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UK TV and Radio News

2014: Oct-Dec

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Still claiming that a few whingers somehow represent the British public...

Departing TV censor, Ed Richards, comments on censorship trends under his tenure

Link Here 29th December 2014
Swearing, once a primary concern for TV censors and campaigners such as Mary Whitehouse, is of little concern to the modern viewer, the retiring head of Ofcom believes.

Ed Richards, who stands down at the end of this month, said one of the changes he has noticed during more than eight years in charge of the communications censor was that 'vulgarities' no longer upset the viewing public, provided they are not delivered in a threatening manner. He said:

They are more tolerant of light swearing, non-aggressive swearing, particularly in a comedy situation.

But he claims a new taboo had emerged, one that comedian Frankie Boyle had identified. Richards cited Boyle's joke about Katie Price's disabled son Harvey in a routine on Channel 4 as a key example of the some public intolerance of jokes made at the expense of people with disabilities.

In an interview with The Independent, Richards said:

Probably 20 years ago... making a joke about a child with a disability would have gone uncommented on, or not commented on as much as it has been. I think people were offended by that because it was making fun of a child's disability and people don't want to hear that any more.

He said the trend was part of a wider backlash against all forms of discriminatory content on television, something that was borne out by audience research conducted by Ofcom. As a result, some programmes from a previous generation of television could no longer be shown, he said.

[There are] comedies from the Seventies which had certain racial stereotypes in them which are unimaginable today and if they were shown people would find them offensive and that wouldn't just be people from black and ethnic minority communities, it would be everybody. I think the country has moved on in a very important way there.



Update: Ofcom's Top 10 TV programmes of 2014...

As judged by the number of complaints received

Link Here23rd December 2014
  1. Big Brother - Channel 5 - 3,784 complaints
  2. Celebrity Big Brother - Channel 5 - 1,874 complaints
  3. Cutting Edge: Going to the Dogs - Channel 4 - 1,805 complaints
  4. Benefits Street - Channel 4 - 967 complaints
  5. Coronation Street - ITV - 367 complaints
  6. The X Factor - ITV - 360 complaints
  7. EastEnders - BBC 1 - 316 complaints
  8. Emmerdale - ITV - 243 complaints
  9. Sky News (20/07/14) - 205 complaints
  10. Channel 4 News - 193 complaints



Extract Lascivious camera shots...

Vivienne Pattison interviewed about 50 years of Mary Whitehouse

Link Here14th December 2014
Vivienne Pattison of Mediawatch-UK was asked Would you say things have got better or worse over those years? Pattison replied:

Well it's very easy to have a knee-jerk reaction and think everything has got so much worse, but that really isn't the case. I'm happy that we see a lot less racism and a lot less sexism on television today and I think that that has been a positive thing. But on the other hand I think we're seeing an awful lot more portrayals of violence, particularly sexual violence, which I think is incredibly worrying - and we're also seeing it used almost as a titillation, you know: lascivious camera shots on lots of violent action and violent footage. I don't think that that has been a positive development and I think that television and a lot of the programmes on it have become increasingly sexualised, which we're now beginning to learn, and we're still in the foothills here, but it's really quite damaging for children growing up with these images around them. So tempting though it is to say, No, everything's worse - some things are a lot better and some things really are not.

...Read the full interview



Public Virtues and Private Vices...

BBC pretends to stick up for comedy whilst privately imposing a more politically correct version of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue

Link Here2nd December 2014
The BBC has investigated the imaginary character of the lovely Samantha on Radio 4's I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue , it has been disclosed.

The BBC has privately looked into whether to censor the smutty jokes aimed at Samantha , despite publicly signalling the familiar innuendo will remain part of the long-running show. A number of senior figures at the corporation are said to share the concerns of a complainant, who argued the non-speaking character was referred to only as a sexual object and perpetuated schoolboy, sexist, so-called humour .

As a result, talks have been held to determine how the show can adapt to the modern day, with more female panellists booked to appear on the show and more frequent mentions of Samantha's male equivalent, Sven. It will also endeavour to make sure the audience understands Samantha, a fictional scorekeeper who is never heard on the panel show, is a willing, even enthusiastic participant in the liaisons joked about on air.

The details of the meetings have been published by the BBC Trust as part a regular bulletin from its Editorial Standards Committee , the final arbiter of appeals if listeners and viewers are unhappy with the way their initial complaints have been dealt with by BBC management. On this occasion, it found, the complainant's appeal did not qualify to proceed for consideration because it did not have a reasonable prospect of success. But the report detailed the many steps already taken since the first complaint was received by Radio 4's Feedback in July 2013.

However the true extent of behind-the-scenes discussions has now been revealed, with the complainant claiming the public statement contradicted the actual correspondence she had with the BBC. A letter from a member of the Editorial Complaints Unit had instead told her there had been:

Lengthy and detailed discussion between senior managers with a number of senior figures share, at least in part, your concerns about the manner in which Samantha in portrayed.

The report published by the BBC Trust states:

The complainant explained that she had also had further correspondence with the show's producer who acknowledged that a high-level meeting had taken place and outlined the changes that were planned for the show including booking female panellists, featuring Sven (the male equivalent of Samantha) more frequently and making sure the audience understood Samantha was a willing even enthusiastic participant in the liaisons and stress that she was often the initiator in these relationships to avoid the suggestion that she was being taken advantage of.



Update: Big Fat Lawyer Paychecks...

Ofcom in court for a judicial review of the way it handled complaints about Big Fat Gipsy Wedding

Link Here28th November 2014
Full story: Big Fat Gypsy Wedding...TV winds up the easily offended
Ofcom were in court today being accused of treating broadcasters more favourably than the public. The TV censor was the subject of a judicial review at the High Court on the way it dealt with complaints around Channel 4 programme Big Fat Gypsy Wedding .

The Traveller Movement, which is bringing the case on behalf of the traveller and gypsy communities, has accused Ofcom of favouring broadcasters, highlighting its decision to send draft harm and offence complaint reports to them, but withholding the documents from the people complaining.

The case revolves around complaints made by the Traveller Movement concerning C4's airing of Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and Thelma's Gypsy Girls. According to the Movement the shows breached the Broadcast Code for depicting children in a sexualised manner and depicting violent sexual assault of girls and young women as normal in traveller communities.

Ofcom rejected the complaints in November 2013.

The judge heard the case and reserved judgement until a later date.



Out of Order...

John O'Farrell on why we should be allowed to use parliamentary footage for parody.

Link Here27th November 2014
There are strict censorship guidelines on how broadcasters can, and cannot, use Parliamentary footage to reflect what goes on in the Commons and the Lords.

News programmes, such as the Daily Politics , may use clips under certain conditions, but these rules also ban the likes of Have I Got News for You and entertainment programmes from using them to mock Parliamentarians and Westminster life.

In a personal film, the writer and former Labour Parliamentary candidate John O'Farrell explained why he is not impressed with the rules, and why he thinks they need to be changed.

O'Farrell debated this on Thursday's Daily Politics on BBC2. See programme on iPlayer



Updated: Keep Your Knickers On...

Radio Norfolk chat show host has a little fun at the expense of political correctness

Link Here24th November 2014

The BBC have responded to complaints:

Nick Conrad
BBC Radio Norfolk,17 November 2014


We received some complaints unhappy with comments made by presenter Nick Conrad.

Response from the BBC

During Nick's programme there was a wide-ranging, hour long debate with listeners about the ethics surrounding the Ched Evans case. Nick made it very clear that he strongly believes rape to be an abhorrent and unacceptable act. He was also joined on-air by Sarah Green from End Violence Against Women who spoke at length with both Nick and callers to the programme.

However, Nick also made some very ill judged comments and BBC management has made it clear to him that they were inappropriate.

Nick is very sorry for any offence he has caused and he sincerely apologised at the beginning of his programme on 20 November.

Update: Ofcom to investigate

3rd December 2014. See  article from

The UK TV censor Ofcom has launched an investigation into comments made by BBC Radio Norfolk DJ Nick Conrad during a discussion about convicted rapist Ched Evans .

Ofcom , which has received almost 50 complaints about the incident, is investigating whether the comments are in breach of its censorship rules relating to generally accepted standards.



Commented: On the Pull Pulled...

Politically incorrect comedian, Dapper Laughs, finds himself pursed by a PC lynch mob

Link Here21st November 2014
ITV has dropped a politically incorrect internet star who has been described as the new Jim Davidson . When ITV commissioned the recently finished six-part series Dapper Laughs: On the Pull for its youth-orientated ITV2 channel, it was presented as another example of a successful video-blogger or vlogger crossing into mainstream media. Dapper Laughs features Daniel O'Reilly walking British streets making quips to strange women about his penis and using his catchphrase proper moist .

The Daily Mirror published video footage of the comedian making bad taste jokes about rape in his live stand-up routine. The outburst, at a sell-out show at London's Scala in October, appears to have been a riposte to a piece on The Huffington Post by Lee Kern, who described the TV show as:

A woeful, misogynistic celebration of banter-based cretinism that is sadly having a renaissance among the confused, the intellectually frightened and the simpleton.

In his stand-up act, O'Reilly told the audience:

I filmed six episodes, half an hour each. If it was a guide to rape, I would have done one five-minute episode, come on and go 'Oi Oi, I'm Dapper Laughs, go down the shops, get some rope, bit of duct tape, rape the bitch, well done, see you later'.

O'Reilly tried to capitalise on his TV success by recording a Christmas album titled Proper Moist. The album includes songs called A Walk To The Pub...With A Tramp and Leaving The Pub...With A Tramp , in which he wonders if a woman's top was low cut or just ripped and asks your place or mine? This particular joke seems to have become the focus of the 'outrage'.

He later apologised for the sexist humour aimed at homeless women He offered to donate some of the proceeds to the charity Shelter who support homeless people. But Shelter says it won't take money from a comedian who is deeply offensive about homeless people .

As the fracas continued,  44 comedians signed an open letter condemning him for his entirely sexist and degrading brand of laddish comedy. Meanwhile about 70,000 people signed a petition for his television show to be cancelled for its misogynistic views, all under the guise of harmless comedy .

A result of the 'outrage', ITV unsurprisingly decided to drop Dapper Laughs. An ITV spokesman said that in the light of comments made by Dapper Laughs outside of the TV show the broadcaster would not be commissioning a further series from the comedian:

We have given careful thought to the recent criticism of the character Dapper Laughs, which has focused on his activities outside of the ITV2 programme, [for which the] content was carefully considered and complied. We have taken the decision that we will not be considering this show for a second series.

The fun continued via BBC's Newsnight

See article from

The BBC is now facing questions over why it invited Dapper Laughs onto its flagship current affairs show Newsnight .

O'Reilly was invited on the BBC's flagship current affairs show for an interview which allowed him to declare Dapper Laughs is gone . The bad press and everything that's happened - it's wrecked my life to a certain extent, he said.

Newsnight's editor Ian Katz has been contacted directly by critics on Twitter, but insisted he believed giving the comedian a platform was the most effective way of dealing with the arguments .

Outraged viewers, writing online, have now accused the BBC of chasing ratings, giving the comedian an unnecessary platform, and scraping the barrel of its new editorial standards.

And Finally

Thanks to Dan who comments:

How ironic that liberals are now pushing the same mantra that TV corrupts that Mary Whitehouse did 40 years ago.

Update: Ofcom to have its say

17th November 2014. See article from

Ofcom has launched an investigation into ITV2 show Dapper Laughs: On The Pull after receiving 99 complaints about its attitude to women.

Ofcom is currently investigating whether the repeated use of sexual references in this comedy series met generally accepted standards, a spokesperson for the TV censor said after 99 complaints were logged.

Offsite Comment: Death to Dapper : behold the new intolerance

The terrifying censoriousness of the campaign against Dapper Laughs.

17th November 2014. See  article from by Brendan O'Neill

Offsite Comment: Dapper Laughs goes Pear Shape

21st November 2014. See article from . Thanks to Anthony

And so Dapper Laughs is gone. But questions remain. What, ask the various voices on twitter, was the difference between Dapper Laughs and Keith Lemmon? What was the difference between Dapper's rape joke and Jimmy Carr's rape joke?

...Read the full article



The Jovial Jihadist...

The BBC Trust and Ofcom are not impressed by Radio 1's Newsbeat interviewing a jihadist who likened his experience in Syria to computer gaming

Link Here12th November 2014
Newsbeat , BBC Radio's youth-orientated news service, has committed a serious breach of editorial guidelines by broadcasting an interview with a British jihadi who compared fighting for the terrorist group Islamic State to playing a computer game.

BBC Trust is not impressed

The BBC Trust said Newsbeat had a responsibility to protect children and young people from unsuitable content and that the broadcast should have come with an appropriate warning for Radio 1 listeners, many of whom are at school.

In the piece, broadcast last June, Newsbeat used a clip from an online video called The Isis Podcast , in which a young British man using the name Abu Sumayyah Al-Britani talked of the pleasures of jihad. He was introduced as speaking from an internet cafe' near his training camp in north-west Syria .

A Newsbeat reporter said: Some say Isis is overtaking Al Qaeda as one of the world's most dangerous jihadist organisations. Sumayyah believes what they are fighting for is right. The terrorist was then heard saying: It's actually quite fun. Better than, how you'd say, what's that game called, Call of Duty. It's like that but really... 3D you know. You can see everything that's happening in front of you, you know it's real, you know what I mean?

The Trust found that Newsbeat had also failed to sufficiently challenge the statements put forward in the Isis video and had failed to meet the BBC Editorial Guideline that demands that contributors expressing contentious views, either through an interview or other means, must be rigorously tested .

Newsbeat accepted that the report should have been preceded by a warning and that more contextual information should have been included. It stressed that the film was not an Isis propaganda vehicle but a podcast produced by two freelance journalists studying the terror group.

Nor is Ofcom impressed

Meanwhile Ofcom has also been investigating the Newsbeat interview. After an extraordinarily long report Ofcom concluded:

The Code does not prohibit particular individuals or organisations from appearing on UK television and radio just because their views or actions have the potential to cause offence, provided broadcasters comply with the Code. To do otherwise would be a disproportionate restriction of the broadcaster's right to freedom of expression and the audience's right to receive information and ideas. This is especially the case in news and current affairs programming, where broadcasters may wish to give coverage to or interview individuals or organisations with extreme and very challenging views as part of their legitimate and comprehensive coverage of the news. Broadcasters should be able to report on terrorist groups that pose threats internationally and domestically. This is clearly in the public interest and expected by viewers and listeners. However, where highly controversial individuals or organisations are given the opportunity to articulate their views on television or radio, broadcasters must always ensure that they place those views in context by, for example, providing appropriate challenge to those views and giving warnings as appropriate.

Breaches of Rules 1.3 and 2.3

  • Rule 1.3: Children protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them .
  • Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context...Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence .



Fake Sheikh: Exposed...

BBC pulls Panorama episode 90 minutes before transmission

Link Here11th November 2014
The BBC pulled a planned expose of Sun on Sunday journalist Mazher Mahmood, after a last-minute intervention from his lawyers, despite winning an earlier appeal to reveal the identity of the man known as the fake sheikh .

After winning two courtroom appeals to broadcast images of him in the Panorama documentary Fake Sheikh: Exposed, the BBC was presented with fresh information about one of the stories covered in the programme by lawyers for Mahmood at 7pm on Monday, just 90 minutes before the 8.30pm transmission.

BBC executives, led by head of news James Harding, decided they needed more time to assess the new information and rescheduled the show minutes before transmission. A documentary about a missing child was shown instead.

The BBC said it was keen to show Fake Sheikh: Exposed later this week in a special edition of the programme rather than waiting for next Monday.  In a statement, a BBC spokesman said:

The BBC had intended to broadcast Panorama, Fake Sheikh: Exposed tonight following the court of appeal's decision earlier today to allow the BBC to broadcast images of Mazher Mahmood.

Shortly before transmission, Mr Mahmood's lawyers submitted new information relating to one of the cases in the programme which, as a responsible broadcaster, the BBC needs to evaluate. Once this has been done, we will broadcast Fake Sheikh: Exposed, including recent footage of Mr Mahmood, as planned.



Nobody gives a fuck...

Chief TV censor explains to parliamentary committee that TV viewers are no longer wound up by strong language

Link Here8th November 2014
Ed Richards, chief executive of the TV censor Ofcom was called to give evidence to the Commons culture, media and sport committee. He outlined findings published earlier this year by Ofcom saying that TV viewers have become more tolerant of violence and swearing. But that sexist or racist language of the 1970s is far less acceptable than it once was.

Richards, who is about to stand down after 11 years in the job, told MPs there has been a big change in tolerance levels in the past few decades. According to the Ofcom's latest research, published in July, only 35% of viewers think there is too much violence on TV, down from 55% in 2008. Just 35% think there is too much swearing, down from 53% six years ago, while 26% believe there is too much sex, a slight rise from 25%. Richards told MPs:

People are more tolerant of a degree of violence than they were. They are much more tolerant of certain forms of swearing than they were. There are still some words, very few to be honest, but still some words which are off limits or only in certain circumstances.

They are much less tolerant, interestingly enough, of language which is regarded as discriminatory or unfair or unjust towards people. That's a big change if you think of the Seventies and some of the programmes which went out then. The public just do not want to see that any more.

One of the MPs who quizzed Mr Richards, former Labour Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw, said he felt UK broadcasters are now too intolerant of nudity while being willing to accept violence and sex on screen. However, Richards denied that British television has become more prudish about nudity and was importing American values and morality .

Vivienne Pattison, the director of moralist campaign group Mediawatch-UK, said that if it was true that viewers were less concerned by bad language but ludicrously claimed it was simply because they had become desensitised to it.

What she really means is that as viewers experience material, they are better able to come to their own conclusions and put it all in perspective. And the more they are given chance to have their own reasoned opinions, the less likely they are to agree with Pattison's simplistic nonsense.



Updated: Go Burn in Hell!...

BBC responds to idiots who believe what they see on Dr Who

Link Here7th November 2014

Doctor Who,
BBC One, 01 November 2014



We received complaints from some viewers who were unhappy with a storyline about death and cremation.

BBC Response:

Doctor Who is a family drama with a long tradition of tackling some of the more fundamental questions about life and death. We were mindful of the themes explored in Dark Water and are confident that they are appropriate in the context of the heightened sci-fi world of the show.

The scene in which a character reveals 3W's unconventional theory about the afterlife was preceded by the same character warning the Doctor and Clara several times that what they were about to hear could be distressing. When the Doctor does hear these claims, he immediately pours scorn on them, dismissing them out of hand as a con and a racket . It transpires that he is correct, and the entire concept is revealed to be a scam perpetrated by Missy.

Update: Time Lord delayed by the BBFC

7th November 2014.  See  article from

The DVD and Blu-Ray boxset release of The Complete Eighth Series has been delayed in the UK by one week.

The 5-disc boxset, containing all 12 episodes from Peter Capaldi's debut series and a host of extras , was originally due on 17 November but will now release instead on 24 November.

The reason for this slight delay is due to a BBFC classification change. The finale was given a 12 rating instead of PG which required a reprint of the cover.

Update: Burning with rage

7th November 2014. See  article from

124 viewers have so far complained about Saturday's Doctor Who episode Dark Water.

The BBC has confirmed that all the complaints concerned the reference to humans feeling pain when cremated and defended the storyline which it says was appropriate in the context of the show.

As well as the 124 viewers to have complained to the Corporation, a further nine people contacted TV censor Ofcom.

Privately the BBC is understood to be relaxed about the issue and is felt to consider that, given that around 5 million people watched the episode, the number of complaints is not excessive.



Frightful Disrespect...

Fright Night cut by the Sony Movie Channel

Link Here6th November 2014

Just watching the Sony Movie Channel showing of the classic 1985 FRIGHT NIGHT that aired on Halloween at 10pm and they censored the boobs during the first vampire bite scene deciding to frame it in extreme close up showing the characters from the neck up. What the deuce ?

Oh my god it gets even worse. The scene with the pencil removal completely cut from the film. That is just disgraceful.



Updated: For once the BBC does not grovel to the easily offended...

The BBC responds to dangerously easy offence taken at number plate

Link Here 1st November 2014
Full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

Statement regarding Top Gear filming in Argentina, October 2014 BBC Two Logo


We received complaints from viewers concerned by press reports that, while filming in Argentina, Top Gear had apparently used cars with provocative registration plates.

BBC's Response:

We consulted the programme makers who would like to assure viewers that this was an unfortunate coincidence and the cars were neither chosen for their registration plates, nor were new registration plates substituted for the originals.

The crew of BBC's Top Gear have left Argentina after facing protests over a number plate which appeared to refer to the 1982 Falklands War.

The team, including host Jeremy Clarkson, have been filming in South America for a Top Gear special.

The show apparently provoked anger among locals by using a Porsche with the registration number H982 FKL.

Update: All guns blazing

22nd October 2014. See  article from

Argentina's ambassador to Britain has demanded an apology from the BBC over a joke by car show Top Gear . The Argentine embassy in London said Ambassador Alicia Castro had complained to the BBC about:

Clarkson's provocative behaviour and offensive remarks toward the government and the Argentine peopley. Furthermore, the Argentine ambassador deeply regretted Jeremy Clarkson's entirely false accusations of alleged resentment against British citizens in Argentina.

The programme's crew had to leave Argentina hastily last month after they faced violent protests for driving a car with licence plate H982 FK, interpreted by some as a reference to the country's 1982 war with Britain over the disputed Falkland Islands.

Host Jeremy Clarkson has accused Argentine officials of whipping up anger for political capital.

The BBC said it would follow its usual complaint procedures.

Update: BBC bottle

1st November 2014. See  article from

The BBC has rejected a demand by the Argentinian ambassador to apologise for Jeremy Clarkson's Top Gear levity, saying the BBC2 special will be broadcast as planned.

Danny Cohen, the BBC's director of television, said there was no evidence to support the allegation that the number plate on Clarkson's Porsche, H982 FKL, was a deliberate reference to the Falklands war. Cohen said in a letter to the ambassador:

The BBC was disturbed by the violence the team faced during their visit and I know we are agreed that this violence should not be condoned.

I am very aware that some have questioned whether the number plates were in some way a prank. I would like to reassure you again that nothing we have seen or read since the team returned supports the view that this was a deliberate act.



Dogged Censorship...

Ofcom bitches at the World's Crazy Fools

Link Here26th October 2014

World's Craziest Fools
BBC3, 30 June 2014, 19:00

World's Craziest Fools is a series of programmes presented by actor and professional wrestler Mr T. Video clips of people acting foolishly are shown accompanied by humorous voiceovers from the presenter.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to the use of offensive language during an episode shown on 30 June 2014 at 19:00. About five minutes into the programme the song Move Bitch by the rapper Ludacris was used as background music to accompany a montage of clips showing car drivers behaving in various stupid or dangerous ways.

Ofcom noted 25 instances of bitch which were clearly audible while the song was played. The duration of the montage using the music was about two minutes.

Ofcom consider Rule 1.16:

Offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed unless it is justified by the context. In any event, frequent use of such language must be avoided before the watershed .

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.16

Ofcom's guidance on Rule 1.16 makes clear that:

Milder language in the early part of the evening may be acceptable, for example, if mitigated by a humorous context. However, in general, viewers and listeners do not wish to hear frequent or regular use of such language, including profanity, before 2100 .

Our research on offensive language noted that the word bitch is considered by audiences to be offensive language of medium acceptability which they group with other words considered to be stronger swear words. This research said that, although some thought there were contexts where it was acceptable to use this word pre-watershed, audiences considered that care needed to be taken , particularly where children were likely to be listening or watching and where programmes were intended to be family viewing.

Ofcom noted that there were 25 audible uses of the word bitch in this one item in the programme over a period of two minutes. In our view it was therefore clear that in this pre-watershed programme there was frequent use of offensive language.

We took account of the various points made by the BBC which it suggested helped to mitigate the offence caused by this repeated use of offensive language. These included that the use of this song in conjunction with a montage of traffic and parking clips made clear that in this context the song was intended to be comedic, rather than offensive towards women. Nonetheless we noted that the programme was pre-recorded, and there was therefore an opportunity for the producers to research and reflect on this choice of music for a pre-watershed programme.

The BBC also argued that any potential offence was mitigated by the humorous nature of the programme in general, and blunted, rather than intensified by its repetition. However, Rule 1.16 requires that the frequent use of offensive language must be avoided before the watershed. Ofcom's research on offensive language2 indicates that some audiences feel that the frequent use of a word can increase its offensiveness. In Ofcom's view, therefore, the repeated use of the word bitch in this song did not blunt the potential offence caused.

Breach of Rule 1.16



Ofcom whinges at 'fucks' in a live daytime Lily Allen concert...

I bet half the kids being 'protected' would have sworn at the radio if the gig had been cancelled

Link Here 25th October 2014

  Radio 1's Big Weekend
BBC Radio 1, 24 May 2014, 17:15 to 18:45

BBC Radio 1 hosted an annual live music event in Glasgow called Radio 1's Big Weekend , with segments of the event broadcast across the weekend.

Three complainants alerted Ofcom to the use of offensive language during the event's live broadcasts. Two of the complaints related specifically to Lily Allen's set aired between 17:30 and 18:15 on 24 May 2014 and one complaint was made about offensive language across the whole weekend. Ofcom noted that there were six instances of fuck during Lily Allen's 45 minute performance.

At 17:27, immediately prior to Lily Allen going on stage, the on-air presenter, Scott Mills, broadcast the following warning:

Now don't forget this set may contain some strong language, it is live on Radio 1's Big Weekend. We're about to see Lily Allen. If you're easily offended please go to the website and check out some other performance.

Lily Allen's set contained 11 songs in total, three of which included fuck . Following the first instance of fuck in each song the broadcast was immediately interrupted with an apology from the on-air presenter, with these apologies repeated at the end of the tracks.

Ofcom Rule 1.14:

The most offensive language must not be broadcastâ?¦when children are particularly likely to be listening.

The BBC pointed to the warning for strong language before Lily Allen's set began, and the multiple apologies broadcast during and after songs which included fuck .

The BBC said that at two points during Lily Allen's performance it considered whether to cut away from her set because of the repeated use of the word fuck . However the senior producer decided on balance to continue for various reasons. These included the producer's view that few children would be listening, the very clear signposting and apologies already given. However the BBC stated that in retrospect it believed Radio 1 should have stopped broadcasting live Lily Allen's set after the second song when she used offensive language, and only broadcast the remainder of her performance once it had been edited.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of rule 1.14

In this case the BBC clearly had prior experience with this live event from 2011. It is also important to note that in this case BBC Radio 1 was both the event promoter and broadcaster. It therefore had greater control over this event, and for example the order and content of the performances, than if it was one for which it had negotiated the rights to broadcast. Also as Lily Allen's material was well known, and her use of strong language in performance well established, it was reasonably predictable that her set could contain the most offensive language during a live broadcast of Radio 1's Big Weekend.

In light of Ofcom's decision in 2011, we considered that the BBC should have been more aware of this risk when broadcasting the same event in 2014. We are concerned that it did not take more measures both before and during the broadcast to ensure compliance with Section One of the Code taking into account that the event was to be broadcast at a time when children were particularly likely to be listening. Ofcom noted, for example, that in addition to consideration of the scheduling of the acts, the BBC also had the option of cutting away from Lily Allen's set after the first occasion when she used the most offensive language but failed to do so.

Therefore, in light of all the above factors, Rule 1.14 of the Code was breached.

Update: The BBC Trust also investigates

29th October 2014. See  article [pdf] from

In a similar investigation to Ofcom, the BBC Trust concluded:

Trustees were particularly concerned that this breach had come after several similar incidents in which the BBC had broadcast high profile music events which had included offensive language. They noted previous occasions when this had taken place: July 2005's broadcast of Live 8; July 2007's broadcast of Live Earth and Radio 1's Big Weekend of 2011. They considered that the BBC had an even greater degree of responsibility in regard to Radio 1's Big Weekend because it had editorial control in advance that it would not necessarily have over other events. They considered that, while artists were not paid for their performances, it was not the case that they did not benefit from taking part. They were able to reach a very wide audience, had the benefit of wide TV, radio and online coverage and had the advantage of widespread publicity that came with the coverage.

Trustees found that in relation to the output broadcast live on Radio 1 and online there had been a serious breach of the Editorial Guidelines for Harm and Offence; in particular, Guideline 5.4.22 which states: We must not include the strongest language before the watershed, or on radio when children are particularly likely to be in our audience, or in online content likely to appeal to a significant proportion of children.



Everybody's Offended...

Media-watch commission survey finding that everybody has been offended by something on pre-watershed TV

Link Here19th October 2014

A moralist campaign set up by Catholic campaigner Mary Whitehouse has claims that the public believes TV producers have crossed the line by allowing increasingly inappropriate content to be aired.

Of the 2,009 people questioned in the survey by Atomik Research on behalf of Mediawatch-UK, 100% said they had viewed offensive content before the watershed.

The research received the highest percentage of complaints about sexual activity (47%) followed by bad language (38%), violence (36%) and inappropriate adult issues such as drug use and gambling (34%). However, despite each person confessing they had concerns about unsuitable content, only 26% had complained to the TV censor Ofcom.

Actually 26% of people complaining to Ofcom is a massive proportion of people. Ofcom only get handfuls of complaints, so the 26% of people rather suggests that the Mediawatch-UK survey was hardly a random sample.

Vivienne Pattison, Director of Mediawatch-UK, claimed:

OFCOM's failure to regulate adequately in the past has led to what the regulator itself described as being 'at the very margin of acceptability' to become mainstream.

Is it then any wonder that people are not making their views known about inappropriate broadcasts because they don't think anything will come of complaining.

The survey was commissioned to mark the 50th anniversary of Mediawatch-UK.



Less Dead...

TV cuts to the Walking Dead and Frasier

Link Here14th October 2014
The Walking Dead

Thanks to Andy

I noticed that Fox had censored a part of The Walking Dead which was shown last night at 9pm.

The first guy to get his throat cut at the beginning of the show (Episode 1 Season 5). This was fully shown in America but in UK only the beginning of the cut was shown. It then cut to a reaction shot.

I'm sure many Walking Dead fans will be shocked to hear that Fox are cutting the show in the UK.


Thanks to Sergio

Frasier on Channel 4 at about 9am Sunday 12th October 2014.

It was cut near this point as shown on YouTube at the line:

I try to figure out why a maniac'll kill a hooker and stuff her entire body into a bowling bag

This line was just so bluntly cut, the laughs seem to not relate to anything.



The 9am Watershed...

John Cleese has fun with the watershed censorship rules on strong language

Link Here14th October 2014
John Cleese had fun on daytime TV winding up Phillip Schofield about the watershed rules.

Cleese appeared on This Morning on Monday to promote his new memoir, and during the interview he jokingly referred to his former comic colleague Michael Palin as a bastard .

Presenter Phillip Schofield immediately apologised for the slip, prompting Cleese to query the incident and revealing he misunderstood the U.K.'s broadcasting rules about the 9pm watershed.

After Schofield grovelled to easily offended viewers, Cleese said: Why? It's nine o'clock isn't it? and Schofield replied, Yes. The wrong one. It's alright at the later nine o'clock.

Cleese then revealed he had genuinely misunderstood the rules, saying, What? You can't say 'bastard' before nine in the evening? Really? I didn't realise that.

In fact the rules are not so clear as implied by the authors of this piece. It is very clear that the words 'fuck' and 'cunt' are banned from daytime TV but the situation for lesser strong language is not clear cut and depend on context etc rather than being absolute prohibitions.



Offsite Article: Offended by Radio 4 innuendo? Blame your own filthy mind...

Link Here 12th October 2014
Nicholas Parsons, the long-serving host of BBC Radio 4's Just A Minute, says those who spot the naughty jokes can only do so because of their own filthy minds

See article from



Update: Vetted by 'Experts'...

BBC explains that controversial EastEnders rape story line was tackled as uncontroversially as possible

Link Here8th October 2014

BBC One, 6th October 2014

The BBC confirmed it received 278 complaints about the episode, 0.0038% of the peak audience of 7.3 million. Queen Vic landlady Linda Carter was raped. She was attacked by Dean Wicks in the episode which went out on BBC1 at 8pm.


We received complaints from some viewers who were unhappy with an EastEnders storyline in which a character is raped.

The BBC's Response:

EastEnders has a rich history of tackling difficult issues and Linda's story is one of these. We worked closely with Rape Crisis and other experts in the field to tell this story which we hope will raise awareness of sexual assaults and the issues surrounding them. We were extremely mindful of the content of the episode and the timeslot of the programme and at no point were there any scenes of a graphic nature - in fact the attack on Linda was implied and never explicit. We took great care to signpost this storyline prior to transmission, both through on air continuity and publicity, and we ensured the episode was followed by contact information for the BBC Action Line which is able to direct callers to organisations which can offer further help and support.



Duh! I missed a bit!...

TV censors who were a bit slow to delete a 'fuck' from Monty Python Live forgiven by Ofcom.

Link Here7th October 2014

TV censors own up to missing a bit

Monty Python Live (Mostly) was a live broadcast of the final stage performance of the remaining members of Monty Python at London's O2 arena, on the classic comedy channel Gold.

Ofcom received two complaints about offensive language being used during the broadcast. Ofcom noted the following exchange around 19:24. It was part of a sketch involving Australian Bruce characters, where all the performers on stage wore the same khaki shirts, shorts and hats with corks hanging from them, and spoke with Australian accents.

Eric Idle: Have we got anything? Punk Bruce, can you give us a hand?

Bruce character: [Off-screen] I can give him a hand here.

Eric Idle: Oi, oi, stop that Bruce. You, oi. [Produces a football referees' red card] Straight off, off. Go on. Off. Fuck off. [A loud bleep was then heard]

At 20:55, the presenter of the programme Dara O'Briain said the following:

One thing I must explain, viewers at home missed certain parts of the show. And this I have to explain, Gold would like to explain, was not their choice. In particular, it was these two later verses of the penis song, the second was about bottoms and the third about lady gardens, that's the most polite way I can put this. This is all regarded by Ofcom as being a little bit too much at 7:46 in the evening. Equally some bad language was bleeped. Gold obviously want to apologise for that, being the policy they have to make because of Ofcom. By the way, one naughty swearword, by the way, did slip through. So I apologise for that. And I want my face to indicate a level of professional sincerity as I read those words off the autocue. I cannot apologise enough.

Licensee UKTV said it had decided to put in place a three minute delay on the live feed of the performances from the venue to enable its compliance team to bleep the language where necessary. It said the scripted language was:

Successfully bleeped throughout Part 1 but unfortunately an unscripted fuck was not successfully bleeped...the bleep [came] in fractionally too late. This was the result of human error...¦for which we sincerely apologise.

The Licensee said its compliance team then: instructed host Dara O'Briain to apologise to viewers for the missed language.

Ofcom Decision

Rule 1.14 states that the most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed. Ofcom research on offensive language1 clearly notes that the word fuck and other variations of this word are considered by audiences to be among the most offensive language, particularly when used in an aggressive manner.

The broadcast of the word fuck in this programme around 19:24 was therefore a clear example of the most offensive language being broadcast before the watershed.

However, Ofcom took into account that the Licensee had chosen to take measures before the programme to minimise the risk of offensive language being broadcast by delaying the on-air feed, that the use of fuck was not scripted, and that the host of the programme apologised on air after the incident. In light of these factors Ofcom considered the matter resolved.



Talented creator of fine words and unjustified censorship...

UK's chief TV and internet censor resigns

Link Here 3rd October 2014
The Ofcom Board today announced that Ed Richards will stand down as Chief Executive at the end of December 2014. He will continue to lead on all operational, financial, economic, competition and policy matters until that date.

Ed Richards said:

It has been a privilege to lead Ofcom during such an exciting and dynamic period in the evolution of the UK's communications sector.

It is never easy leaving a job that you enjoy greatly but I have always felt that once I had completed eight years as Chief Executive this would be the right time to move on.

Richards was a talented generator of fine words about 'light touch' or 'evidence based' regulation. But it was all just bollox. Ofcom have created a highly censorial environment...just because. Particularly for anything sexy, which is either banned or else shunted into totally uneconomic backwaters where it is almost impossible for adult companies to viably operate.

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