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2016: April-June

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Update: Choked with rage...

600 complaints about sex play on Big Brother

Link Here21st June 2016
Full story: Big Brother...Whinging about Channel 4's Big Brother
600 whinges about Channel 5's Big Brother have triggered an investigation by the TV censor Ofcom.

Big Brother, which is regularly one of UK television's most-complained-about shows, prompted another Ofcom inquiry after contestants Laura Carter and Marco Pierre White Jr were involved in scenes of sex play. Pierre was shown putting his hand down his fellow housemate's knickers, pulling up her top and asking her to choke him with a belt.

Ofcom said it had received 634 complaints about the scenes which were broadcast on the 9pm show, just after the watershed, on 12 June. A spokesperson said:

We're investigating whether sexual scenes in this episode of Big Brother exceeded generally accepted standards for its time of broadcast.



BBC Pride...

The first gay kiss on British television has been found in a forgotten archive

Link Here16th June 2016
The first lesbian kiss on British television is to be shown again for the first time in more than forty years, after a tape of the BBC play, Girl , was unearthed in a forgotten archive.

Girl, a BBC Two drama about lesbian love in the army, made headlines in 1974 after Alison Steadman and Myra Frances were shown locked in a passionate embrace.

Unfortunately the recording quality was not good, but the BBC has now digitised the film, and will make it available for download via the BBC Store.

Steadman said she had been quite nervous about taking the part. She recalled:

I thought my mum would be a bit embarrassed by comments from neighbours, but they took it well.

The film will form part of a collection chronicling gay milestones on the BBC, released to coincide with London's Pride festival. The Prejudice and Pride Collection is available on from Thursday 16th June.



Twats at the BBC...

The BBC Trust upholds a complaint about a light hearted use of the word 'twat' before the watershed

Link Here13th June 2016

Don't Tell the Bride
BBC3,25 January 2016 (8.00pm): Finding by the Editorial Complaints Unit

In an exchange between the bride and her elder sister, the word twat was used. A viewer complained that this was inappropriate before the watershed, and should at least have been preceded by a warning.

Outcome: Complaint Upheld

Although not among the terms characterised by the Editorial Guidelines as the strongest language (which must not be used on television before the watershed), the word twat is unusual in having an innocent meaning for some viewers but an obscene meaning for others. On this occasion it was used in an affectionate context and without any sense of aggression, but this was not sufficient to mitigate the offence it is capable of causing to a segment of the audience.

The finding was widely discussed and debated by senior editorial figures in BBC Television and has been noted.



Extract Puck Censorship!...

BBC censors Shakespeare over politically correct concerns that being willing to die for love could be a suicide 'trigger'

Link Here7th June 2016

Russell T Davies revealed this week that he removed one of Helena's lines from his version of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream because he considers it irresponsible to transmit today.

Davies cut a declaration from Helena that she would be willing to die for love, in case, he said, it romanticised the idea of suicide.  He told the Hay literary festival:

I'm deliberately hoping to get young girls watching this and I will not transmit lines in which women are so much in love that they are threatening to commit suicide.

He also removed a line in which Helena asked a man to treat me as your spaniel ; it is not known if this was on the grounds of misogyny or animal rights.

See the article from for additional examples of BBC censorship including changing the character name Titty to Tatty in Swallows and Amazons



Updated: Taking Fright...

Ofcom announces investigations of two horror films

Link Here16th May 2016
The TV censor Ofcom has announced the 'investigation' of two horror films for supposedly breaching TV censorship rules for recent broadcasts.

Ofcom lists the titles without further information for investigations into:

  • I Spit on Your Grave on the Horror Channel in March (not sure whether it was the original of the remake, but both have been censored by films censors in the past).
  • Stage Fright on Sky Premiere in March, presumably the 2014 Canadian musical adaptation by Lucky McKee and Chris Siv

Update: Remake

12th May 2016. Thanks to Jon

The film that is being complained about is the cut UK/ R rated version of the Remake of I Spit on Your Grave . The follow up sequel is also being shown at the same time so could be involved.

Jon also notes that Human Centipede 2 is also being shown, presumably in its cut censor approved form, nevertheless enough to give Ofcom kittens.

Update: Not quite BBFC approved

16th May 2016. See article from is pointing out that a January showing of I Spit on Your Grave wasn't actually a BBFC approved version. The website concludes that the Horror Channel did its own edit which although cut, was stronger than the BBFC version.



Who needs sex toys when you have cucumbers?...

Katy Price appearing on Loose Women 'outrages' 15 viewers

Link Here12th May 2016

A few Loose Women viewers were 'outraged' with Katie's Price's input on segment about sex tips.

During a discussion about Gwyneth Paltrow's erotic do's and don'ts, Katie was forced to leave after confessing to owning a crystal-encrusted sex toy.

When discussing Gwyneth's must-have toys, which included a 24-karat gold dildo, Katie 'shocked' her fellow panellists: She declared:

Why would you when you've got the real thing?

You've got vegetables and that in the fridge.

Ofcom has now received 15 complaints related to sexual references and 10 people complained to ITV.



Rule 3.3 No blaspheming...

Ofcom extends TV censorship rules to ban insults of religion

Link Here9th May 2016
Ofcom have issued the following announcement in the latest complaints bulletin

On 4 May 2016 Ofcom published changes to the rules in Section Three of the Broadcasting Code, and accompanying guidance, to ensure they are as clear as possible for broadcasters.

We publicly consulted on our proposals to revise Section Three of the Code in January 2016.

Section Three relates to crime. It prohibits the broadcast of material likely to encourage or to incite the commission of crime, or to lead to disorder. It also helps to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in services of harmful and/or offensive material. Ofcom has updated the title of the Section from Crime to Crime, Disorder, Hatred and Abuse and introduced two additional rules which apply to content containing hate speech and abusive or derogatory treatment.

Presumably the new rules are:

Section Three: Crime, Disorder, Hatred and Abuse

Hatred and Abuse

3.2 Material which contains hate speech must not be included in television and radio programmes except where it is justified by the context.

3.3 Material which contains abusive or derogatory treatment of individuals, groups, religions or communities, must not be included in television and radio services except where it is justified by the context. (See also Rule 4.2).

I bet some religious people will be celebrating, not quite realising that it will be themselves who will get caught out by the new rules when they inevitably insult other religions.

Any by way of examples, the latest Complaints Bulletin chastises:

  • the islamic channel Noor TV for spreading hatred of jews.
  • the christian channel SonLife Broadcasting Network for insulting muslims



Well It Made Me Laugh...

BBC responds to complaints about jokes about the Queen

Link Here23rd April 2016

A few Radio 4 listeners have complained about a BBC radio comedy which mocked the Queen's sex life on her 90th birthday.

Comic Russell Kane's gag about Her Majesty's private anatomy on the Radio 4 panel show Don't Make Me Laugh wound up a few listeners. There were also jokes about the monarch using the toilet.

Host David Baddiel later apologised for the jokes and blamed the BBC for rescheduling it to go out on the Queen's birthday. He said the pre-recorded comedy had been lined up for next week, but bungling schedulers moved it forward to the day the Queen celebrated her 90th birthday.

One round of the panel game, broadcast at 6.30pm challenged guest comics to speak on the subject: There's nothing funny about the fact the Queen must have had sex at least four times. Kane said:

For me this is just a quadruple representation of why inherited power is so dangerous.

Four times we have to think of republicanism as we imagine four children emerging from Her Majesty's vulva.

The Queen having had sex at least four times is no laughing matter whatsoever because we're forced to imagine Prince Philip and his work in the creation of those children.

Around 120 people had complained to the BBC who published an official response:

While BBC Radio 4 comedy is a broad church and often pushes boundaries, we would like to apologise for this broadcast of Don't Make Me Laugh. We never intended for the scheduling of the programme to coincide with The Queen's birthday and are sorry for the offence caused by its timing and content.



Daytime PIN hassle...

Ofcom initiates a short consultation on allowing a wider availability of 15 rated content on daytime TV which can be delivered with a mandatory PIN facility

Link Here12th April 2016

Ofcom is considering whether to update rules in the Broadcasting Code (“the Code”) relating to the protection of children. Specifically, Ofcom is considering whether broadcasters should be allowed to show a wider variety of content more suitable for adults before the watershed, provided that a mandatory PIN protection system is in place.

Through this Call for Inputs we are seeking the views of industry and consumers on these potential changes to the rules. We will take responses into account before publishing any proposals for changes to the Code later this year.

Ofcom invites written comments on the questions raised in this consultation, to be submitted to Ofcom by 5pm on 21 April 2016 . Ofcom strongly prefers to receive responses in electronic format. This web form will allow you to indicate your data protection preferences and send your views to the team responsible for this consultation.

  • Question 1: To what extent do you think allowing a wider range of post-watershed content to be shown during the daytime behind a mandatory PIN would benefit audiences? :

  • Question 2: Are there likely to be any negative impacts on the user experience for viewers accessing channels or programmes where the content is restricted behind a mandatory PIN? For example, if a viewer had to enter a mandatory PIN every time they change between a restricted channel or programme, or if a viewer is unable to update to a new PIN system?:

  • Question 3: If you are a broadcaster, would you be likely to change your output following any revision to Ofcom's rules to allow post-watershed content to be broadcast pre-watershed behind a mandatory PIN, and what genre of material might you wish to broadcast during the daytime as a result? :

  • Question 4: What, if any, are the technological difficulties associated with showing post-watershed content during the daytime behind a mandatory daytime PIN? What impact would these technological difficulties have on affected broadcasters (please provide evidence or estimates)? How might these technological difficulties be overcome?:

  • Question 5: Are there practical or cost issues with consistent implementation of PIN protection across a variety of set-top-boxes or receivers?:

  • Question 6: How effective is mandatory restricted access in providing protection to children from unsuitable broadcast content? Do you think allowing a wider range of post-watershed content to be shown in the daytime behind a mandatory PIN still offers sufficiently robust protection for children?:

  • Question 7: Do you think allowing a wider range of post-watershed content to be shown in the daytime behind a mandatory PIN could have an adverse impact on the 21:00 watershed or dilute its effectiveness for audiences?:

  • Question 8: If Ofcom were to amend the Code to allow a wider range of post-watershed content to be shown in the daytime behind a mandatory PIN, are there any particular obligations that should be placed on broadcasters providing content behind mandatory PIN during the daytime (e.g. additional information to parents and carers)?:

  • Question 9: What effect might any revision of the Code to allow a wider range of post-watershed content to be shown in the daytime behind a mandatory PIN have on competition between broadcast services, and also between linear broadcast and on-demand services? :

  • Question 10: Are there any other issues, factors or information you think should be considered as part of our review on mandatory restricted PIN access?:



Commented: Easter bunnies with fangs...

A few whingers take to twitter to complain about a TV showing of Watership Down brutally destroying their safe space warren

Link Here2nd April 2016
Watership Down has a place in censorship history as one of the most complained about classification decision. It is U rated, but only just. The bunny rabbits are distinctly more violent than perhaps you would expect fictional bunny rabbits to be.

Channel 5 decided to air the 1978 animated film on Easter Sunday afternoon, when lots of chocolate-filled kids were watching.

And inevitably a few whingers took to twitter to complain, eg:

Who the hell thought it a good idea to put Watership Down on Easter Sunday? 'Hey kids let's watch dead Easter bunnies!'

Watership Down: traumatising children since 1978 #Channel5 #EasterSundayProblems

Based on Richard Adams' novel, Watership Down follows a group of rabbits as they escape the brutal destruction of their warren and attempt to begin a new life. The story has been described as an allegory of the struggle between the individual and society, tyranny and liberation and reason and emotion.

Not everyone had an angry reaction to its Easter broadcast, with many praising Channel 5 for showing the film and criticising parents for being too protective of their children, eg:

Watership Down is one of the finest of children's books & a good film. Far better for developing kids than chocolate bunnies.

Update: Would now be a PG

2nd April 2016. See article from

David Austin, the new head of the BBFC commented that Watership Down would be classified PG were it released today. He added the film also contains language that would be unacceptable in a film rated U under 2016 criteria:

Standards were different then. The film has been a U for 38 years, but if it came in tomorrow it would not be.

For it to receive a different rating, however, it would have to be re-submitted to the BBFC - something Austin said would only happen if the title was acquired by a new distributor who wished to re-release it.

Offsite Comment: Of course kids should watch Watership Down

2nd April 2016. See  article from by Guy Burchall

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