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The BBC's Hugh Schofield
"A classic example of the kind of cultural contortion that France periodically puts itself through"
 real 28k

Catherine Guilyardi, French TV Journalist
"The reason people are upset is because it is trash television"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 15 May, 2001, 09:45 GMT 10:45 UK
French watchdog cuts Loft Story
Protestors at the Loft Story set
Protestors have attempted to storm the set
The French broadcasting watchdog has ruled contestants in a controversial Big Brother-style show should be liberated from round-the-clock camera surveillance.

The Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA) said it was clamping down on Loft Story out of respect for contestants' "human dignity".

It has decided the 24 hour scrutiny of 11 men and women by 26 cameras infringes on human rights.

Loft Story contestants
Contestants are encouraged to pair up

Loft Story focuses on a group of twentysomething contestants who are encouraged to hook up with a partner to win the show's prize, a house.

It has proved a ratings winner with seven million viewers but has also been called "trash TV".

Police using tear gas fought with protestors who tried to storm the headquarters of the production company.

A group calling themselves Activists Against Trash TV have also clashed with security guards during a raid on the set.


The CSA has now set out guidelines for the way Loft Story should be transmitted for the rest of its run.

A CSA statement said: "The authority requires daily breaks of significant and reasonable duration in which no audio or visual recording or broadcasting shall take place.

"Regardless of the aim of the programme or the fact that the contestants have given their consent, it is imperative from the point of human dignity that there are places and times in which they are not submitted to public observation."

The CSA has the power to invoke new regulatory laws.

Loft Story broadcaster M6 has yet to reveal how it will comply with the new constraints.

Scenes broadcast on public access television are edited but an uncensored live version goes out 24 hours a day on a pay-per-view channel and the internet.


A shot of two contestants cavorting naked in a swimming pool has upset commentators.

They accuse programme-makers of encouraging sexual relationships in the pursuit of winning.

Fellow contestants and viewers vote out the losers until just two remain.

The winning pair will have to live in the dream home for a further six months before they can claim the prize.

The French anti-racist group Mrap is asking authorities to investigate allegedly racist comments made by contestants after it received complaints from viewers.

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See also:

14 May 01 | TV and Radio
Protesters raid French Big Brother
30 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
French Big Brother faces censors
08 May 01 | TV and Radio
Big Brother goes digital
24 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Big Brother contestants muzzled
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