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7 January, 2005

Nicely shot in the foot

The Guardian reports that the BBC and Ofcom (the broadcasting regulator) have received a total of 19,500 complaints about a programme to be shown tomorrow i.e. which, by definition, the complainants haven't seen (a minority may have seen the stage version - though I doubt it - but not the TV edit).

At Chortle, the writer of the show, Stewart Lee refutes some of the more ludicrous claims of the frothing protestors:

"Apparently it includes 3,168 F-words. Who has had the time to count this? Have you any idea how long it would take to sing 3,168 F-words? There obviously aren't 3,168 F-words in it, there couldn’t be that many in two hours even if that was the only word which was sung.
"I also read that there are 297 uses of the word 'c*nt'. There are in fact only seven - three as a noun, and four as an adjective."
He also criticises the BBC's attempt to sensationalise the broadcast - a fair point.

It's alleged that christians have orchestrated a campaign of complaints. Surely not.

At least they've given the broadcast a bit more publicity, so it hasn't been a complete and utter waste of time, resources and self-righteous indignation.

[Update 10/01/05: a follow-up story in the Guardian mentions that by the time of the broadcast, the BBC had logged about 50,000 complaints, many using a suspiciously similar form of words. The controversy boosted ratings to an above-average 1.8 million viewers.]

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