exploring the history of archaeology.
However, it was decided that it did not fit editorially so we did
not show the programme as part of the season. Any future transmissions are under review.'
Britain may be forced to lift its ban on broadcasting political advertising when the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rules on its lawfulness tomorrow.
The campaign group Animal Defenders International (ADI) was told it could not run adverts
highlighting the plight of caged primates. Because the organisation was not a charity, it was treated as a political group. ADI said this was a breach of its right to freedom of expression and appealed against the decision. The final ruling in its
attempts to overturn the ban on its adverts will be handed down tomorrow.
If ADI is successful, the Government will have to amend the laws regarding political advertising or even lift the ban altogether.
The ECHR has overturned similar bans
in Norway and Switzerland. Jacob Rowbottom, a fellow in constitutional law at University College, Oxford, said:
It seems very likely that they will find the complete blanket ban on paid political advertising to violate
freedom of expression.
Update: Political adverts will continue to be banned
An animal rights group has narrowly lost an attempt to end the broadcast ban on paid political advertising in the UK.
Human rights judges in Strasbourg ruled in a 9-8 test case verdict that Government refusal to allow Animal Defenders
International to screen a TV advert promoting animal rights was not a breach of ADI's freedom of expression.
The Strasbourg judges declared:
The court noted that both parties (ADI and the Government) maintained
that they were protecting the democratic process.
It found in particular that the reviews of the ban by both parliamentary and judicial bodies had been exacting and pertinent, taking into account the European Court's case law.
The judges said the ban only applied to advertising and ADI had access to alternative media, both broadcast and non-broadcast .
Rowan Atkinson's Archbishop of Canterbury sketch for Comic Relief is to be formally investigated by Ofcom after it drew more than 3,000 complaints.
In the three minute pre-watershed broadcast, Rowan Atkinson dressed up as a generic
Archbishop mentioned shagging your neighbour , arsing about , and that prayer doesn't work .
The BBC received 2,819 complaints about its Comic Relief coverage, the majority of which centred on the Archbishop of Canterbury
sketch. Ofcom heard a further 484 complaints. Three quarters raised concerns about the language used and the rest about the religious context.
TV censor Ofcom will now decide if the words 'arsing about' and 'shagging' acceptable before the 9pm
watershed and whether the BBC applied generally accepted standards in its broadcast.
Ofcom will report on their decision within 50 days.
Film4 is pulling a comedy about a group of hapless terrorists from its schedule in the wake of the deadly Boston Marathon bombings. Channel 4 was planning to air the movie Four Lions on its film channel next Monday.
The 2010 film is a
dark comedy about four incompetent British Muslim jihadists who undergo terrorism training before trying to attack the London Marathon.
Film4 said it has decided not to proceed with the broadcast in light of recent tragic events.
The Daily Mail enjoyed Britain's Got Talent immensely and had a good rummage around in their Scrabble bag of random hype words:
Britain's Got Talent has been hit by a 'huge backlash' [= a few tweets] from viewers
after broadcasting a performance from an 11-year-old schoolgirl singing a song about a one night stand, and a 'highly sexualised' [=marginally sexy] lapdancing performance - all before the 9pm watershed.
The first episode of this
year's ITV talent contest, which was shown at 7pm on Saturday night and watched by more than 13 million people, was branded totally unsuitable [= carefully edited for a family audience] by 'outraged parents' [= Daily Mail hacks].
Contestant Keri Graham, whose performance saw her stripping down to her 'underwear' [=shorts], writhing 'semi-naked' [=modestly costumed] on a chair and 'gyrating on Simon Cowell' [= put a leg over his shoulder], is a professional
A second act featured 11-year-old Arixsander Libantino performing a rendition of Jennifer Hudson song One Night Only , which features the lyrics:
You've got one night only,
that's all you have to spare, let's not pretend to care, come on, big baby, come on, we only have 'til dawn.
The Daily Mail then dragged up half a dozen trivial tweets to justify the 'huge
Vivienne Pattison, director of Mediawatch UK said:
Having an 11-year-old girl sing an adult song like this is simply sexualising children. It's incredibly damaging because this show is marketed at
primary school children.
ITV appear to have completely ignored the Ofcom guidelines - I don't even know why they put the guidelines out. This kind of thing is not what families want to see.
sleepwalking into a situation where pornography is the norm.
A spokesman for ITV said :
Mindful of our family audience, the performance was carefully edited to ensure it was suitably inexplicit.
Ofcom said that it was too early to tell if they had received any complaints from the public.
The BBC has defended its decision to censor Radio 1's Official Chart Show. The song championed by opponents of Margaret Thatcher, Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead , will be banned from the customary full broadcast for a song rising in the singles
Instead the BBC will give the song a passing mention in a news item supported by a mere 5s clip.
BBC Radio 1 controller and censor Ben Cooper claimed the move over the Wizard of Oz film track had been a difficult compromise. Whenever
people spout political bollox about 'balancing rights with...' one knows that they are taking something away. Cooper is no exception, he spewed that he had to balance 'respect' for someone who had just died with issues around freedom of speech.
Sales of the song, from the 1939 musical starring Judy Garland, have soared since former Prime Minister Lady Thatcher's death on Monday, supported by Thatcher's opponents. The single is set to take the number three spot in Sunday's countdown, according to the Official Charts Company.
Capital FM, which has its own chart show, said the station was currently reviewing the situation .
The Conservative chairman of the Commons culture, media and sport select committee, John Whittingdale, claimed the BBC's decision was
a sensible compromise.
However, the Conservative MP for Reading East, Rob Wilson, said the track should be played in its entirety. He said:
I think that Margaret Thatcher would be horrified having helped free
millions of people in eastern Europe and been the symbol of freedom around the world that she could in any way have censorship in her own country.
The BBC has had a very difficult decision and it's come up with a very British
Journalist and DJ Paul Gambaccini said that the programme was not a programme of choice .
The Top 40 is the news of music, he went on. It's not something to editorialise
about - it's just fact. You can't change reality.
Comment: And a little good sense from Mediawatch-UK
What a sorry, unedifying mess the BBC has got itself into over the hateful campaign by sick Left-wing zealots trying to bounce the song Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead to the top of the music charts.
First the Corporation -- with its
countless overpaid commissars of political correctness -- let it be known that, on Sunday's pop chart show, the song would be played in full.
Then, faced with a barrage of complaints from MPs on all sides on the disgrace of giving
airtime to a song viciously celebrating the death of a great Prime Minister before she was even buried, a re-think was ordered.
Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead duly entered the singles chart at number two, and the BBC duly banned the song from the show.
The Wizard of Oz song had sold 52,605 copies, 5,700 copies behind Duke Dumont and A*M*E with Need U (100%)
which remained at the top for a second week.
Rival campaign song I'm In Love With Margaret Thatcher entered at 35. The 1979 song by punk band Notsensibles sold 8,768 copies after a late push from Lady Thatcher fans. The Notsensibles
track was played in full on the programme.
But Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead was replaced by a Newsbeat reporter explaining why the song was in the chart. Two short clips of the song were played as Sinead Garvan gave details of the online
campaign and explained why opponents had been critical of Lady Thatcher. The news report - which ran for almost 40 seconds longer than the song itself - also included two views from members of the public on the controversy, with one saying it was quite funny
, while the other said it was disgraceful .
Channel 5 USA shows Eraser uncut. How come this hasn't been released on UK home video?
Thanks to Andrew
Eraser is a 1996 US action film by Chuck Russell. With Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vanessa Williams and James Caan.
Channel 5's sister channel 5 USA, has just screened the full version of (arguably) Arnold Schwarzeneggers last decent action film. Eraser .
While it's not unheard of for channels to do this
while a censored version sits on public shelves, it would be interesting to know where the channel got the copy they aired. As it was way too low res to be DVD, and 5 USA doesn't have a HD alternative, so it wasn't a poor upscale either. Food for
thought, as the UK still does not have an official release of the original film, whereas most countries have had releases on all major home formats of the last 20 years.
While it may not be the most sought after film in the world,
it is a poignant 90's echo, of the halcyon days of James Ferman and his band of scissor friendly conservatives.
Note that Eraser was passed 15 uncut in 2009 with previous BBFC cuts waived. However this version hasn't yet been released on DVD or