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UK TV and Radio News

2014: Jan-March

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Wotak Hunt...

Ludicrous whinge about an allusion to the possibility of a joke on Match of the Day

Link Here31st March 2014

Match of the Day
BBC One, 31st August 2013

A complainant contacted BBC Audience Services on 2 September 2013 to complain about a comment made by Gary Lineker on Match of the Day on 31 August 2013.

Gary said:

The two signings that Ian Holloway talked about are ... have confirmed Jimmy Kebe the winger from Reading and also from Huddersfield the right back Jack Hunt - have to be very careful with that one. Next, Manchester City versus Hull City...

Gary stressed the letter H on the word Hunt, apparently in order to avoid the possibility of a mis-interpretation of the word Hunt , which, following the word Jack , might have either been heard by some viewers as a verbal use of the word 'cunt'.

The complainant felt that for Gary to say he had to be very careful with that one was a crude and inappropriate comment about Jack Hunt's name on a family show .

Audience Services responded on 12 September 2013 saying that it was most definitely not the case that Gary Lineker had made an offensive comment . They noted that no laughter had accompanied the comment be careful with that one , and that nothing had followed which could be interpreted as crude or inappropriate . Audience Services apologised if the complainant had found the comment unacceptable, but said there was certainly no intention to cause offence .

The complainant was not satisfied with the response and made a follow-up complaint on 8 October 2013 and then escalated his complaint to the Trust. He said that it was indisputable that Gary Lineker was: making a reference to the worst word in the English language. He said that the sentence had no purpose other than to emphasise the potential c word trip-up .

The BBC Editorial Complaints Committee Decision

The Committee considered the response of Audience Services in relation to Match of the Day and noted that Audience Services had apologised for any offence that had been caused, but had assured the complainant there had been no intention to cause offence and Gary Lineker had not used offensive language. Trustees noted that the complainant had watched with his teenage son and regretted any embarrassment he may have felt. However Trustees considered that the comment made by the presenter was elliptical and would be within the expectations of the audience of the very well established programme.

The Committee therefore decided that this appeal did not qualify to proceed for consideration.



Update: Big Fat Lawyer Earnings...

The Traveller Movement obtains judicial Review of Ofcom investigation into claims against the Big Fat Gypsy Weddings TV series

Link Here25th March 2014
Full story: Big Fat Gypsy Wedding...TV winds up the easily offended
The Traveller Movement, a campaign group supporting gypsies and travellers, has won permission to seek a judicial review against the TV censor Ofcom.

The group claims that Ofcom conducted a flawed and biased investigation into accusations by the movement and eight individual women that the The Big Fat Gypsy Weddings series on Channel 4 perpetuated racist stereotypes.

They also complain the Channel 4 series broke broadcasting regulations regarding consent, sexually exploited traveller children and caused untold harm to social cohesion by reinforcing misconceptions and prejudices.

Ofcom has indicated it will defend its actions and contends the gypsy case is unarguable.



Walking on Water...

BBC religious police think they are beyond reproach in censoring Eliza Doolittle

Link Here17th March 2014
The BBC asked pop star Eliza Doolittle to drop a reference to Jesus when performing a song on the radio.

Doolittle was asked to re-word her love song Walking On Water for an appearance on the Radio 2 breakfast show, hosted by Chris Evans, because she refers to Jesus walking on water, according to the Mail on Sunday.

Her lyric refers to putting on a pair of trainers to run across the water to a yearned-for love. She told the Mail on Sunday that she had to change the lyrics from:

Sometimes I wish I was Jesus, I'd get my Air Max on and run across the sea for you.


Sometimes I wish it was easy to get my Air Max on and run across the sea for you.

BBC bosses are facing justified accusations they were oversensitive over Doolittle's religious reference.

Now the BBC claimed there had been a misunderstanding , and that the corporation would not request a singer alters their lyrics.



Not So Free Speech...

BBC censored by the Birmingham Central Mosque

Link Here14th March 2014
The BBC has controversially dropped a debate on homosexuality from a live panel discussion show because of objections from Birmingham Central Mosque in which the programme was being filmed.

As first reported by Breitbart London, the BBC Three live debate and discussion show aimed at young people, Free Speech , had intended to ask the question, When will it be accepted to be Muslim and gay? However the show's host Rick Edwards, announced that the debate would not take place as planned. He told the audience:

We were going to debate that question today, but after speaking to the Mosque, they have expressed deep concerns with having that discussion here.

The producers of the show, Mentorn Media say the debate will happen on its next show on 25 March.

Stephen Evans, campaigns manager at the National Secular Society said:

After agreeing to allow a programme called Free Speech to be filmed at the Mosque, it is absurd and counterproductive to then censor the topic being discussed.

It is unfortunate that the BBC allowed itself to be censored on this occasion by reactionary imams, but this was a place of worship, and perhaps the BBC would do well to choose religiously neutral venues to hold such debates in future.

Update: Censored by threats violence

15th March 2013. See  article from



Flame On...

BBFC vs Channel 5. Zathura and lessons in home built flame throwers

Link Here8th March 2014
Zathura: A Space Adventure is a 2005 USA family action comedy by Jon Favreau.
With Josh Hutcherson, Jonah Bobo and Dax Shepard. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

Zathura is a strange film. Not only is it a non apologetic rip off of the considerably more successful Jumanji, but it's also incredibly watchable. The premise (while simple), is about as appealing to children as it gets. Two pre teen brothers are trapped in a sci fi Jumanji-esque board game, that carries out all of the games forfeits in the real world, resulting in CGI carnage for all involved.

Sadly though these plot points weren't enough to stop the BBFC getting their heavily starched undies in a twist.

As is often the case, they were more concerned with the real life elements of this film. And by element, I mean fire. Like a lot of family friendly American films, Zathura features the BBFC's much feared IMITABLE TECHNIQUES. And to be honest, I kind of agree with them. Showing a 7 year old the results of dousing a couch in flammable liquid as a way of salvation is a pretty dumb thing to do. Yes you can argue that they would struggle to find such combustible fluids that easily around the house, you can't argue that they can (and will) find a can of deodorant, another fire friendly everyday item that the films protaganists use (with great ease) to light up Kristen Stewart (I imagine several Twilight haters relish this scene). Both techniques are shown to be very simple to do, and are done with THE BEST INTENTIONS. So, yeah, maybe the BBFC had a valid point, and may have actually thought outside the box for the greater good..................

Unlike Channel 5. It's now 11.20am, the film started at 10, and wouldn't you know it, British kids are now being shown how to ignite their sisters and make a couch flammable.



Update: Viewers whinge at racist storyline in Emmerdale...

But not to worry, it is all politically correct propaganda and the bad guy comes around to realise the error of his ways.

Link Here6th March 2014
Full story: Emmerdale...Viewer whinges about ITV soap
Producers of Emmerdale have defended their decision to develop a racism storyline, despite ludicrous whinges to teh TV censor Ofcom.

Easily offended viewers expressed their 'outrage' last week after a scene aired in which new character William, played by Dudley Sutton, made a racist remark to Ruby Haswell, played by Alicya Eyo.

After begrudgingly agreeing to hire Ruby, a health care professional, to become his new carer, William remarked: Slaves weren't you? You'll be used to hard work.

Ofcom have confirmed they received 15 complaints about the episode.

However a spokesperson from Emmerdale said it was an important issue to address. The storyline will be developed further and the character of William will appear in six more episodes:

In subsequent episodes we see Ruby challenge William about his racism and confront him with the hurt that such language causes.

In the end, through professionalism and determination she succeeds in making him aware that his remarks aren't just casual 'banter', as he believes, but are deeply offensive. As a result he is seen to change his ways.



Updated: Soap Storm...

Twitter storm over gay kiss on Coronation Street

Link Here28th February 2014
Full story: Coronation Street...Complaints and whinges
Around 100 viewers complained to Ofcom with many furious that a gay kissing scene was aired in Coronation Street before 8pm when children are watching.

Todd (Bruno Langley) locked lips with Marcus (Charlie Condou). After the full-on snog, the pair were shown heading semi-naked to the bedroom.

Most of the complainants say the gay kiss should not have been shown so early in the evening because it was too sexually suggestive , while others claim it had no place being broadcast at all.

Viewers inevitably took to Twitter to express their 'outrage', but the examples are too trivial to bother repeating.

Update: Inevitable Ofcom tells the whingers to bugger off

28th February 2013. See  article from

TV censor Ofcom received over 100 complaints about the scene but an Ofcom spokesperson said:

Ofcom can confirm that it is not investigating the scene in Coronation Street as it was not in breach of generally accepted standards. Our rules do not discriminate between scenes involving opposite sex and same sex couples.



Shown the Blue Card...

BBC delays 'as live' football match due to strong language from the crowd

Link Here24th February 2014
Football fans were waiting to watch the Scottish premiership match Ross County vs St Mirren, 'as live' on BBC Alba at 5.30pm last Saturday.

When it was discovered just how much swearing could clearly be heard, transmission was delayed by more than five hours until after the watershed.

A BBC spokeswoman said the channel had no choice but to delay the broadcast, in compliance with the rules set by Ofcom, where no programme that carries offensive language can be broadcast pre-watershed .



Trying to Trip Up the BBC...

BBC responds to complaints about overenthusiastic commentators

Link Here11th February 2014

Sochi 2014, Snowboarding slopestyle,
BBC Two, 9 February 2014


BBC commentators got carried away at the prospect of a British medal and ended up cheering when a competitor had a mishap. This resulted in complaints and a statement from the BBC that, as usual, refuses to describe what actually sparked the complaint. The BBC responded to complaints as follow:

We received complaints from viewers who were unhappy with the standard of commentary during the Snowboarding slopestyle final.

The BBC's response

This was a truly historic occasion for Team GB and the commentary team were understandably very excited, however we acknowledge that on occasion this excitement got the better of them and this is something that we will work on for future events.



Offsite Article: This afternoon's play was shit. It pissed me off...

Link Here 4th February 2014
Witty complainant uses the strong language that he is complaining about in a Radio 4 drama. The BBC are not amused and whinge about his language

See article from



Offsite Article: Jesus and Mo and Channel 4 News...

Link Here1st February 2014
Full story: Jesus and Mo...Atheist cartoons offend the easily offended
Channel 4 News had just one job to do here, which was to present its viewers the facts they needed not only to make sense of the story but to form their own opinion of it and decide for themselves whether this cartoon is offensive

See article from



Updated: Channel 4 Sides with the Bullies...

National Secular Society write open letter to Channel 4 over the censorship of Jesus and Mo cartoon

Link Here31st January 2014

Dear Mr de Pear, Editor, Channel 4 News

We are writing in response to a package presented by news correspondent Katie Razzall, on Tuesday 28 January 2014, which looked at the controversy surrounding Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate, Maajid Nawaz, and his recent tweeting of a Jesus & Mo cartoon.

We were surprised and extremely disappointed to see that Channel 4 News took the decision to cover up the image of Mohammed when showing the Jesus & Mo cartoon, and we are thus keen to elicit the rationale behind that particular editorial decision.

During the report, it was noted that this decision was taken so as not to cause offence to some viewers; however we would like to point out that by your making this decision you have effectively taken a side in a debate where a Muslim man has suffered violent death threats after he explicitly said he did not find the cartoons offensive. You have taken the side of the reactionaries - the side of people who bully and violently threaten Muslims, such as Mr Nawaz, online.

By redacting the picture of Mo , you have contributed to a climate of censorship brought on by the unreasonable and reactionary views of some religious extremists. Rather than defending free expression, one of the most precious pillars of our liberal democratic society, you have chosen instead to listen to extremists and patronise British Muslims by assuming they will take offence at an irreverent and satirical cartoon. By taking the decision you did, not only did you betray the fundamental journalistic principle of free speech, but you have become complicit in a trend that seeks to insidiously stereotype all Muslim people as reacting in one uniform way (generally presented as overly sensitive and potentially violent).

Given that your editorial decision seems to be have been weighted by a concern with offence, we might also note that you ended up with a report that was, in fact, very offensive to many; offensive to those who take seriously and cherish our basic freedom to speak and question, and offensive to many Muslims, whose voices you do not hear because you insist on placating the reactionary voices of people claiming to represent what it is to be an authentic Muslim .

In the subsequent interview with Mohammed Shafiq of the Ramadhan Foundation, presenter Jon Snow made the point that there are a number of places in the world where blasphemy is punished by death. This reality provides an apposite backdrop to the whole debate and, by extension, Channel 4's decision to censor. In a world where the notion of offence to those with religious views is being used to control and punish people of all religions and none, the UK has an urgent responsibility to uphold freedom of expression in the face of religious extremism. Its news outlets share in this responsibility.

Whilst we understand that you covered both sides of the issue through your report and subsequent interview, we were keen to highlight the dangerous precedent you have set by taking the editorial decision to censor the Jesus & Mo cartoon, and the deeply symbolic implications that decision has. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on the matter.

We are considering this an open letter.

Yours sincerely,

National Secular Society

Offsite Comment: On the importance of the right to offend

 See  article from

Thank you @Channel4News you just pushed us liberal Muslims further into a ditch . So tweeted Maajid Nawaz, prospective Liberal Democratic parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, last night. He had every right to be incandescent.

...Read the full article

Update: Channel 4 Responds

31st January 2013. See  article from

Rather than respond directly to an open letter from the National Secular Society, Channel 4 replied with a standard letter sent to all those who complained about its redaction of the cartoon depiction of the religious character Mohammad.

The letter, from Steve Reynolds of Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries, reads:

As we are sure you can appreciate, this is a very sensitive subject for many viewers. Channel 4 News editorial staff gave great consideration to the issues involved and believe that they reached a fair and balanced judgement, weighing up the potential for offence to some viewers by showing the depiction of the Prophet Mohammed and the necessity of showing the cartoon in full.

The senior editorial team decided that the showing of the entire illustration, whilst likely to cause offence, was not integral to the story, and therefore took the decision to pixelate. Whilst we acknowledge your views, we believe that on balance this was the correct decision and as a rule, where we consider the likelihood of significant offence to our audience, we will attempt to mitigate against that. As to not pixelating the image of Jesus, it was not felt that the same level of offence was likely to be provoked as the image is commonly depicted in cartoon form.

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, commented:

The claim that showing the entire illustration was 'not integral to the story' is ludicrous. It was the story. The truth is that Channel 4, like so many others, is intimidated and afraid of the reaction from violent extremists. Such extremists have got this country in a fearful stranglehold that is gradually destroying our commitment to freedom of speech. We may have abolished the blasphemy law, but who needs it when the same effect can be achieved by terrorising people?



Obituary: Jocelyn Hay...

Voice of the Listener and Viewer founder dies aged 86

Link Here25th January 2014
Jocelyn Hay, who founded the respected pressure group Voice Of The Listener And Viewer (VLV), has died aged 86. (nothing to do with Mary Whitehouse's moralist campaign organisation National Viewers and Listeners Association)

Hay founded the campaign group in 1983 as a voice for radio listeners, in response to a proposal by BBC managing director Richard Francis to change Radio 4 into an all-news network. She remained its president until her death.

As radio's unsung champion, Hay was made a CBE in 2005 for services to broadcasting. Announcing her death, the VLV said she had built the organisation into the United Kingdom's main consumer voice on issues affecting public service broadcasting and quality and diversity in radio and television programming .

She campaigned on issues related to the quality of programming and her organisation was noted for :

  • Challenging the Peacock Committee's proposals in 1986 to privatise Radio 1 and Radio 2
  • Opposing advertising on the BBC
  • Opposing the loss of the long wave frequency on BBC R4 in the 1990s.
  • Opposing ITV's withdrawal from children's television production and its regional commitments after the Communications Act 2003.



Political Correctness Challenged...

BBC Trust respond to complaint about political correctness in using the term 'Asians' to describe a group of child sex abusers rather than the narrower and more obvious groupings of 'Pakistani' or 'Muslim'

Link Here24th January 2014

The complainant wrote to the BBC Trust following the decision of the Head of Editorial Compliance and Accountability, BBC News, not to uphold his complaint about BBC news reporting, which he felt was pro-immigrant and pro Muslim .

He referred, first, to a story which he said was reported by the BBC as being about three Lincoln men being jailed for the theft of lead, when the men had, in fact, been three Latvian immigrants.

The second story he referred to in his appeal was, he said, the Oxford sex case , in which the defendants had been referred to as Asians , when, in fact, there were seven defendants from Pakistan and two from North Africa. This, he said, was an insult to Thai, Chinese, Malays and all other Asians.

BBC Initial Decision: Complaint not upheld

The Trust's Senior Editorial Complaints Adviser (the Adviser) replied to the complainant explaining that in reports of this nature, the Adviser considered that it would generally be good practice for BBC reporters to stick to the facts as presented in court. Clearly, where an individual's nationality was relevant to the case, and was highlighted as such in court, it would be a different matter. But, as far as she could see from her research on other cases of lead theft from churches, this did not seem to be a peculiarly Lithuanian (or Latvian) or, indeed, immigrant crime. The Adviser thought that, for these reasons, the Trustees would be unlikely to find that the BBC's report on the lead theft had breached any of the guidelines.

The second case in the complainant's appeal referred to use of the term Asian , when defendants in the sex grooming case in Oxford had, said the complainant, been from Pakistan and North Africa. The Adviser considered that the Head of Editorial Compliance and Accountability, BBC News, had given a full account of references in the Oxford case which had demonstrated that the BBC had reported the men's origins on some relevant occasions. She also noted the references at Stage 2 to coverage of the Rochdale sex rings, the fact that it had been a feature of the case that there had been no agreement on the part of the authorities as to the role played by race and religion, and the BBC's exploration of these issues.

The Adviser considered there was no reasonable prospect of the Trustees finding the reports complained about had been in breach of the Accuracy and/or Impartiality or any other Guidelines, and the appeal would not, therefore, be put before the Trustees.

The complainant requested that the Trustees review the decision not to proceed with his appeal.

BBC Trust Editorial Complaints Committee Decision: Not to proceed with appeal

The Committee was not of the view that evidence had been presented which would be likely to lead it to conclude that BBC News reporting was in breach of Guidelines with regard to the original appeal, which cited the Lincoln and Oxford criminal cases.

The Committee did not believe the complainant's appeal had any reasonable prospect of success but joined with the Adviser in hoping the complainant would be reassured that this was an area the Trustees had given some thought to and would be discussing further with the BBC Executive.

The Committee therefore decided that this appeal did not qualify to proceed for consideration.



Update: It's Not Right...

EastEnders tackles some difficult issues, and inevitably receives a few whinges

Link Here18th January 2014
Full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints
The BBC published a response to complaints, notably avoiding explaining what the complaints were about.

In fact the complaints were about statements by Shabnam Masood, played by newcomer Rakhee Thakrar. She told her father Masood Ahmed, that he should not be dating Carol Jackson because she is white. After the couple's break-up, Shabnam is heard telling him: Carol can see the obvious even if you can't. It's not right you being with a white woman.

The BBC responded:

BBC One, 14 January 2014


We received complaints from some viewers who were unhappy with a comment made by Shabnam during EastEnders on 14 January 2014.

The BBC's response

EastEnders has a rich history of tackling social issues. The show does not advocate racism or intolerance in any way; in fact it seeks to challenge these negative views.

Shabnam has returned from Pakistan with a renewed religious faith, devoutness and with some strong views. In this episode Shabnam's comments came from her personal beliefs but as viewers will see in future episodes, she is strongly challenged on her views by her father, Masood. Drama often requires an oppositional voice or view-point in order for another character/s to express their feelings, and challenge a particular sentiment or standpoint. This is the case in the episode which will air on 15 January, when Masood makes it very clear that he finds her views unacceptable.

Update: Complaints dismissed

4th February 2013. See  article from

Ofcom decided to take no action after receiving 87 complaints about the episode shown on 14 January.



Update: Vivienne Pattison Recommends...

18 rated bondage on Celebrity Big Brother

Link Here15th January 2014
Full story: Big Brother...Whinging about Channel 4's Big Brother
Celebrity Big Brother has attracted a few complaints over its supposedly 18 certificate scenes , sexism and homophobia.

The most recent fun was on Monday night's show when housemates were given the task of producing certificate 18 footage .

Six contestants dressed in PVC bondage gear and were sent into a bedroom decorated like a pole dancing club. The scenes resulted in 47 whinges by yesterday morning.

Vivienne Pattison from Mediawatch-UK spouted:

Celebrity Big Brother has always been manipulative -- but this was specifically asking contestants to create 18-certified footage. It is not a free-for-all after the watershed. There is nothing stopping an eight-year-old going on to the Channel 5 on demand online content and ticking a box to say they are old enough to watch this sexual content.

Former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield attracted the most complaints with his comments that being gay ain't normal angered 98 viewers. There were also 52 complaints objecting to supposedly sexist comments by former N-Dubz star Dappy.

The show has attracted 342 complaints to Ofcom since the series started.



Doling Out Complaints...

Complaints received about Channel 4's Benefits Street

Link Here10th January 2014
Thousands of people have signed a petition demanding that Channel 4 drop the remainder of Benefits Street , a series on the welfare system that has prompted a police probe and hundreds of complaints from viewers.

The series, which focuses on a street in the Winson Green district of Birmingham where 90 per cent of residents are said to be claiming benefits, is being reviewed by West Midland Police after contributors were seen boasting about shoplifting offences and growing cannabis in their homes.

About 400 people have complained about the show to Channel 4, with another 296 complaining to the TV censor Ofcom.

About 3,300 people have signed an online petition calling on the broadcaster to drop the show and make a donation to charity for the damage it had caused.

A Channel 4 spokesperson said the broadcaster would not be pulling the remainder of the series:

Filmed for more than a year, this fair and balanced observational documentary series is a fair reflection of the reality of life on a street where the majority of households receive benefits - and in an area of Birmingham that has had the highest rate of unemployment in the country for the last eight years.

It is a sympathetic, humane and objective portrayal of how people are coping with continuing austerity and cuts in benefits.



Throwing in the Towel...

Channel 4 censors cut Jewel in the Nile

Link Here5th January 2014
I happened to be watching The Jewel Of The Nile on Channel 4 on January 2nd. As expected all the swearing was missing or toned down, but I noticed an interesting edit that Channel 4 had made.

It occurs in the scene where Ralph finds Jack and Joan bound over the bottomless well and the Jewel is chained up. When the Jewel tells Ralph who he really is, Ralph's response is And I'm a kumquat from Queens . But I noticed that Channel 4 cut out the next line where Ralph then says Pipe down, towelhead .

Understanding what that means obviously, that's the first time I've heard that line cut out of the film. Is Channel 4 trying not to offend members of the Arab and Muslim world by cutting out that line, or have Channel 4 panicked a little, now that someone has finally figured out after 29 years what the term towelhead means?

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