Intolerance: Swearing increasing on TV

Whether it's the expletive-filled kitchen of Mr.Gordon Ramsay, or the grimy world of 'EastEnders', British viewers blame 'soap operas' and 'reality TV shows' for what they believe is an increasing outpouring of 'bad language' on screen. Many viewers also fear 'strong language' is creeping earlier into the viewing schedules ahead of the 21:00 watershed, which is designed to limit strong content to adult viewers. The snapshot of what a typical UK television viewer finds acceptable on screen has emerged in research commissioned by 'Ofcom', the telecoms 'watchdog'. Its researchers quizzed more than 170 people in Glasgow, Bristol, Leicester and London to discover people's attitudes towards swearing on the small screen. Those interviewed described their experiences of swearing on screen and gave their reaction to excerpts from ten programmes, all containing varying degrees of 'bad language'. The study concluded that, while some instances of 'bad language' could be justified by the context -- a documentary about a prison, for example -- 'bad language' on TV was often thought to be used gratuitously. Programmes cited by viewers as responsible for increasing amounts of 'bad language' included 'EastEnders', 'Grumpy Old Men', 'Hell's Kitchen' and the daytime chat show 'Trisha'. 'The Osbournes', the fly-on-the-wall documentary following the eccentric household of Mr.Ozzy Osbourne and his family, was also singled out for its 'strong language', but viewers felt more forgiving as they considered that the rocker's constant outbursts were 'funny' and 'part of the context.' However, Ms.Sharon Osbourne was criticised for an appearance on Channel 4's teenage strand, 'T4', in which she pretended to be an agony aunt reading out a letter, but became progressively ruder as the item wore on. Overall, the 'Ofcom' report said viewers felt that swearing 'started earlier in the evening and that soaps and reality programmes had contributed to this decline more than other genres'. The combative Glaswegian chef Gordon Ramsay is criticised in the research for his incessant use of the 'F-word'. While many viewers were tolerant of 'bad language' used when cameras were present in high-pressure work environments, Ramsay's unrelenting 'bad language' failed to impress. Viewers thought it 'added nothing to the programme and could easily have been edited out'. The unexpected use of 'strong language' remains offensive to the average viewer. One of the clips examined by the 'Ofcom' researchers was a four-letter outburst by Mr.John Lydon, better known as 'Johnny Rotten', while a contestant on 'I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here'. His language hit the headlines in 2004-02 and forced ITV to introduce a time delay on subsequent episodes of the reality show. Many viewers thought ITV was 'asking for trouble' by inviting Mr.Lydon on to the show, and they thought large numbers of younger viewers would have been up after 21:00 to watch it. Sunday night's debut episode of the new series of 'I'm a Celebrity..' was watched by 9.4_million viewers and it again proved popular with the younger audience, capturing more than 42 per cent of its target 16/34-year-old audience. It featured the odd bleeped-out expletive from contestants. The media analyst Mr.Paul Robinson said he thought 'Ofcom' would take a 'relaxed' view of 'reality TV', despite concerns raised by some of the audience.
'If something creeps out in a live programme, and it's in context, "Ofcom" will probably be more tolerant than something that has been scripted.
'They know these shows are going to be seen by kids whatever time they are scheduled,' he said.
The research was commissioned for 'Ofcom' as part of its 'Broadcasting Code', which came into force in 2005-07. 'Bad language is the curse of TV shows', Fergus Sheppard, The Scotsman, 2005-11-22, Tu


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a fucking disgrace

11/23/2005 12:40:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does TV reflect society or the other way about?

12/03/2005 12:48:00 pm  

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