BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Entertainment  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Monday, 27 January, 2003, 00:21 GMT
Watchdog clears TV autopsy
Professor von Hagens was behind the public autopsy
A television watchdog has dismissed more than 130 complaints against a controversial televised public autopsy, saying it was not sensationalist and did not break rules.

The first public autopsy in the UK for 170 years was broadcast late at night on Channel 4 in November.

It was carried out by Professor Gunther von Hagens, who is also behind the Body Worlds exhibition of preserved human corpses, and went ahead despite police warnings.

The programme was carefully edited and contained an expert discussion on the ethical issues

Channel 4
"Although the subject matter and content of the programme approached the limits of what is allowed by the programme code, those limits were not exceeded," the Independent Television Commission (ITC) ruled.

More than 100 viewers complained to Channel 4, while 34 protested to the ITC.

The watchdog said the show did not include images that were "more explicit than those already seen on UK television".

The programme began at 2345 GMT and pictures from the procedure were not shown until after midnight.

Claims of sensationalism

Other shows had screened images from autopsies before, the ITC said.

A TV debate on the issues raised by the autopsy balanced claims of sensationalism and showmanship, it said.

The programme was filmed at London's Atlantis Gallery in front of a sell-out crowd of 500.

Prof von Hagens' subject was a 72-year-old man who had donated his body to Body Worlds.

Before the autopsy, Scotland Yard warned that the show could be illegal, but police did not intervene.

A Channel 4 spokesman said: "The autopsy was an important event of genuine public interest and the decision to broadcast was taken with much thought and consideration.

"The programme was carefully edited and contained an expert discussion on the ethical issues raised."

'Went too far'

One Channel 4 programme that was criticised by the ITC was troubled breakfast show Ri:se, which broke programme rules with a joke about Christianity.

A host said Jesus did not walk on water after dropping a figure of Christ into a mug.

Another host then joked that loaves and fish might pop out if the head of the doll was pressed.

The ITC said the comments went too far, dismissing Channel 4's explanation that the item parodied commercialisation.

See also:

21 Nov 02 | Health
20 Nov 02 | Health
21 Nov 02 | Health
20 Nov 02 | Health
15 Nov 02 | Europe
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Entertainment stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Entertainment stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes