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UK TV and Radio News

2017: July-Sept

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Offsite Article: How should the mainstream media tell the news?...

Link Here28th September 2017
By Nick Robinson of the BBC's Today programme. An interesting article but note how the BBC thinks its news is 'unbiased' when it so actively suppresses aspects which are inconveniently politically incorrect

See article from



Top talent...

Amanda Holden wins prize for the best dressed presenter on TV as judged by Ofcom complaints

Link Here27th September 2017
Amanda Holden and her dress choice were the most controversial thing on UK television in 2017 according to complaints to Ofcom.

Holden left a few viewers 'outraged' with her dress choice during a live show of Britain's Got Talent back in June of this year. A total of 663 complaints were registered about it.

However, Ofcom reviewed the episode and chose not to investigate the matter further. They said that Ms Holden's choice of attire would not have exceeded most viewers expectations.



Offsite Article: How thin lines of good intention become cliff-edges of intrusion...

Link Here 25th September 2017
Ofcom push for very aggressive positive discrimination for the broadcasting industry. By Peter Preston

See article from



Update: Non consensual non event...

A few whinges to Ofcom about a vengeful gay set up

Link Here24th September 2017
Full story: Emmerdale...Viewer whinges about ITV soap
A few more trivial complaints about the TV soaps.

A nasty character named Rob plied his ex father in-law Lawrence with booze and when he was completely blotto, helped him into bed. And then he dropped an empty condom wrapper on the side table, stripped off and climbed in too! When Lawrence woke up Robert announced they'd slept together and even accused confused Lawrence of taking advantage of him in his heartbroken, drunken state.

The TV censor Ofcom has received nine complaints about the sexual nature of the scenes, and the non-consensual aspect of the storyline, despite nothing actually happening between Lawrence and Robert.

Ofcom responded that it will assess these complaints before deciding whether or not to investigate, code for a rapid consignment to the waste paper bin.



Outrageously Illiberal...

Puerile whinges about Strictly Come Dancing and The Great British Bake Off

Link Here16th September 2017
Susan Calman has sparked outrage by daring to do what all female competitors have done on all 14 previous series of Strictly Come Dancing -- dance with a man. The problem, or outrage, such as it is, is that Calman is openly gay.

When she was paired with Kevin Clifton, one of the show's most popular professionals who has come second in the competition four times in a row.

That was enough for Calman to be branded a traitor to the gay cause. Never mind that she gave a shout-out to her wife in her first interview, never mind that she has spent her whole career campaigning for LGBT rights.

Calman was forced to defend her decision to have a male partner. I've worked tirelessly for LGBT equality my whole life and right now I would like to dance and bring entertainment to people by dancing on a Saturday night. Dancing's not necessarily about sex, it's acting.

Meanwhile 28 people have campaigned to Ofcom about a gag on The Great British Bake Off  where a time check was called by a presenter from inside a fridge and then having the door closed on him.

Viewers took to social media to blast the show's producers for being irresponsible and setting a bad example to children. Shocking. So dangerous. How could this get onto a family programme. Wouldn't happen on the beeb, said one.



Tempers flare...

TV censor whinges about Russell Brand's radio banter about a Elvis impersonator having sex in costume

Link Here30th August 2017
Full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

Russell Brand
Radio X, 28 May 2017, 11:00

Radio X is a National DAB radio station providing an alternative music service for the 15-34s.

Russell Brand is a weekly programme broadcast between 11:00 and 13:00 on Sundays. The programme on 28 May 2017 was pre-recorded.

Ofcom received a complaint about sexual content during and immediately following a conversation between Russell Brand, Matt Morgan (the programme’s co-host on 28 May 2017) and Mr Gee (the programme’s resident poet) in the studio, and an Elvis Presley tribute artist (‘Guest’), who they had contacted on the phone. The complainant considered the exchanges unsuitable for broadcast when children were listening.

The unscripted conversation included the following:

Brand: “Have you ever had sex as Elvis?”.
Guest: “I’ve done it without the jump suit, but I have kept the cape on”.
Brand: “That’s good, that’s how to do it. You can’t have sex with a jump suit on”.
Morgan: “Did you do the voice?”
Guest: “Well the only difficulty with that is they’re studded, you see, and they get very spikey and so they can cut you in places that you wouldn’t imagine”.
Brand: “I’m, I’m imagining them, James!”
Guest: “And if you’re on top of somebody, you know…”.
Brand: “Very, er, you’re a bit of a brutal lover there, James!”
Guest: “Well, yes, I am, especially when I’m covered in Rhinestones!”
Brand: “Phwoar, that’s the way to do it!”

Ofcom considered:

  • Rule 1.3: “Children must…be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them”.

  • Rule 1.5 “Radio broadcasters must have particular regard to times when children are particularly likely to be listening”.

Ofcom decision: Breach of rules 1.3 and 1.5

Ofcom first considered whether the material in this case was unsuitable for children.

The presenter asked Mr Burrell, the Elvis Presley tribute artist, whether he had ever had sex as Elvis. He responded by joking that he had kept his cape on, but not his studded jump suit, as “they get very spikey and so they can cut you in places that you wouldn’t imagine”. After a brief studio reaction, the interview ended but was followed up by Mr Gee sharing an anecdote about Elvis Presley, which he had seen in a documentary. He claimed that the singer had left a hotel with a friend after having just met a prostitute, and told him that “she gives tremendous head, tremendous head”.

Ofcom took into account Global’s view that Radio X targeted an ‘alternative’ audience and “maintains a distinction from other mainstream stations”, with “edgier content in [Russell Brand’s] show than on family-orientated pop music stations”. Nevertheless, we did not consider the above was an appropriate topic of discussion for younger listeners and, in our view, it was unsuitable for children.

Ofcom then considered whether the broadcaster had had particular regard to times when children were particularly likely to be listening.

We took into account the Licensee’s acknowledgement, “in hindsight … that some of the further comments that followed the initial conversation – although brief – strayed into more mature themes”. Ofcom considered that Global should have taken this into account when editing the pre-recorded programme.

It is Ofcom’s view that Global had not had particular regard to times when children were likely to be listening, in breach of Rule 1.5.

Breaches of Rules 1.3 and 1.5



Fox News censored in the UK...

Presumably a victim of News International having to kowtow to the authorities to get a merger approval

Link Here30th August 2017
Rupert Murdoch has taken the rightwing US channel Fox News off the air in the UK after 15 years.

The decision came as Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, is set to return her verdict on whether to ask the competition regulator to launch an investigation into the Murdochs' adherence to broadcasting standards in the UK as part of an inquiry into Fox's £11.7bn takeover bid for Sky.

[Fox] has decided to cease providing a feed of Fox News Channel in the UK, a spokeswoman for the company said. Fox News is focused on the US market and designed for a US audience and, accordingly, it averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the UK. We have concluded that it is not in our commercial interest to continue providing Fox News in the UK.

The spokesperson said that Fox News only reached about 2,000 average daily viewers in the UK, however figures from the Broadcaster's Audience Research Board (Barb) suggest that the number was closer to 60,000.

Fox News has become increasingly troublesome for the Murdochs as they attempt to buy Sky. The channel is embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal that led to a string of high-profile figures leaving, including the chairman Roger Ailes , who has since died, and leading presenter Bill O'Reilly .



Streams of whinges...

ASA dismisses complaints about Spotify adverts

Link Here23rd August 2017

Two TV ads and a cinema ad for online music service Spotify were seen between 28 April and 13 May 2017.

  • a. One TV ad showed a family at a dinner table. While the son was singing along to a song, the mother said (to camera) What he doesn't know is that he was made to this song. In this room. On this table.

  • b. The second TV ad showed a teenage girl outside a closed bedroom door. Music could be heard from within. The girl said Yep. Bieber's 'Love Yourself'. I think we all know what's going on in there.

  • c. The cinema ad was identical to ad (a).

The ASA received 81 complaints, raising one or more of the following issues:

  1. 164 complainants, most of whom saw the ad during Britain's Got Talent and Take Me Out on Saturday 29 April 2017, challenged whether ad (a) was offensive and unsuitable to be broadcast during programmes watched by children, because of the sexual reference it contained.

  2. 18 complainants, who saw the ad during Britain's Got Talent on Saturday 6 May 2017, challenged whether ad (b) was offensive and unsuitable to be broadcast during a programme watched by children, because they believed it implied the person in the bedroom was masturbating.

  3. Two complainants, who saw ad (c) in the cinema before the film Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 April 2017, challenged whether the ad was offensive and unsuitable to be shown before a film whose audience was likely to include children.

The Cinema Advertising Association (CAA) said they considered the suggestive humour of the ad required only a minor restriction as its full meaning would not be understood by younger viewers who were not already aware of what it referred to. They considered it was appropriate to keep sexually risque humour away from very young children but noted that the minors in the audience of a 12A film were likely to be older and have some knowledge of the facts of life. They accepted that that could give rise to a minor degree of embarrassment between some parents and their children, but that that did not signify that the ad had caused serious or widespread offence.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. and 2. Not upheld

The ASA acknowledged that both ads contained implied sexual references. We considered, however, that the references were not explicit and were unlikely to be understood by young children. We noted that Clearcast had given the ads a scheduling restriction to prevent them being broadcast in or adjacent to programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal to children. The audience data bore out that, while the programmes had general appeal, they did not have particular appeal to children. We therefore concluded that the ads were not offensive or unsuitable to be broadcast in breaks in those programmes at those times.

3. Not upheld

We acknowledged that the ad contained an implied sexual reference. We considered, however, that the reference was not explicit and was unlikely to be understood by young children. We acknowledged that the film would have children in the audience, but we noted that those children were likely to be older or accompanied. Given the mild nature of the sexual reference, we therefore concluded that the ad was not offensive or unsuitable to be shown in that context.



Extract: Britain's Got a Talent for Whingeing...

UK's top 10 TV programmes as judged by the number of complaints to Ofcom

Link Here19th August 2017
TV censor Ofcom has provided Trusted Reviews with figures that reveal which television items have received the most viewer complaints over the past year:

10. Benidorm (ITV) -- 137 complaints

9. Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls (Channel 4) -- 153 complaints

8. Good Morning Britain (ITV) -- 181 complaints

7. Sky News (Sky News) -- 190 complaints

6. Emmerdale (ITV) -- 275 complaints

5. Coronation Street (ITV) -- 303 complaints

4. Comic Relief (BBC 1) -- 340 complaints

3. Emmerdale (ITV) -- 448 complaints

2. Coronation Street (ITV) -- 473 complaints

1. Britain's Got Talent (ITV) -- 663 complaints

... Read the full article from



Offsite Article: BBFC Podcast 71 Dr Who...

Link Here19th August 2017
Why some episodes are rated PG whilst others are rated 12

See article from



Update: Strong Words...

Ofcom fine Kanshi Radio over Sikh song with lyrics derogatory to other religions

Link Here18th August 2017
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check
Pinky Pinky
Kanshi Radio Limited, 30 June 2016, 01:59 and 1 September 2016, 00:05

Kanshi Radio is a satellite radio station providing speech and music programmes for the Asian community in the UK.

This sanction was in relation to the broadcast of a song, Pinky Pinky, which was in Punjabi and lasted approximately 11 minutes. The song contained highly offensive language and aggressively pejorative references to the Muslim community, and Muslim women in particular. It also contained well known sacred Islamic phrases, interspersed with offensive terms, gunshots and sexualised noises.

Ofcom found that the programme breached Rules:

  • Rule 2.1: “Generally accepted standards must be applied to the content 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.”
  • Rule 2.3: “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 offensive language, violence, sex, sexual violence, humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of age, disability, gender, race, religion, beliefs and sexual orientation). Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.”
  • Rule 3.2: Material which contains hate speech must not be included in television and radio programmes except where it is justified by the context.
  • Rule 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.

Ofcom published its decision on these breaches on 5 December 2016 in issue 318 of the Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin. Ofcom gave examples from the sonly lyrics eg:

Your sister's cunt, Oi, your sister's cunt, let me fuck your mother's cunt. Let me fuck your sister, come over here and let me give you some Sikh cock. Allahu Akbar motherfucker.

In Ofcom's view the breaches were serious and we therefore considered the imposition of a statutory sanction in this case.

In accordance with Ofcom's penalty guidelines, Ofcom decided that it was appropriate and proportionate in the circumstances to impose a financial penalty of £17,500 on the Licensee



In for a long hunt...

A spat between the Countryside Alliance and the BBC reveals that there could be a lengthy BBC complaints process before complaints reach Ofcom for final arbitration

Link Here13th August 2017

The BBC is currently overhauling its complaints system after Ofcom took over censorship duties in April, replacing the BBC Trust. However there is still a part of the process where viewers have to complain to the BBC first before seeking recourse with Ofcom.

The Countryside Alliance has clashed with BBC bosses over the new framework which the group believes does not improve the process and only allows viewers to go to Ofcom after a three stage process. In a letter to the corporation, Tim Bonner, the alliance's chief executive, said this process could take several months and urged a rethink. He wrote:

Given the timescales for responding, it is likely that it could take several months before a complaint could be seen by Ofcom if the complainant were unhappy with the responses received from the BBC. We are not satisfied that this provides the expected level of oversight which Ofcom was intended to have in the new Charter.

The Countryside Alliance, a group lobbying for hunting and shooting, previously came off worse when complaining that Springwatch presenter Chris Packham referred to them as the 'Nasty Brigade' in a BBC magazine article. Presumably they feel that when they did not get what they wanted from the BBC Trust then they would like to give Ofcom a shot.

Bonner said that the alliance had submitted a number of complaints to the BBC and BBC Trust over the past 18 months which have not been upheld.  He added:

We would have welcomed the opportunity to pursue our complaints with Ofcom at the earliest possible opportunity in order for an external regulator to review the complaints independently.

The BBC's royal charter specifically allows the BBC to try to try to resolve complaints in the first instance before they are passed to Ofcom.



Offsite Article: Ethical referees...

Link Here13th August 2017
Ofcom to unpick ethical dilemmas caused by the authorities once putting political correctness before justice when dealing with muslim grooming gangs

See article from



Offsite Article: No, satire isn't dead...It's resting...

Link Here12th August 2017
Safe choices and repetition have put lampooning comedy on its knees. By Keith Allen

See article from



Offsite Article: BBFC Podcast 70: Game of Thrones...

Link Here5th August 2017
The BBFC get all coy about describing the classification issues wih the Battle of Bastards

See article from



Declining complaints about taste and decency on TV...

Ofcom reports on UK audience attitudes to the broadcast media

Link Here7th July 2017

Ofcom has published an annual report exploring UK adults' attitudes and opinions towards television and radio broadcasting, and related areas such as programme standards, advertising and regulation. It summarises the findings set out in a series of charts.

The research findings from Ofcom's Media Tracker study provide a valuable source of information on consumers' attitudes, and help inform Ofcom's work on broadcasting standards.

Under the Communications Act 2003, Ofcom has a duty to draw up, and from time to time revise, a Code for television and radio services, covering programme standards. This includes the protection of under-18s, the application of generally accepted standards to provide adequate protection from the inclusion of harmful or offensive material, sponsorship, product placement in television programmes, and fairness and privacy.

Ofcom recognises that people's views on what are generally accepted standards are subject to change over time, and so should be explored by ongoing consumer research. This report is one of a range of sources that Ofcom uses in undertaking its broadcasting standards duties.

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