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UK TV and Radio News

2013: Oct-Dec

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A Danger to Democracy...

David Blunkett calls for libel censorship to prevent people mocking politicians

Link Here28th December 2013
David Blunkett has called for satirical TV shows such as Mock the Week to be liable for censorship by those they mock.

The former Labour Home Secretary claimed that the line between comedy and politically-motivated abuse was increasingly being crossed on programmes such as the BBC series Mock The Week , which may require tighter censorship as a consequence. Blunkett spewed:

The protection that broadcasters in particular have is 'well, everybody knows this is comedy don't they?' So it's not libellous, it's not dangerous in the sense that it's targeted and therefore vicious towards an individual. And I think we need to watch that.

Sometimes actually it isn't comedy, it's comment and current affairs in the middle of what is supposed to be a comedy programme. There's a bit more of that going on at the moment.

But of course the whinge is personal as Blunkett's blindness has been the target of Mock The Week' s panel of stand-up comics. A joke in a 2010 episode ran: Sometimes Ministers would break up boring Cabinet meetings by convincing David Blunkett he was black.

Dan Patterson, Mock The Week producer and co-creator, expressed his apologies to Blunkett if he was offended by the blindness gag, which had not prompted any complaints at the time of broadcast. The show has since softened under a different line-up.



The Daily Mail Recommends...

Homeland Season 3

Link Here24th December 2013
The Daily Mail claims that Channel 4 is 'under fire' for graphic violence as it shows brutal climax to Homeland.

[A few] viewers were left 'outraged' last night after Channel 4 screened a brutally graphic public execution in the season finale of hit-show Homeland.

[A few] disgusted viewers took to Twitter in rage, and critics blasted the episode as offensive , saying the show's creators should end the production.

One person tweeted: Homeland. Brutal. I'm drained.

Another wrote: #homeland brutal scenes not really full of festive good cheer!

One woman said: Homeland is so brutal, ffs it makes me so angry and upset

While another commented: Homeland season 3 finale was brutal. Actually a bit stunned...

What the hell??? How disgusting is that scene in Homeland, another person said.

And then of course the Daily went through all the best bits of the violence delighting in the gory detail.



Top TV Personality of 2013: Archbishop Rowan Atkinson...

Ofcom reveal their top 10 TV programmes of 2013

Link Here17th December 2013
Full story: Rowan Atkinson...Offending the easily offended
Ofcom have revealed their top programmes for 2013 as judged by their whingeometer.
  1. Comic Relief: Funny for Money BBC1 487

    A Comic Relief sketch in which Rowan Atkinson played a fictional archbishop of Canterbury and compared One Direction to Jesus's disciples. It featured Atkinson's archbishop saying praying doesn't work and a gag about 'loving your neighbour' not meaning ' shagging your neighbour'

    Ofcom summarily dismissed the whinges without doing its longwinded 'investigation'

  2. The X Factor Results Show ITV 317

    The offending episode featured Lady Gaga cavorting on stage in flesh-coloured underwear and a bra made out of a pair of shells. Ofcom weren't interested in the complaints though and didn't initiate a detailed response.

    The X Factor scored 734 whinges for several broadcasts that offended the easily offended over the year.

  3. Big Brother (June) Channel 5 305

    This episode featured Big Brother housemate Jemima Slade's commenting that she likes dark-skinned Mediterranean men but not black men.

    Big Brother totalled 965 whiinges over several broadcasts during the year.

  4. ITV News ITV 278

    The coverage of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby scored well for ITV News.
  5. Downton Abbey ITV 246

    A storyline featuring rape got plenty of press coverage, but did not cause much consternation at Ofcom
  6. Big Brother (Aug) Channel 5 244

    Complaints that Gina Rio had bullied fellow housemate Hazel O'Sullivan.

  7. Emmerdale ITV 193

    Compaints were about the murder of character Gennie Sharma. Serial killer Cameron Murray was shown smothering her with his bare hands but Ofcom ruled the coverage was not in breach.

  8. Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2012 Channel 4 182

    New year's Eve banter inspired a few complaints, but only after being heavily promoted by the Daily Mail
  9. Big Brother (July) Channel 5 166

    Complaints about boxer Daley Ojuederie fighting with O'Sullivan.
  10. Britain's Got Talent Results ITV1 162

    The was about a sexy dance performance by Jennifer Lopez. But it wasn't sexy enough to perturb Ofcom



The Daily Mail Recommends...

The British Comedy Awards

Link Here14th December 2013
The Daily Mail writes:

Channel 4 is under fire today after viewers called for the disastrous British Comedy Awards to be scrapped because of persistent bad language and offensive jokes last night.

Ofcom has confirmed it has already received a number of complaints about swearing during the annual ceremony, which some have called the worst in its 23-year history.

Critics called the two-hour ceremony a drunken shambles with host Jonathan Ross called a disgrace because he was swearing through the whole programme .

Channel 4 said today the show is known for its raucous nature :

The British Comedy Awards is an established live event and is well known for its edgy humour. The programme was preceded with a warning that the humour was of an adult nature and contained very strong language.



I want to see it, feel it, hold it, put it in my mouth...

VIP e-cigarette advert inflames the easily offended

Link Here4th December 2013
A few viewers have tweeted a few whinges about the screening of a supposedly offensive e-cigarette advert during I'm A Celebrity .

The advert alludes to oral sex with a series of suggestive phrases in the commercial screened a little after the watershed.

In the commercial, a woman talking straight to the camera says:

I want you to get it out. I want to see it, feel it, hold it, put it in my mouth. I want to see how great it tastes.

Of course the punch line is that she is actually referring to an electronic cigarette.

A few viewers branded the advert disgraceful and unfunny while others said that it glamourised smoking.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) confirmed they were investigating the advert for VIP Electronic Cigarettes. A spokesman said:'

The ASA has received a significant number of complaints about two TV ads for VIP electronic cigarettes.

Complainants object that the language used in the ads is overly sexual and offensive while others object that the ad sexualises and glamorises e-cigarettes and/or smoking.

We have now launched a formal investigation into these ads.

Update: Whinge Count

15th December 2013. See  article from

Apparently 147 people have now complained about the advert.



Topsy and Tim go to the Gender Re-education School...

Mumsnet users easily offended by CBeebies children's show

Link Here22nd November 2013
The BBC's new children's series Topsy and Tim has been described by a few PC extremists on Mumsnet as flabbergastingly sexist

The new version of Topsy and Tim, which began on CBeebies earlier this month, is described as an update for the 21st century. But some parents have said that they will ban their children from watching the show as it reinforces outdated gender stereotypes.

Thousands have taken to Mumsnet to express their opposition to the show, accusing programme makers of ruining their fond memories of the book. One wrote:

It's flabbergastingly sexist - I was so disappointed. Mummy and Topsy do the washing while Tim helps daddy with the man's work. Topsy is inside making cakes and Tim gets told they're not for him and he must go outside and play with the quad bike.

A BBC spokesperson explained that viewers should not be hasty as PC gender propaganda will become more apparent as the series continues:

We're very pleased to be able to bring the Topsy and Tim stories alive for our young viewers to enjoy. It's very early in the series and all of the characters develop over the coming episodes -- after the near-disastrous playdate in the programme in question, we see how the children learn to mix up their friends and choice of games, finding that it's much more fun if they all play together.

Throughout the series we will also see so-called 'traditional' boy/girl preferences inverted, but always driven by the children's emotional journeys as they mature as individuals and face the timeless milestones of childhood such as learning to ride bikes, getting their first pet and starting school. We hope our young viewers will enjoy going on those exciting journeys with Topsy and Tim.



Updated: Downton Abbey In Need of a Little Livening Up...

As a rape story line livened up the Daily Mail and a couple of easily offended campaigners

Link Here5th November 2013
The Daily Mail writes that:

Downton Abbey was accused yesterday of using a 'sickening' rape as a 'gratuitous' plot device to liven up the ITV drama's script.

A controversial scene on Sunday night in which a housemaid was subjected to a 'brutal' assault by a valet sparked nearly 100 complaints from 'disgusted' viewers.

Katie Russell from the campaign Rape Crisis said ITV should have made it clear the episode contained sexual violence so rape victims could switch off. She said:

They had a warning about violence before the programme but it wasn't an explicit warning about sexual violence.

The scene was clearly an implied rape, and that can trigger terrible memories in rape survivors. Content like that can be very traumatic.

Author and anti-rape campaigner Bidisha ShonarKoli Mamata claimed the show's author Julian Fellowes had added the attack simply to enliven a dull storyline:

You can't just insert a scene like this into a cosy drama. You have to treat rape sensitively, rather than use it as a plot device

And of course the Daily Mail rounded up a few trivial tweets, but none are worth re-telling

Ofcom said it had received 30 complaints yesterday and was assessing whether to hold a full investigation. But of course this will be no where near breaking any rules and the investigation will soon end up as a one liner, no case to answer, in the Ofcom complaints bulletin.

Another 60 complained directly to ITV.

Update: No Case to Answer

See  article from . See  article from . Thanks to Nick

And indeed TV censor Ofcom has said that it will not formally investigate Downton Abbey' s controversial rape storyline.

ITV received 200 complaints from viewers and Ofcom a further 244.

A warning had been aired before the broadcast, which an Ofcom spokesperson confirmed had been taken into account, as had the fact that the attack took place off screen. The scene was also broadcast after the 9pm watershed.

It was not investigated as together with other complaints after careful assessment, Ofcom has decided not to pursue because they did not raise issues warranting investigation .



Unfair Speculation...

Ofcom finds that Newsnight and This Morning unfairly implicated Robert McAlpine in a child abuse scandal

Link Here24th October 2013

The TV censor Ofcom has upheld complaints against episodes of Newsnight and This Morning which led to Robert McAlpine being wrongly implicated in child sex abuse allegations.

Newsnight broadcast allegations against an unnamed leading Conservative politician from the Thatcher years . McAlpine was not named, but was the subject of internet speculation. Days later the prime minister was handed a list of alleged abusers, which named the peer, on ITV's This Morning.

On the day of the broadcast it had been widely discussed on the internet, with McAlpine's name linked to it. It later became widespread speculation he was the subject of the allegations.

Ofcom ruled broadcasting the allegations in this context had led to McAlpine being incorrectly identified. ITV accepted this was an uncharacteristic lapse in editorial judgement on the part of the programme's editorial team .

Ofcom ruled both programmes had breached the broadcasting code and had treated Lord McAlpine unfairly, causing him distress and embarrassment.

Both the BBC and ITV subsequently apologised to Lord McAlpine and paid substantial libel damages.



Gentile Outrage...

The Daily Mail dredges up a few trivial tweets and sound bites about a minor car crash

Link Here16th October 2013
The Daily Mail wrote:

Fans of family-friendly TV series Doc Martin turned against the programme's makers after a violent car crash formed a plot twist in the latest instalment of the usually sedate show.

Many of the six million viewers -- including children -- were left horrified after Doc Martin's wife was unexpectedly hit by a car, prompting many to vent their distaste on social networking sites.

The Daily Mail reported a few viewer comments that hardly pass muster as 'outrage', eg:

I wasn't expecting that! Not sure my nerves can take it!

Meanwhile TV campaigners whinged that the car crash twist in the episode of Doc Martin was inappropriate for a series that has a reputation for offering inoffensive content suitable for children, even though it was shown after the 9pm watershed.

Pippa Smith, co-chairman of campaign group Safermedia, spouted:

It was far too graphic even if it was on at 9pm. We also know that children will be watching.

It is not the sort of thing you would expect from this series and seems to be following a recent trend towards harder more unpleasant story lines as we have seen in the normally gentle Downton Abbey.

This is not entertainment.

And Vivienne Pattison, director of MediaWatch, urged broadcasters to consider using warnings ahead of unusually graphic scenes.



Offsite Article: Daily Mail earnestly recommend Masters of Sex...

Link Here12th October 2013
But are surely salivating at the prospect of being able to call it 'vile' when a few easily offended whingers take to Twitter

See article from



A Couple Tweets and a Puerile Sound Bite from Mediawatch-UK...

But enough for a nonsense 'outrage' story about a breast exam on breakfast TV

Link Here 3rd October 2013
A few viewers have expressed their shock at the appearance of a topless woman on ITV at 8:45am.

Model Sue appeared topless as part of a demonstration to educate women how to examine their breasts for abnormalities that may indicate breast cancer on early morning breakfast show Lorraine, presented by Lorraine Kelly.

Dr Hilary Jones talked the model through the hand movements and pressure application, which she conducted herself, recommending that women spend three minutes examining each breast and armpit each time.

A spokeswoman from pressure group Mediawatch UK claimed such broadcasts could be problematic .:

Whilst there was nothing sexual or lascivious about the examination, this kind of thing can be problematic.

There probably should have been a warning beforehand, as there may have been young children watching and it might have upset them a bit.

The telegraph also cited a couple of trivial whingeing tweets and a supportive one.

A spokeswoman for ITV said :

We've had lots of lovely messages from our viewers thanking the programme for highlighting how to do a full examination - something it seems many women have been unaware and unsure of.

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