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A UK TV reference guide for walking on PC eggshells...

Ofcom categorise words according to their levels of 'offensiveness'

Link Here30th September 2016

Today's viewers and listeners are less tolerant than ever before of discriminatory or racist language, Ofcom research claims.

People also say they are more likely to tolerate swearing on TV and radio provided it reflects real world situations and is set in the 'right' context.

The findings are from new research on people's attitudes towards potentially offensive language and gestures in broadcasting, the biggest study of its kind carried out by Ofcom.

The research used a mixture of focus groups, in-depth interviews, online surveys and discussions involving people from around the UK. It looked at 144 words, exploring what people were likely to find unacceptable, and the reasons why certain words were judged to be offensive.

For the first time the research also included six offensive physical gestures and included some newer and more obscure language than when Ofcom last examined this area in 2010.

The research found that viewers and listeners take into account context, such as the tone, delivery and time of broadcast, when assessing whether offensive language is acceptable. People says they are more likely to tolerate some swearing if it reflects what they would expect to see in real world situations.

Clear racist and discriminatory language was the most unacceptable overall. Such words were viewed as derogatory, discriminatory and insulting. Many were concerned about them being used at any time, unless they were particularly justified by the context. Many said that discriminatory and racist words were harder hitting, carrying more emotional impact than general swear words.

Sexual terms were seen in a similar way to the stronger general swear words. They were viewed as distasteful and often unnecessary, but people said they found them more acceptable if used after the watershed, when they would be more prepared.

Occasional, accidental strong language before 9pm was seen as more acceptable on live TV and radio than in pre-recorded material. People agreed it was sometimes hard for broadcasters to control live programmes, but they were less accepting if they felt broadcasters had acted carelessly or deliberately.

Swearing substitutes, and the bleeping-out of offensive language, were viewed as less acceptable when used frequently. The research found that most people would often understand which word was being substituted, and so the effect was similar to using the actual word being used, especially if it was repeated.

Tony Close, Ofcom's Director of Content Standards Licensing and Enforcement, said:

We set and enforce rules to protect viewers and listeners from potentially harmful and offensive content on TV and radio. To do this, it's essential that we keep up to date with what people find offensive, and what they expect of broadcasters.

These findings will help us strike a balance between protecting audiences from unjustified offence, especially before the watershed, and allowing broadcasters to reflect the real world.

...And lets not forget that oh so important sound bite from Mediawatch-UK. Sam Burnett, of the morality campaign group said:

Ofcom is remarkably out of touch with the viewing public. This is just the latest signal of the declining standards on our screens.



Harry Hill begs Ofcom's pardon for an 8 year old Burp...

Flippant mockery of a trans documentary was acceptable 8 years ago but now has to be censored

Link Here30th September 2016

Harry Hill's TV Burp
Dave, 23 May 2016, 16:00

Dave is a television channel aimed at a predominantly male adult audience.

A viewer alerted Ofcom to an episode of Harry Hill's TV Burp including an item which referred to a Channel 4 documentary entitled The Pregnant Man . The documentary was about Thomas Beatie, a transgender male who was able to conceive and carry a baby because he had chosen to retain his female reproductive organs. The item intercut clips of the Channel 4 documentary with content featuring the comedian Harry Hill as he sat behind a desk in the studio and commented on the various clips.

The viewer considered that the item contained references which were offensive and discriminatory towards the transgender community.

The item started with  brief clip of the documentary including footage of Thomas Beatie and his wife, Nancy, was then broadcast, with the following voice-over from the original Channel 4 documentary: For years, he's been a devoted husband to his wife, so much so that when Nancy discovered she was unable to conceive, Thomas came up with a novel solution . [Images of a pregnant Thomas Beatie were shown]. He got pregnant . [This was immediately followed by laughter from Harry Hill's studio audience]... And continued in pretty much the same vane.

Ofcom considered Rule 2.3 of the Code:

In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context...Such material may include, but is not limited to...humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of...gender...). Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.

The Licensee said it had given due consideration to this item prior to its broadcast, and had removed one minute of potentially offensive material from it, because it did stray away from mocking the documentary as a whole to mocking Thomas Beatie personally . UKTV argued that as a result of the edit, any potential offence had been sufficiently contextualised.

The Licensee also referred to the fact this episode of Harry Hill's TV Burp was originally broadcast on ITV in December 2008 and had been investigated by Ofcom following complaints about the programme. Noting that Ofcom had not upheld these complaints, UKTV said that this does suggest that at the time neither the ITV audience nor Ofcom considered Harry's review of The Pregnant Man to be offensive or in breach of the Code .

Nonetheless, the Licensee acknowledged that public awareness of, and attitudes towards trans issues have changed since the episode was originally recorded in 2008. The Licensee therefore asked that Ofcom acknowledge that it had ruled on this episode in February2 2009 and did not find it in breach . It added that it felt that this is a pertinent point as it demonstrates not only that audience attitudes shifted, but those of the regulator have altered too

In conclusion, UKTV said that given the change in public attitudes to trans issues, it had therefore re-edited this episode of Harry Hill's TV Burp to remove this item entirely from any future broadcast.

Ofcom Decision: Resolved

Given all the above, we did not agree with UKTV's argument that Thomas Beatie and his wife were not the object of Harry Hill's mockery. We considered on the contrary that the overall portrayal of Mr Beatie was significantly discriminatory towards him and to transgender people generally. This was because it presented, over a relatively prolonged sequence, Mr Beatie's transition as an object of mockery and humour, and could have been understood by some viewers as making a clear association between Mr Beatie and a Victorian freak show . We therefore considered that the material was clearly capable of causing offence.

Ofcom was of the view that Harry Hill's comments about Thomas Beatie had the potential to cause considerable offence, particularly to transgender people but also to viewers in general. Ofcom noted that the Licensee said it took steps to edit the item before transmission in an effort to limit the potential for offence (because it could have caused offence to the transgender community as it did stray from mocking the sensational titles of Channel 4 documentaries to mocking Mr Beatie personally ). UKTV also acknowledged the change of public awareness and attitudes to trans issues since the original programme was first recorded and broadcast in 2008. We acknowledged that these steps taken by the Licensee helped to mitigate the offence to some extent. However, we considered that, even in its edited version, the item still had the potential to cause considerable offence in particular to the transgender community but also to the audience more widely.

Taking all the elements above into account, we were of the view that the offensive material would have exceeded the audience's likely expectations and was not justified by the context. We concluded that the material was therefore in breach of Rule 2.3 of the Code.

However, Ofcom noted that the Licensee: did take steps to edit the item before transmission; acknowledged the change of public awareness and attitudes to trans issues since the original programme was recorded and broadcast in 2008; and, had therefore edited out this item completely from this episode going forward so the item would not be broadcast again by UKTV.

In light of these steps taken by UKTV, Ofcom's Decision was to consider the matter resolved.



Update: Double Censorship...

Horror Channel put on final warning for showing a version of I Spit On Your Grave without all of the BBFC censor cuts

Link Here13th September 2016
Full story: I Spit on Your Grave...Remake enjoys some good publicity
This is a fine example of double TV censorship. Ofcom demand that if a film has been subject to censorship then only a BBFC approved version can be shown. But the system is doubly biased in favour of censorship. Ofcom do not accept the converse, that a film approved by the BBFC is therefore suitable showing on TV (at the appropriate hour). Ofcom censorship rules still apply. So broadcasters effectively have to submit their films for both BBFC and Ofcom censorship.

Now Ofcom have put the Horror Channel on final notice for showing a version of the 2010 remake of I Spit On Your Grave that did not include all of the 17 cuts demanded by the BBFC. The Ofcom report is as follows:

Horror Channel is available free to air on cable, satellite and digital terrestrial platforms. The licence for the service is held by CBS AMC Networks.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to a broadcast of the film I Spit on Your Grave – a 2010 remake of the 1978 film of the same name. Both films chronicle the sexual torture and subsequent revenge of the principal character Jennifer Hills. The complainant alleged that the version of the film broadcast on Horror Channel contained material that the British Board of Film Classification (“the BBFC”) had required to be cut before the film’s release in the UK.

The BBFC guidelines1 list “material which makes sexual or sadistic violence look normal, appealing, or arousing” as an example of the type of content that may be cut as a condition of classification. The BBFC confirmed to Ofcom that, prior the film’s release in the UK, the BBFC had required 17 cuts to the version of the film submitted by the distributor before it awarded the film an ‘18’ certificate. The BBFC said that cuts were made “in order to remove potentially harmful material (in this case, shots of nudity that tend to eroticise sexual violence and shots of humiliation that tend to endorse sexual violence by encouraging viewer complicity in sexual humiliation and rape)”.

At Ofcom’s request, the BBFC compared the BBFC’s 18-rated version and the version broadcast on Horror Channel. The BBFC confirmed that the version broadcast on Horror Channel was a combination of the distributor’s and the BBFC ‘18’ rated versions because some of the shots that it required to be cut for the film to have been awarded an ‘18’ certificate were still present either wholly or partially in the version broadcast on Horror Channel.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.22:

No film refused classification by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) may be broadcast unless it has subsequently been classified or the BBFC has confirmed that it would not be rejected according to the standards currently operating. Also, no film cut as a condition of the classification by the BBFC may be transmitted in a version which includes the cut material unless:

  • the BBFC has confirmed that the material was cut to allow the film to pass at a lower category; or

  • the BBFC has confirmed that the film would not be subject to compulsory cuts according to the standards currently operating.

Rule 2.1:

Generally accepted standards must be applied to contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of harmful and/or offensive material.

The Licensee said the BBFC confirmed that the ‘18’ classification of the uncut version of the film related to its UK “theatrical release”.
With regard to Rule 1.22, AMC said that it had acquired the “theatrical release” version of the film from its distributor, which the Licensee “believe[d] complied with rule 1.22 prior to scheduling the film”. It said when initially viewing the content for compliance purposes, it had noted the presence of a “slate prior to the content indicating it as the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) R rated version of the film, where the MPAA R rating is defined as ‘Restricted’”. The Licensee confirmed that “no further cuts were made to this content as, following compliance viewing, AMC believed the content complied with the requirements of the Ofcom code”.

AMC said its compliance process in this case included referring to the BBFC website to confirm whether the content had previously been awarded a certificate. It said that in the case of I Spit on Your Grave, the Licensee “found there to be two versions submitted to the BBFC and subsequently awarded an 18 certificate in 2010, one which had been cut by 43 seconds (duration [107 minutes 45 seconds]) and one passed as 18 uncut (duration [103 minutes 24 seconds])”. AMC said by contrast that the MPAA R rated “theatrical release” version of the film which had been broadcast had a duration of 101 minutes and 23 seconds, which was therefore shorter than the two versions described on the BBFC website.

The Licensee said that having been made aware by Ofcom that it had broadcast a version that had not been certified by the BBFC, it submitted this version to the BBFC for classification. AMC said the BBFC required six cuts to this version in order for it to be given an ‘18’ classification.

Ofcom Decision: Breech of ruler 1.22 and 2.1

Rule 1.22

We took into account that the Licensee’s confirmation that “no further cuts were made to this content as, following compliance viewing, AMC believed the content complied with the requirements of the Ofcom code”. We recognised that AMC’s compliance process included viewing the content in full prior to airing. However, we were concerned that the Licensee appeared in part to have based its decision to broadcast this version on the certification rating that had been awarded by an overseas organisation with a different set of standards to the UK’s film classification body. Moreover, particularly given the nature of the film in this case, we were concerned that the Licensee considered overall it had applied a sufficiently robust process to ensure compliance with Rule 1.22.

The broadcast of this material clearly breached Rule 1.22 of the Code.

Rule 2.1

Ofcom next considered whether adequate protection from the inclusion of this potentially harmful material was provided for members of the public. In this case the film was preceded by the following pre-broadcast warning by a continuity announcer:

“Now for a programme with a warning that comes in threes: strong language, violence and scenes of a sexual nature”.

This was followed by an on-screen slate which said:

“The following programme contains scenes which some viewers may find disturbing”.

However, bearing in mind that the version of the film broadcast contained a number of shots which the BBFC had specifically required to be cut as a condition of the award of an ‘18’ certificate, we did not consider that these warnings were sufficient to alert viewers to the potential harmful content within this film. Ofcom therefore considered that the Licensee had failed to provide adequate protection to viewers from potentially harmful material and had consequently not applied generally accepted standards. Accordingly, the material also breached Rule 2.1 of the Code.

Ofcom is concerned about the nature of these breaches and the adequacy of AMC’s compliance processes and therefore puts the Licensee on notice that further compliance failures in this area may result in the imposition of a statutory sanction. Furthermore, we are requesting that the Licensee attends a meeting to discuss the issues raised in this case.



Long running drama...

Continued 'outrage' at gay kiss on Coronation Street

Link Here9th September 2016
Full story: Coronation Street...Complaints and whinges
Another gay kiss on Coronation Street has wound up a few whingers.

145 people have complained about the latest kiss between Billy and Todd, leaving many in the LGBT community wondering what decade we'd time traveled back to.

A spokesperson from TV censor Ofcom told GayTimes that they had received 145 complaints about this episode of Coronation Street on ITV. And that they Will assess these complaints before we decide whether to investigate or not, [before promptly consigning them to the waste paper bin].

Update: And as expected the complaints were rapidly binned

9th September 2016.  See  article from

After an organised complaints campaign, 170 people filed a complaint with TV censor Ofcom, claiming the scenes were inappropriate to air before the watershed

But an Ofcom spokesperson has now said:

We considered a number of complaints objecting to two male characters kissing in this episode, but won't be investigating.

Our rules do not discriminate between scenes involving opposite sex and same sex couples.



Whinges about Crimewatch introducing cliffhanger double episodes...

And drop by next week to see what even sillier things people find to complain about

Link Here 8th September 2016
The BBC has been accused of turning Crimewatch into a soap opera , after leaving viewers guessing over what happened in a historic murder investigation.

The first episode of the revamped series retold the case of Melanie Road, who was raped and killed in 1984 at the age of 17. But viewers complained that the episode ended on a disgraceful cliffhanger , as they were told to tune in next week to see how the case concluded.

The new series of Crimewatch hosted by Jeremy Vine and Tina Daheley will be shown weekly with a new segment on How They Caught various criminals, however some viewers were angry over the soap opera-style cliff hanger following the first episode

A spokesman for morality campaigners, MediaWatch-UK said:

Crimewatch has long provided a valuable service in raising awareness of unsolved crimes, but the BBC is treading a dangerous line between being informative and sensationalist.

The Corporation will undermine its good work by turning tragedy into cliffhanger entertainment.

The BBC defended the format, saying it was necessary to tell the story over two weeks as it involved decades of police investigation.



Update: Emmerdale left reeling from viewer complaints...

More trivial complaints about trivial jokes on TV soaps

Link Here2nd September 2016

  They said what?

A few Emmerdale viewers were 'outraged' after a trivial joke referring to Hemiplegia, a type of Cerebral Palsy.

The scene in question saw the characters Dan Spencer and Nicola King' drink several bottles of wine, while they giggled at each other's intoxicated states.  Nicola then quipped:

You can't go around like that, all cocked. You look like you've got that, what is it? Himi, Hemi, Hemiplegia?

The Mirror reports that some viewers were so offended they vowed to boycott the show and labelled the joke shameful .

An Emmerdale spokesperson responded:

The character Nicola has hemiplegia, or partial paralysis affecting one side of her body. She is a character well-known for her acerbic humour and it is in keeping with her personality to make light of her own condition in this way. We apologise if anyone found the line offensive.

An Ofcom spokesman told Mirror Online:

We have received 19 complaints about the episode, and will assess these before deciding whether or not to investigate.




Coronation Street's bad hair day...

278 complaints about a joke about roots

Link Here1st September 2016
Full story: Coronation Street...Complaints and whinges
Coronation Street aired a scene where character Eva Price made a trivial pun referencing Alex Haley's celebrated book, Roots .

In the scene where she's visiting a hair salon, the character says:

I have more roots than Kunta Kinte.

No idea who that is, by the way, just something my mum used to say.

Kunta Kinte is a central character from the Alex Haley novel.

The show suffered a bit of a twitterstorm with twitters claiming the comment to be offensive.

One viewer asked:

What was Coronation Street on when the writers dropped that roots joke?

Another said:

I am not going 2 lie I am very disheartened by the #KuntaKentie remark It will NEVER be ok to make jokes about slavery EVER.

A spokesman for TV censor Ofcom said that 278 complaints had been received about Coronation Street which will no doubt be promptly binned.

Update: Unbelievably Ofcom have decided to investigate the pun about 'Roots'

30th September 2016. See  article [pdf] from



Violence in Games of Thrones debated at the Edinburgh Festival...

Its massive popularity must surely rile the politically correct

Link Here 28th August 2016
Politically correct accusations that Game of Thrones uses rape and violence against women as character development have been dismissed as nonsense by the head of content at broadcaster Sky.

Gary Davey, managing director of content at the channels was dscussing depictions of sex and violence in a debate between channel controllers at the Edinburgh international TV festival.

Davey noted that the violence in fantasy drama Game of Thrones, which airs on Sky Atlantic in the UK, applies just as much to male characters. He said:

Part of the issue is context... Sky Atlantic is a good example, people know what to expect. It's challenging content, whether it's story structure or indeed the sex and violence, the context matters.

It's interesting that this year with season six of Game of Thrones, which was very intense, out of the seven million households that watched, we had three complaints.

Questioned specifically about the rape of the character Sansa Stark on her wedding night, Davey denied it was used as character development.

I think that is nonsense. I think that is there is an awful lot of violence to men. For anyone who has watched the show, it can be a very violent show. I don't think the violence to women is particularly highlighted, it's just part of the story. The rape happens, it's party of the story, it was in the book. We are now past the book and the story is evolving,

Davey also denied there were plans to move away from violent scenes and said:

Our audience knows what to expect on Sky Atlantic and we have sophisticated pin protection.



Fear the Censor...

ASA upholds complaint about the scheduling of an advert for Fear the Walking Dead during the film Rango

Link Here24th August 2016

A TV ad for Amazon Prime promoting a horror drama series called Fear the Walking Dead, broadcast on Channel Four on Sunday 10 April during the film Rango at 5.35pm and 6.40pm.

The ad included a voice-over taken from the drama, which stated, Good morning Los Angeles. Hope you got your flu shot. Reports that a strange virus is going around. If you're not feeling well go home and take care of yourself.

The ad showed scenes taken from the drama series, which included posters of a missing woman, a shadowed figure, an unwell man falling down, people running in distress, police and ambulance sirens, people in bio-hazard suits and a frightened woman in a plantation field holding onto a fence. During these scenes, one of the female characters from the drama stated, What the hell is happening?

The ad also featured on-screen text that stated EVERY HORROR ... HAS A BEGINNING FEAR THE WALKING DEAD SEASON 1 FEAR BEGINS HERE ... . Towards the end of the ad was a male voice-over that stated, Fear the walking dead season one. Watch and download with Amazon Prime and take the fear with you.

Three complainants, one of whom reported that their child was distressed by the ad, objected that it had been inappropriately scheduled during a children's film.

ASA Assessment Complaint Upheld

The ASA understood that the ad complained about was for a horror drama series based on a zombie apocalypse. It featured a voice-over that referred repeatedly to the title of the programme and scenes of social disorder and people in distress. The sound effects and music became louder and more intense throughout the ad.

We considered that the overall content of the ad created a build-up of suspense that could be distressing to younger children, but that would not be unsuitable for older children to see. The ad therefore needed to be sensitively scheduled, as required by the BCAP Code.

The ad had been cleared by Clearcast with no timing restriction that prevented it from being shown in or around programmes made for, or specifically targeted at, children. They had, however, applied a code that advised broadcasters that they might want to view the ad to determine its acceptability for transmission in programmes appealing to children under 9 years of age. We noted that Channel 4 stated that their internal system should have automatically flagged up the presentation code and that a member of staff would then have manually applied the appropriate timing restriction. We acknowledged that Channel 4 was now taking steps to improve how they applied timing restrictions and such advice in their future scheduling of ads.

However, broadcasters had a general responsibility to ensure that they exercised responsible judgement on the scheduling of ads. Also they should operate internal systems capable of identifying and avoiding unsuitable juxtapositions between advertising material and programmes, especially those that could distress or offend viewers.

We noted that the ad was shown during an animated film that would have strong appeal to young children. Furthermore, it was scheduled on a Sunday afternoon, which we considered was likely to be seen as family viewing time. Viewers would have expected ads to be scheduled with the family audience in mind and were unlikely to expect to see ads that would be frightening to younger children. The BARB data showed that children made up 218,000 of the 927,000 viewers and that the majority (150,000) were between 4 and 9 years of age. As outlined above, we considered that the ad could be distressing to younger children and concluded that it had been inappropriately scheduled.

We told Channel Four Television Corporation to ensure that ads which were suitable for older children, but could distress younger children, were sensitively scheduled in future



'Did you sleep with the milkman?'...

TV censor puts the kibosh on Jeremy Kyle's daytime chat show from poking around in people's sex lives

Link Here23rd August 2016

The Jeremy Kyle Show ITV
27 March 2016, 11:25

The Jeremy Kyle Show is a popular daytime talk show broadcast on ITV, hosted by Jeremy Kyle, in which members of the public discuss relationship problems in a frank and often confrontational manner in front of a studio audience.

Ofcom was alerted by a complainant to an episode, broadcast on Easter Sunday1 morning, which, in the complainant’s view, featured inappropriate content for broadcast at that time.

The 60-minute episode included three separate items. The first item lasted for approximately the first 36 minutes of the programme, and centred on an individual called Sarah, her ex-friend, Kat, and Sarah’s partner, Carlos. The item also focused on the paternity of Kat’s baby and revealed the results of DNA tests involving three men (Carlos, Kat’s ex-partner David, and Luke, another man with whom Kat had had sex) one of whom might be the father of Kat’s child.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.3 of the Code:

Children must ... be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of rule 13

In our view, taken as a whole, the cumulative effect of: various sexual themes; examples of violent confrontations between contributors; and the significant number of examples of the sound being dipped to mask offensive language, produced content that was unsuitable for children. We have set out our reasons for this view below.

There were a number of sexual references from the very outset of the programme:

  • the first item was introduced by the following caption: “Did you sleep with my boyfriend and is he your baby’s dad?”;
  • a clip from a previous episode was broadcast in which Jeremy Kyle asked Kat: “Have you had sex with Luke? ...Have you had sex with Carlos?...Have you had sex with David?”.
  • Jeremy Kyle was shown asking Sarah if her partner Carlos had had sex with Kat. Sarah said Carlos could not remember and Jeremy Kyle replied: “He can’t remember having sex? How can you not remember?... You can’t remember having sex? [Addressing the audience] Can anybody in this audience, have you ever forgotten about having sex?”; and
  • Sarah referred to Kat smelling of “fish” and “raw sex” and having “a really bad smelly fishy smell”.
  • Sarah described watching Kat having sex, during which the bed made a “creaking noise” (at which point Jeremy Kyle imitated the sound of a creaking bed), and Sarah said she had heard “orgasm noises”. At this point Jeremy Kyle asked one of the programme’s security guards “do you know your average orgasm noise for a woman? I’ve got to ask you this, they’ll probably cut it out, have you got an orgasm face?”.

We acknowledged ITV’s argument that “the discussion of sexual matters in the editorial context of the attempted resolution of relationship issues is a very regular feature of the show”. However, we did not agree with the Licensee that the sexual references were “in no way a detailed or explicit description of sexual behaviour”. In our view, at various times the language and actions used by Jeremy Kyle and his guests gave a level of detail descriptive of sexual behaviour which would be unsuitable for children. We did not consider that the use of humour by Jeremy Kyle would have materially lessened the unsuitability of the sexual references to any children in the audience. Rather, at times we considered Jeremy Kyle underlined the detail in the discussion of sexual themes, for example, by imitating the creaking noises of a bed when referring to a couple having sex, and also asking one of the programme’s security guards whether he knew the “average orgasm noise for a woman” and whether the security guard had “an orgasm face”.

Given all the above we did not agree with ITV’s argument that taken together the sexual references were “suitably limited in terms of explicitness”. We took the view that the cumulative effect of all the above references throughout the episode rendered the material unsuitable for children.

Breach of Rule 1.3



Hunting for redress...

BBC Trust investigates presenter who refered to the hunting and shooting lobby as the 'nasty brigade'

Link Here9th August 2016
TV presenter Chris Packham is being investigated by the BBC Trust after describing those involved in hunting and shooting as the nasty brigade .

The Springwatch host made the comments in an article in last October's edition of BBC Wildlife magazine.

The Countryside Alliance complained that he was breaking rules by using his position to spread propaganda . Chief executive Tim Bonner said:

It is bad enough that a BBC magazine should print such blatant political propaganda, but worse that it comes from the pen of one of its high-profile employees.

Packham responded by accusing his critics of trying to neutralise him and others who oppose grouse shooting. In the monthly column, the naturalist wrote that conservation groups were hamstrung by outdated liaisons with the 'nasty brigade' and can't risk upsetting old friends in the rural and shooting communities.

A spokesman for the BBC Trust confirmed an investigation was launched in July  He said:

The editorial standards committee considered a complaint in July and we expect to publish a decision in September.

Update: Cleared

26th December. See  article from

The BBC Trust has has cleared a column in BBC Wildlife magazine by presenter Chris Packham that the Countryside Alliance claimed breached corporation guidelines on bias.

In his monthly column in the BBC magazine, the Springwatch host said that some wildlife charities were hamstrung by outdated liaisons with the 'nasty brigade' and can't risk upsetting old friends .  The column specifically named the RSPB and the Wildlife Trust for not speaking out against what he said was the UK government's attempt to make hunting foxes with packs of dogs in England and Wales ... easier.

Countryside Alliance chief executive Tim Bonner subsequently accused Packham of blatant political bias over the article and called on the BBC to sack him.  The Countryside Alliance lodged a complaint with the BBC which was considered by the trust's editorial standards committee.

In its ruling the trust said Packham was a freelancer and did not count as staff or a regular BBC presenter or reporter, nor was he working in news or current affairs, and thus was not bound by strict rules against expressing opinions on public policy issues.

It also said the piece had been clearly labelled as opinion, that the publication's new editor would not have used the term nasty brigade and that both the organisations named by Packham had been given the right to reply prior to publication.



Updated: 'This has to be the worst programme ever shown on television'...

The Daily Mail lays into Channel 4's Naked Attraction, but it inevitably proves popular amongst viewers

Link Here 1st August 2016
The Daily Mail runs with the headline: Can TV Sink Any Lower? and continues:

It claims to be progressive and truthful. In fact, Channel 4's new naked dating show is stupid and degrading voyeurism from what's meant to be a public service broadcaster.

From Big Brother to Sex Box, the world of TV is always looking for new lows. And this week Channel 4 succeeded.

Thousands of viewers complained on Twitter and media guardians branded Naked Attraction -- an uncensored nude dating show -- the worst programme ever shown on TV . Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has already received 24 complaints about nudity.

A spokesman for MediaWatch UK said:

This has to be the worst programme ever shown on television, there is nothing to recommend it.

Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust, accused Channel 4 of

Grossly irresponsible broadcasting and viewers labelled it creepy and a new low for British TV .

In each two-part programme, a pair of contestants get to appraise the six people vying in their birthday suits for approval. Each date stands stark naked in a box, while a screen is gradually raised to reveal them front and back bit by wobbly bit , as presenter Anna Richardson puts it.

The contestants then reject the dates one by one for purely physical reasons mainly attached to their genitalia. When only two potential dates are left, they parade naked while the contestant runs the rule over them, and while this doesn't quite happen literally, in Monday's opening programme one aspiring suitor was rejected because his penis was too big.

A spokesperson for Channel 4 responded to the whinges explaining:

This is a light-hearted and appropriately scheduled series which aims to demystify the rules of sexual attraction for the Tinder generation.

At the time of writing, 45 viewers had complained to the TV censor Ofcom who will no doubt reject them out of hand.

Despite the complaints, Naked Attraction has proved a hit with an average of 1.4 million viewers tuning to the series opener.

Naked Attraction airs Monday nights at 10PM on Channel 4.

Update: A few more complaints

28th July 2016. See  article from

Ofcom has now received 98 complaints in total, some about nudity and some about the programming being supposedly degrading to human relationships.

Update: Another sound bite

31st July 2016.  See  article from

Sam Burnett, of Mediawatch UK, said:

Never before have programme-makers shown such blatant contempt for basic standards, with record levels of explicit nudity serving no particular purpose. It's not even like the programme was any good to compensate.

Offsite Article: Naked Attraction unzipping the history of male full-frontal nudity on TV.

31st July 2016.  See  article from

The first penis was shown on British television in 1957 during an episode of the documentary series Out of Step. Presenter Daniel Farson visited a nudist colony and, perhaps unsurprisingly, some naked chap wandered past in the back ground. While this did make the front page of The Daily Herald, only one viewer called Television House -- and that was to praise the programme.

...Read the full article from

Update: Whingeing about catch-up TV

1st August 2016. See  article from

Moralist campaigners are now whingeing that the Channel 4 dating show, Naked Attraction , is available to view by youngsters anytime on its catch-up service. It can be easily accessed by children if parental controls haven't been set.

Norman Wells, director of Family Education Trust, whinged:

Although it's broadcast after 10pm, many young teenagers will be aware of it and will be able to access it online without too much difficulty.

Sexually explicit programmes like this one are sending out mixed messages to children and young people. On the one hand, parents and teachers are warning them about the dangers of sexting and encouraging modesty and restraint, while on the other hand sexual exhibitionism is being promoted as a legitimate form of entertainment by a public service broadcaster.

Sam Burnett, acting director of Mediawatch UK, whinged:

We're concerned that programmes like Naked Attraction are freely available via on-demand apps with barely more than a box-ticking effort to ensure the person watching is over 18.

As programme-makers chase publicity and controversy they're encouraging young people to seek out inappropriate content to keep up with playground gossip.

We have an anything-goes culture in television production. Just because a programme is on late at night with fewer viewers doesn't mean that standards should be thrown out of the window. That record-breaking nudity is no longer as bad as it once was isn't because we are more enlightened, it's a sad reflection of a society grown dull through over-exposure to pornography.

Meanwhile in the US, moralist campaigners are a bit green with envy about there being actual nudity on TV to complain about. Americans usually have to put up with their nudity being censored by pixelation.

See  article from where Parents TV Council whinges:

In recent years, Americans have been bombarded by ever-more sleazy concepts for reality shows, from Walk of Shame Shuttle and The Seven Year Switch to Sex Box and Dating Naked . But British TV proves that there's always something more depraved waiting in the wings.

Naked Attraction is a new program on Britain's Channel Four which premiered this week. On the show, a contestant chooses a date from a panel of six eligible singles. How does the contestant make her choice? By viewing all six potential partners completely in the nude. Unlike Dating Naked , nothing is blurred; the show features full-frontal nudity, in shocking close-up.

And when Channel Four says naked, [they] mean NAKED. There are no modesty blurs like those found on VH1's Dating Naked or the Discovery Channel's Naked and Afraid . About 50 percent of the screen time on this show is dedicated to extreme close ups of vaginas, penises, six-packs, love-handles, nipples, boobs and butts. The camera seems to linger on every hair, pimple and stretch mark, as well as the curves and protrusions, notes an article about the show .

American TV history is rife with concepts borrowed from British television, from All in the Family and Sanford and Son to MTV's Skins and The In-Betweeners . American viewers can only hope that this is one case where American media decides NOT to imitate their cousins across the ocean.



Call the Emergency Outrage Extinguishing Service...

Fireman Sam called over ludicrous accusation that unrecognisable text was a page from the Qur'an

Link Here27th July 2016
An episode of Fireman Sam in which a character appeared to tread on a page of generic unreadable Arabic-like script has been removed from Channel 5's streaming site, the TV network said.

In episode seven, series nine of the popular children's cartoon, a character carrying a tray of hot drinks slips after tripping on some paper on the floor of the fire station. Several sheets fly into the air, one of which looks to be covered with Arabic script.

HIT Entertainment, which produced the show, quickly apologised:

It has been bought to our attention that in an episode of Fireman Sam (Series 9, Episode 7), an image of the Qur'an is briefly depicted. The page was intended to show illegible text and we deeply regret this error. We sincerely apologise for any distress or offence it may have caused.

We will no longer be working with the animation studio responsible for this mistake. In addition, we are taking immediate action to remove this episode from circulation and we are reviewing our content production procedures to ensure this never happens again. Again, we apologise unreservedly to our viewers.

The episode has been pulled from Channel 5's online streaming platform and the broadcaster said it had no plans to show it on TV.

It is not clear how an unreadable page of Arabic-like script got identified as a page from the Qur'an.



Censorship spittle...

Horror Channel in a spot of bother as the BBFC requires cuts for the pre-cut version of I Spit On Your Grave shown by the channel which then attracted complaints to Ofcom

Link Here22nd July 2016
I Spit on Your Grave is a 2010 USA crime horror thriller by Steven R Monroe.
Starring Sarah Butler, Jeff Branson and Andrew Howard. BBFC link IMDb

A writer who is brutalized during her cabin retreat seeks revenge on her attackers, who left her for dead.

UK: A pre-cut version was passed 18 for sexual violence, bloody violence after 53s of BBFC compulsory cuts for:

  • 2016 AMC Networks International UK [Material also pre-cut by company.] video
The BBFC commented:
  • Cuts were required during scenes of sexual violence in order to remove potentially harmful material (in this case shots of nudity that tend to eroticse sexual violence and shots of humiliation that tend to endorse sexual violence by encouraging viewer complicity in sexual humiliation and rape). The cuts were made in accordance with BBFC Guidelines, policy and the Video Recordings Act 1984.

The BBFC confirmed in an email to Glenn that the Horror Channel Version contained additional material to the cut UK version, and so had to be cut to bring it in line with the cut UK version:

This version of I Spit on Your Grave is a re-edited, reduced version compared to the submission classified in 2010. These changes were made by the films distributor prior to the film being submitted to the BBFC. The BBFC required that footage that was previously cut from the 2010 submission, but that had not already been removed by the films distributor, to also be removed.

Background to this version

Earlier this year in May, Ofcom announced that it was investigating a complaint about a broadcast of the remake of I Spit on Your Grave on the Horror Channel in March. The sequel to the remake I Spit on Your Grave 2 was being shown at the same time and it was noted that maybe this could be involved in the complaint too. also pointed 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.

Surely this complaint, and the possibility of interim versions, is behind this week's BBFC new classification of  I Spit on Your Grave and I Spit on Your Grave 2, submitted by AMC Networks International, owners of Horror Channel.

The BBFC passed this latest version of I Spit on Your Grave as 18 after 53s of BBFC cuts for sexual violence, bloody violence.

So perhaps these leaves the Horror Channel in the lurch with Ofcom. Ofcom will no doubt find that the channel should have shown the BBFC cut version. The channel will now be in breach of the rules of the land explicitly requiring  that TV channels show BBFC approved versions (or versions where the BBFC have given the nod that they would no longer require cuts if resubmitted).


Thanks to Glenn who disagrees with the BBFC claims that cuts are required. He wrote to the censors saying:

Being in possession of a full, uncensored version, I have been fortunate to bear witness to the director's intended vision. The board should not be cutting this film. It is incredibly insulting and hypocritical that the board are more than happy to pass "Baise Moi" uncut (and rightly so!) but insist on censoring a film that will have appeal to the masses, rather than just the middle class art brigade. Of further insult is the blatant ignoring of public opinion that you, ever so proudly, claim to shape your guidelines. On this very site, the previous public consultation undertook by the BBFC is there for all to read. However, some of the viewers felt that the film could easily pass uncut given the second half of the film and her retribution to the culprits. This clearly counterbalances the graphic scenes of rape. You seemed to have ignored the advice of the general public and proceeded to do as you wish.

Your claims of "eroticised sexual violence" is worrying to say the least. I've yet to meet, or speak to, anybody who found any of the films erotic or eroticised. This is something that obviously only the board is seeing. No one else is. Sorry? Who are you protecting, again?

It is also worth noting that the OFLC, the Australian censorship body, has passed all the films uncut and their guidelines are stricter than yours! Plus, there is NO recorded evidence that any harm has come to anybody as a result of these films being available uncut anywhere in the world. And the majority of people in Britain have seen the uncut versions of them. Still no reports of harm.



A frightful cock-up...

Virgin media make a mistake and broadcast the 15 rated Stage Fright during the day without PIN protection.

Link Here19th July 2016

Stage Fright
Sky Movies Premiere1 and Virgin Media EPG, 26 March 2016, 13:00

Stage Fright was classified as a 15-rated film by the BBFC in 2014 due to strong bloody violence, strong language, sex references .

15 rated films are allowed to be shown during the day on encrypted subscription channels providing that children are protected by a mandatory PIN entry system.

The film was shown on Sky Movies Premiere via the Virgin Media cable platform but unfortunately a Virgin Media worker got the classification wring for a daytime showing. The rating was incorrectly entered into the system as PG rather than 15. This PG rating was then advertised to viewers via the Virgin EPG and also allowed viewers to watch the film without being bothered by the mandatory PIN entry. Ofcom wrote:

Sky and Virgin Media confirmed that the film Stage Fright had been available on Sky Movies Premiere on the Virgin Media platform between 25 March 2016 and 28 March 2016 with the following description on the Virgin Media EPG: Stage Fright PG Blood begins to spill after the daughter of a Broadway diva wins the lead in the summer showcase at a performing arts camp . The Licensees confirmed that during this period it was possible for a proportion of its viewers to view Stage Fright without mandatory restricted access on the Virgin Media platform.

Virgin Media said that although the Virgin Media EPG is not a broadcast channel, we apologise to any viewers who inadvertently viewed the movie based on the incorrect EPG PG rating . It added that this was caused by human error due toâ?¦exceptional circumstance[s] . Virgin Media said that while it had processes and systems in place which identified the errorâ?¦it was just highly unfortunate that [an] editor mistook the 2014 film with the 1950's film of the same title which was rated PG, To our knowledge this issue has never arisen previously . Virgin Media also commented that, although its third party supplier did have safeguards in place to prevent unverified [films] being played out, this required manual action. Unfortunately, on this occasion despite several prompts requesting verification of the [film] this was not actioned which resulted in the film being broadcast.

Sky commented that this i15 rating nformation for Stage Fright was correct on all of the Sky systems and therefore any metadata that was exported with the content should have automatically ensured that this was a '15' if it used our Information .

Ofcom censured Virgin for the mistake but considered that for Sky the matter was resolved.



Updated: Ban it or else we will send a few angry tweets!...

ITV2 show Love Island gets a few complaints

Link Here19th July 2016
There have been a handful of whinges about a couple having sex on the TV show, Love Island.

Viewers were supposedly shocked when contestants Emma-Jane Woodham and Terry Walsh openly had sex in a segment broadcast ten minutes after the 9pm watershed.

A spokesman for ITV said the scenes in question are inexplicit and that their focus was on the other islanders reactions. The spokesman added that ITV were not aware of any viewer complaints and that the scenes were fully compiled for broadcast.

However the Telegraph dragged up a few angry tweets and sound bites. Eg Rachael Gifford tweeted:

Can't believe Emma and Terry had above the cover sex in front of the whole villa #wtf #LoveIsland #Disgusting

Meanwhile a spokeswoman for the moralist campaign group Mediawatch-UK complained that:

Sex in the context of Love Island is being sensationalised and demonstrates nothing of real loving committed relationships.

She added that both broadcasters and participants should take more responsibility for what is shown and its impact on younger viewers.

A spokesman for Ofcom, the UK TV censor, said the body had received six complaints in relation to the show, four regarding sexual content and two others to do with bullying.

Update: Ofcom to stick its oar in too

19th July 2016. See  article from

Ofcom have confirmed that they will investigate ITV's hit reality dating show Love Island after it aired a non-explicit sex scene 1- minutes after the watershed..

Ofcom said they received eight complaints. A spokescensor said:

This programme included sexual material shortly after the watershed. We're investigating whether the transition to more adult content was unduly abrupt.



Updated: Four old jokes...

BBC ticks itself off for rude royal jokes on the Queen's 90th birthday

Link Here19th July 2016
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.

BBC executives soon after the broadcast apologised, cancelled repeat broadcasts and moved the show to a light night slot at 11pm.

The BBC Trust have now investigated the programme and have just published their report saying:

The programme attracted a significant number of complaints from listeners concerned both about the content and the timing of the output and the BBC published an apology on its Corrections and Clarifications page the following day. The Executive was asked whether it considered the output was a serious breach of the Editorial Guidelines. The Executive confirmed that it did and provided the Trust with a written report into the breach. This found there had been a failure of editorial judgement and of compliance.

Trustees considered that this output included personal, intrusive and derogatory comments which had exceeded the expectations of the audience. The offence felt was compounded by the date of the programme's transmission. They agreed with the BBC Executive that the date and timing of the broadcast had heightened the offence caused but, while accepting that they could reach a judgement only on the specific circumstances of this case, they found it hard to imagine circumstances in which this broadcast at any time or on any day would not have given rise to significant unjustified offence.

Trustees considered this was a serious breach of the Editorial Guidelines for Harm and Offence.

Update: Ofcom to stick its oar in too

19th July 2016. See  article from

Ofcom is to investigate Radio 4 panel show Don't Make Me Laugh over jokes about the Queen.

Eleven listeners complained to the broadcasting watchdog over the episode which aired on the Queen's 90th birthday in April and asked the comedian panellists to speak on the topic: The Queen must have had sex at least four times.



Offsite Article: British Grand Prix 1976: How a condom manufacturer forced F1 off TV...

Link Here10th July 2016
Classic Hunt and Lauda tussle censored by the BBC to avoid broadcasting the Durex advert on Surtees cars. By Alan Jewell

See article from



Revenge via a nasty suffocation with red tape?...

Horror Channel edit of I Spit on Your Grave 2 submitted to the BBFC and passed 18 uncut

Link Here7th July 2016

Earlier this year in May, Ofcom announced that it was investigating a complaint about a broadcast of the remake of I Spit on Your Grave on the Horror Channel in March. The sequel to the remake I Spit on Your Grave 2 was being shown at the same time and it was noted that maybe this could be involved in the complaint too. also pointed 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.

Surely this complaint, and the possibility of interim versions, is behind this week's BBFC new classification of I Spit on Your Grave 2, submitted by AMC Networks International, owners of Horror Channel.

The BBFC passed this latest version as 18 uncut for strong bloody violence and sexual violence. The BBFC noted it as a pre-cut version. Assuming a PAL speed up, the running time is about half way between the uncut version and the cut UK version ( which is also the cut US Rated version). If the pal speed up theory is not correct, then the new cut was 3 minutes shorter than the cut UK version.

So perhaps the Horror Channel did indeed find an alternative version, and now in the light of investigation by the TV censor, has submitted that version to the BBFC for their opinion. Hopefully the BBFC passing this version uncut will help their case.

I wonder how much money been wasted by Horror Chanel execs, lawyers, Ofcom and now the BBFC, pursuing what was probably a single complaint on grounds of morality.



Offsite Article: Unbalanced...

Link Here5th July 2016
Full story: Russia Today Propaganda TV...Russia Today, English language international propaganda channel
Ofcom censures Russian propaganda channel for not seeking Turkish propaganda as balance

See article from

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