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Religious Watch


28th December
2007
  

Slanging Match...

Nutters wound up by Catherine Tate Christmas Special

Catherine Tate Show poster Ofcom will launch an inquiry into Catherine Tate’s comedy special after nutter complaints that it was the most offensive programme ever broadcast by the BBC on a Christmas Day.

Nutters complained of excessive use of the “fuck” by Tate’s foul-mouthed character Nan. A sketch depicting a Northern Irish family as terrorists prompted accusations of bigotry.

The sketch show attracted 6.4 million viewers to BBC One at 10:30pm on Christmas night. The BBC defended the show, describing Tate as a comedy genius.

Ofcom's inquiry will ask whether the programme was appropriate for Christmas night, when many children would be watching.

Viewers complained that the programme began with an avalanche of strong language from Nan Taylor. Kathy Burke, playing her daughter, embarked upon a swearing competition with Nan.

The representation of a family in Northern Ireland receiving Christmas presents attracted complaints that Tate was exploiting lazy stereotypes. The grandmother opens her present to find a balaclava, which she puts over her head. Her husband receives a knuckleduster which he excitedly uses to punch a chair. The mother’s gift is an apron with a balaclava-clad terrorist and the words Remember Everything, Forgive Nothing. A gay son is handed a chocolate penis.

Tate admitted that the language might have got out of hand. I don’t know how this Christmas special got so depraved because it isn’t what I set out to do, she told Radio Times. The sketch between Nan and her daughter required a climactic aspect when you’re topping each other with greater feats of swearing.

A spokesman for the BBC said: Catherine Tate creates characters who are so over the top as to be almost cartoon-like and this is where her genius lies. Her comedy is never meant to offend any viewer and is always based on satire and grotesque exaggeration. The Nan character’s foul language was fundamental to what makes her funny and the show was preceded by a warning that it contained strong language.

The BBC received about 100 complaints through telephone and internet message boards.

A spokesman for Ofcom said: We have received complaints about offensive language and content in the Catherine Tate Christmas Show and we will look into the matter.

Update: Fucking MPs

6th January

Nadine Dorries, Member of Parliament for Mid Beds, says many children would have been subjected to foul language in comedian Catherine Tate's Christmas special.

She has lodged a formal complaint with the independent broadcasting regulators Ofcom which is investigating.

Nadine Dorries is unsurprisingly one of the nutter MPs supporting Julian Braziers BBFC Accountability bill.

 

15th April
2008
  

A Fucking Good Christmas Show...

Ofcom clears Catherine Tate Christmas Special

Catherine Tate Show poster Ofcom have cleared BBC1's Catherine Tate Show of breaching broadcast regulations with an expletive-littered Christmas Day episode that became the most complained-about programme of the festive period.

Forty-two people complained to Ofcom about the number of four-letter words and stereotyping in the show, which featured a sketch in which a Northern Ireland family exchanged presents including a knuckleduster, balaclava and chocolate penis.

More than 100 viewers also complained to the BBC about the show, including the excessive use of the word "fuck" by Tate's foul-mouthed character Nan Taylor in the first sketch of the show. Nan's catchphrase is "what a fucking liberty".

The regulator cleared the show, saying viewers were already aware that the show was likely to contain offensive language. It said it had been preceded with a warning about offensive language and was broadcast 90 minutes after the watershed.

Overall this episode was typical of the Catherine Tate Show and would not have gone beyond the expectations of its usual audience, said Ofcom in its ruling: For those not familiar with the show, the information given at the start was adequate.

The regulator said the depiction of the Northern Irish family, who discover that their son is gay, did not breach broadcast standards: In Ofcom's view it would have been clear to the audience that, in a comedy show such as this, exchanging Christmas gifts of terrorist paraphernalia was absurd in the extreme . Comedy has a long tradition of engaging with challenging subjects and confronting taboos.

The Catherine Tate Christmas Special, which guest-starred George Michael, was broadcast at 10.30pm on Christmas Day and was watched by 6.4 million viewers. In all it received more than 100 complaints.

The regulator reported: As for the use of this language on Christmas Day, the BBC said that it does not regard any word as being more obscene on one day than on another. It did take account of the different audience expectations on different occasions, but in its view it was not the general expectation of audiences that everything broadcast on Christmas Day should reflect its character as a religious festival.

John Beyer 'Confused' by Watershed Concept

From Mediawatch-UK

John Beyer Speaking today John Beyer, director of Mediawatch-uk said that this finding “is a disgrace” and “seriously inconsistent” with Ofcom's finding last week about the obscenities used in the Live Earth concert.

No wonder the viewing public is confused and have lost confidence in the regulation of broadcasting. Considering that Ofcom has itself found that the majority of viewers believe there is too much swearing on television, this finding is all the more extraordinary. The Communications Act 2003 requires that “generally accepted standards” are applied to the content of television and radio services and it seems to me that Ofcom is failing to take public opinion into account - and that is a breach of trust and certainly not what Parliament intended when setting up the new regulatory regime.

 

21st April
2008
  

Offsite: Not in front of the adults...

Bad language rules seek to protect the innocent. But who are they exactly?

Catherine Tate Show poster You might think that, at the moment, the television regulator Ofcom doesn't know whether it's coming or going on the question of whether it's permissible to speak on TV the slang words for, well, coming and going. This week it turned down complaints about the use of the F-word in The Catherine Tate Christmas Special, but, a few days earlier, had forced the BBC to make a long on-screen apology for sexual and scatological language during the Live Earth concerts.

Viewers may well wonder, according to taste, what the fuck is going on or, alternatively, what the f**k is going on?

...Read the full article