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Thursday, May 28, 1998 Published at 13:02 GMT 14:02 UK


Channel 4 rapped for serving placenta

Britain's Channel 4 has been severely reprimanded for a programme in which a woman's afterbirth was served up as paté.

The Broadcasting Standards Commission said the episode of TV Dinners, shown in February, breached a taboo and "would have been disagreeable to many".

The presenter, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, devised the recipe with mother Rosie Clear for a party to celebrate the birth of her daughter Indi-Mo Krebbs.

The placenta was fried with shallots and garlic, flambéed, puréed and served to 20 relatives and friends as a pate on focaccia bread.

Mrs Clear's husband Lee had 17 helpings but the other guests were less enthusiastic.

[ image: Kevin McNamara:
Kevin McNamara: "The programme was offensive"
Labour MP Kevin McNamara was one of nine viewers who complained to the Independent Television Commission about the show.

The ITC passed the comments on to the BSC, which upheld the complaints on the grounds of taste.

Practice is not illegal

The commission accepted it was not illegal to cook or consume afterbirth - in fact it is considered highly nutritious and mothers in many countries are encouraged to eat their own.

The programme makers had also sought to treat the subject sensitively and fairly, said the commission.

But in its report the commission said the content of the show would have taken many viewers by surprise - despite a vague announcement before it was aired.

Mr McNamara, MP for Hull North, said the programme was "offensive to the public".

Channel 4 said the programme was not a conventional cookery show and was designed to challenge conventional wisdom.

'Glamorised heroin abuse'

The BSC also criticised BBC TWO for unintentionally glamorising heroin abuse in the gritty Scottish drama Looking After Jo-Jo, starring Robert Carlyle.

[ image: Robert Carlyle's drama Looking For Jo-Jo was criticised]
Robert Carlyle's drama Looking For Jo-Jo was criticised
A spokeswoman for BBC Scotland, which made the programme, pointed out it had been shown after the watershed.

She said: "The ambition of this drama series was to warn viewers of the dangers of drug abuse and to highlight the social consequences of crime and drug dealing."

The BSC also upheld complaints about bad language levelled at the BBC ONE comedy The Vicar Of Dibley, which it said went beyond the "acceptable boundaries" for a family programme.

Another Channel 4 show, Gamesmaster, was criticised for including violent scenes from a computer game called Mortal Kombat IV.

Channel 4 was also in the doghouse for screening a discussion about the Turner Prize in which the artist Tracy Emin repeatedly used foul language while apparently drunk.

Virgin Radio DJ Robin Banks was reprimanded for tasteless jokes he made during his early evening Drivetime show.

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