TV highlight of last week

I was off work last Tuesday due to copious vomiting (less of that later…) and, as one does when ill, I started watching random daytime TV. I was careful to avoid the more horrific side of this genre, (specifically Jeremy Kyle. the most hideous show since Kilroy got from exiled from Tellyland), and looked about for some comfort TV. I enjoyed a couple of episodes of Third Rock from the Sun, and that episode of Quantum Leap in which Sam is a frat-boy called Wild Thing and has to stop some anti-Vietnam protesters from setting off a bomb. Class.

However, the best thing I saw was, surprisingly, on Loose Women. Now I’m hardly the target audience for this show, being a man and er… let’s not finish that thought; there’s no way it can end well. Anyhoo, I was flicking around and found that the legendary Joan Rivers was being interviewed about her Oscar red-carpet duties.

The moment I saw that she was on a day-time TV show alarm bells starting ringing in my head. I’m sure she’s done a lot of TV (being slightly older than time itself) but she strikes me as someone who really doesn’t really care about little things like the watershed. And how right I was. She was talking about how she can’t really speak her mind about the stars she meets. While talking about Russell Crowe she said “get ready to bleep this” and then called him “a fucking shit”.

What a lady, but oh dear. Being British TV there was no bleep button ready, and no delay. So Ms Rivers opinion went out across the nation in it’s full, glorious Technicolor. The presenters immediately apologised, as did Joan herself, but it really was too late.

However, being that the audience figures at the time were probably not exactly huge, I wonder how many complaints were received. The incident was reported on the BBC News, but no mention of complaints as far as I saw. On the other hand, Ms Rivers was actually removed from the set during the next ad break. Awesome. I bet she still doesn’t care.

The whole thing must be on YouTube by now… yup, see it here

This does leaves me pondering 2 things. Who actually complains about things like this? I can see why some people (like those who might have had small children in the room at the time) would be upset, but what difference would the complaint actually make after the event? It was Joan Rivers who said it, and she’s hardly going to personally apologise…

On the other hand, why do these live shows not go out with at least a 10 second delay? Not just for swearing purposes, but there must be occasional slip that they would rather cover up. The best known example of this is perhaps Shaun Ryder on TFI Friday, swearing repeatedly even when reminded not to on a number of occasions by Chris Evans. But let’s face it, the Ginger One and friends probably wanted the publicity and it must have helped rather than hindered viewing figures. And if you don’t like that sort of thing then you shouldn’t be watching TFI Friday in the first place.

One example when the lack of delay is just weird was Live8. Madonna, assumedly having been told to keep it clean, decided to scream the f word at around 7 o’clock. Now, Mrs Richie should really have known better, but surely the BBC should have been ready for something like this? However, let us not forget that this was the same concert in which someone thought it was a good idea to have Snoop Dogg sing his title song around 6pm. If you aren’t familiar with the lyrics, the chorus goes along the lines of: “Snoop Doggy Dogg; what’s my mother-fucking name” repeated a few times over. Wow, that’s some great programming, Mr Concert Organiser Person (if that is your real name).

My personal favourite piece of pre-watershed swearing, and this is the last one I promise, was when Slash was on CD:UK a number of years ago. Once again, whose great idea was this? Okay, let him play but surely they must have realised that his chat wasn’t going to be exactly kiddy-friendly. Anyway, Cat Deeley started asking the usual pointless questions about his band/latest song etc, and Mr Slash dropped in a few rude words here and there. I have to say that they were such a natural part of his speech that I barely noticed, and he doesn’t exactly announciate his words (that might be the most British thing I’ve ever said…)

However, from some stupid, STUPID reason, Cat asked him “what’s the most rock n’ roll thing that’s ever happened to you?” Now considering who she was asking, they got off kind of lightly. Slash’s reply was “Well, I was in this bar one time and this girl came up to me and just started giving me a blow…” at which point Cat interrupted. Quick cut to Ant and/or Dec after the interview to apologise, rather red-faced…

Deeley never worked in this town again. But only because she went off to make more money in the States. Dang.


4 Responses to “TV highlight of last week”

  1. Sprout Trout Says:

    Me again. Who can forget Five Star on Going Live? Check it out.

  2. David Says:

    This is a big issue at my work, see the story below which is what happens, especially when you’re not the good ole Beeb!

    Basically, a viewer makes an official complaint. Then OfCom investigate, including speaking to the broadcaster to see why it happened and what (if anything) they had done to help prevent it. If OfCom uphold the complaint the broadcaster gets a warning (first offence kinda thing). Further breaches are followed by a fine (as below, very hefty). The next step is to lose your broadcasting license which is absolutely disasterous for the business, so has to be avoided at all costs. As a result we have to be very careful not to show bad words and boobies.

    Some of the examples you give are completely inexcusable. I thought Live 8 was a disgrace. There was no reason whatsoever not to have a delay on there, but no-one seemed to get any real grief because of it. Pretty appalling, really.

    MTV Networks Europe has been fined a total of £255,000 ($484,500) by U.K. media regulator Ofcom for “widespread and persistent” breaches of its broadcasting code by four of its channels.

    The Viacom-owned operator will have to pay the following penalties: TMF £80,000 ($152,000), MTV France £35,000 ($66,500), MTV UK £80,000 ($152,000) and MTV Hits £60,000 ($114,000).

    The “highly offensive language and material” was broadcast before the 9pm family-viewing watershed.

    Auds complained about a number of shows. They included: repeated use of the words “motherfucker”, “fuck you” and “fuck” in a music video by Aphex Twin for the song “Windowlicker” on TMF, and racist and homophobic text messages aired by MTV France in “Belge Chat.”

    Additionally TMF screened a trailer for the reality skein “Totally Jodie Marsh” on seven occasions between 9.48am and 3.15pm on July 24 last year containing the sentence: “I just don’t want you settling down with some fucking wanker from a modeling agency.”

    Other breaches identified by Ofcom included a 4.30pm broadcast of MTV UK show “Totally Boyband” in 2006 featuring “extensive offensive language.”

  3. The Bob Says:

    Ah, thanks David, nice to get the inside story. That does sound a bit careless airing pre-recorded shows with swearing, but then people should just relax and watch more Terrance and Phillip.

    Also, if I were a parent it wouldn’t be the language in an Aphex Twin video that I would want to protect my kids from…

  4. AlexM Says:

    Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

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