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Monday, March 22, 1999 Published at 12:11 GMT


Sooty criticised by TV watchdog

Sooty in his early days with Harry Corbett

Cuddly glove puppet Sooty has been censured by the television watchdog - as have two adult series on sex and an accidental broadcast from a pornography channel.

The Independent Television Commission - which rules on complaints from the public - censured the Sooty children's television show for showing the characters sniffing at medicine-like bottles.

[ image: Mischievous: Sooty is renowned for his pranks]
Mischievous: Sooty is renowned for his pranks
The watchdog received 11 complaints from members of the public and agreed that the story line in a November 1998 episode of Sooty and Co involving the bottles displayed "dangerous behaviour".

The bottles contained essential oils and the presenter was also seen swallowing a homoeopathic pill.

In its ruling, the ITC said that the programme makers had been "unwise" and the scene could easily have led to copycat actions from children.

Reacting to the report, a spokeswoman for Granada Television, which makes Sooty and Co, said: "The intention had been to introduce children to fragrances, not to encourage them to play with bottles.

"But we accept the ITC's findings."

[ image: Jerry Springer: Interrupted by porn]
Jerry Springer: Interrupted by porn
The watchdog also criticised two series - one on ITV and the other on Channel 5 - for explicit sex scenes, even though they were preceded by warnings to viewers.

Too explicit

Channel 5's documentary series Sex And Shopping, aired at 10.50pm local time, drew complaints from 11 viewers.

The 13-part series on the pornography business was "unacceptably explicit for transmission at any time", the ITC said.

Vice: The Sex Trade, a series broadcast on ITV in November at 9pm local time, drew more complaints.

It angered 53 viewers who thought it was uncritical of the sex trade, while another 31 viewers had complaints upheld about the programme's trailer, which had originally been broadcast before 9pm.

The ITC also upheld seven complaints against adult cable channel Television X which accidentally interrupted The Jerry Springer Show, which was being shown on the Living cable channel, with five minutes from a sex film.

In addition, four complaints about the violence contained in a January edition of the ITV drama series The Vice was upheld.

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