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Sunday, 15 July, 2001, 23:12 GMT 00:12 UK
TV gay wedding complaints rejected
Gay wedding on This Morning
The gay wedding prompted 117 complaints
A string of complaints about a gay wedding on daytime TV show This Morning have been rejected by the Independent Television Commission.

The ITC also said an appearance by broadcaster Chris Evans in a loincloth and trials for female orgasm creams did not break programme rules, despite views to the contrary from viewers.

The gay wedding prompted 117 complaints, while Evans's appearance resulted in 17 comments from viewers and eight viewers were upset by the orgasm cream trials.

Coronation Street Toyah Battersby, played by Georgia Taylor
Coronation Street "should have provided telephone helpline"
Presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan left the show on Thursday after 13 years to take up a fresh contract with Channel 4.

Many viewers said the gay wedding was unsuitable for children and undermined the religious significance of marriage.

But Granada pointed out there was a lengthy discussion about the ceremony at the start of the programme which would have alerted viewers.

The ITC dismissed the complaints, but said: "Due to the 'drop-in' nature of this style of programme, it is possible that many of the complainants had chanced upon the blessing without having witnessed the earlier item, making offence more likely."

Support

ITV soap opera Coronation Street was also under scrutiny for failing to offer a viewer helpline after the traumatic rape of Toyah Battersby, played by Georgia Taylor.

Ten viewers complained to the ITC that the only help offered after the show was on the Granada website.

The ITC upheld the concerns about the lack of guidance and said: "More accessible support should have been provided off-air for viewers."

Programme maker Granada told the ITC women affected by rape would be receiving, or would have had, specialist counselling.

It said others touched by such an ordeal would need a different type of support and the website would be a better option for dealing with the diverse group affected.

Family viewing

But the ITC said: "Given the traumatic nature of this crime which often goes unreported, more accessible information should have been provided."

It suggested either a helpline staffed by trained counsellors or a telephone recorded information service was needed.

Reacting to the finding, a Coronation Street spokeswoman said: "We provide information and support in a variety of ways including helplines, Teletext announcements and internet web pages after carefully reaching a judgment on what our research indicates to be the need.

"On this occasion we did not believe a helpline to be appropriate. The ITC disagrees with us and of course is entitled to its view."

The ITC dismissed complaints that the show was unsuitable for broadcast during family viewing time as it did not break any programming rules.

See also:

14 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Richard and Judy screen gay wedding
30 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Corrie's rapist unmasked
12 Jul 01 | Reviews
Richard and Judy's swan song
12 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
A marriage made on morning TV
04 May 01 | TV and Radio
Daytime TV's royal couple
19 Apr 99 | Entertainment
Springer presents UK TV show
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