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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 May, 2003, 00:59 GMT 01:59 UK
Poster ban for funeral show
Still from Channel Four's show
Six Feet Under is a dark comedy about the funeral business
Billboard posters for Channel 4's show Six Feet Under have been banned after complaints they were offensive, shocking and unsuitable for children.

The programme is a US satire about the funeral business.

But the two posters did not refer to the show or Channel 4 directly, looking instead like advertisements for cosmetics, with models posing as corpses.

The Advertising Standards Authority said the posters were "likely to cause serious or widespread offence" and were unsuitable for display.

The first poster featured a man's head and naked torso. An elegant bottle was labelled "In Eternum embalming fluid" and the poster had the line "Skin to die for".

Nine complaints

The only clue to what it was really advertising was a line saying "Available from Fisher & Sons Funeral Home" - the family business featured in the show.

The second poster showed a woman with opaque eyes and parted lips, and a jar labelled: "In Eternum wound filler".

Nine people from London and Kent complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about the posters.

Channel 4 claimed the adverts had been shot to give the appearance they were for cosmetics, and because of that they would not be seen as shocking.

It also said the notion of advertising wound filler and embalming fluid made it obvious the advertisements were a parody.

Sites had also been carefully chosen that avoided hospitals, religious sites, care homes for the elderly, schools and other places where distress might be caused.

But the ASA said the models' pallid skin and glazed eyes made them look dead and were unsuitable for display.

And people who were unfamiliar with the show would not understand the reference to Fisher & Sons Funeral Home, it said.

The BBC's Torin Douglas
"The posters didn't refer to the programme directly"

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