Complaints over 'The Singing Detectiv e' on BBC television

Explicit sex scene vetted by Grade / Complaints over 'The Singing Detectiv e' on BBC television (247)

By a Staff Reporter

1 December 1986

The Times

The BBC received more than 50 telephone calls from viewers about last night's episode of The Singing Detective, by Dennis Potter, which featured scenes of a boy watching a couple engaged in explicit love-making in a wood.

Mrs Mary Whitehouse, president of the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association, said: 'If Michael Grade thinks this episode of The Singing Detective, with its gross sexual violence, did not offend against good taste and decency, which it is his job to uphold, then he is not fit for the position he occupies.

'This programme reinforced our conviction thta broadcasting must be brought under the Obscene Publication Act, and I shall write tomorrow to both the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary. '

Mr Grade, BBC Television's director of programes, said that it was 'not an easy decision' to allow the explicit scenes to be screened.

He said that he had been called in to vet the scenes on Friday but after the most careful consideration had decided they should not be cut. The episode was preceded by the BBC's strongest warning to viewers about explicit sexual content.

Mr Grade said: 'There are very few people in television drama you are prepared to trust with scenes like this. Dennis Potter is one of them. '

A BBC spokesman said the calls were being evaluated. 'Interestingly, a number of complaints were received after the warning about the explicit scene, but before the sequence was actually shown,' he said.

last updated october 2014