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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 June, 2003, 23:55 GMT 00:55 UK
Norton rapped for Hoffman joke
Graham Norton
Norton's programme is often risque
Taste and decency watchdogs have upheld a complaint about a Graham Norton programme which featured a joke told by Hollywood star Dustin Hoffman.

The actor told the audience of Channel 4's V Graham Norton his favourite joke which featured television's most taboo word as the punchline.

The Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) found that the word had "potential for serious offence to viewers" and therefore "crossed acceptable boundaries".

"The broadcaster felt that there was a strong editorial imperative for allowing the joke to remain in the final show and that most viewers would have wanted to hear Dustin Hoffman's favourite joke," said the BSC.

The joke was left in the programme after it was cleared by Channel 4's director of programmes Tim Gardam.

The BSC also upheld a complaint of unfair treatment against ITV's Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.

In the programme, a member of the audience had to choose whether to send a couple to dinner at the Savoy or to a roadside cafe, called the Silver Service.

The owner of the cafe mentioned in the programme complained.


The BSC found that "tone of the item, comments made, and the presenters' reaction went beyond a humorous comparison and were unnecessarily derisory".

Ant and Dec
Presenters' reaction went 'too far'
A complaint by a listener about sexual innuendo on Sara Cox's BBC Radio 1 breakfast programme was also upheld.

"A lengthy exchange between the presenter and her colleague about the use of a microphone and the male anatomy... exceeded acceptable boundaries for the time of transmission," found the BSC.

ITV1's flagship current affairs programme, Tonight with Trevor McDonald, was also criticised for a programme which featured an interview with a pregnant teenager.

The interview was designed to discover how she had become pregnant, exploring what part factors such as parental responsibility, education and social deprivation played.

"It became apparent during the interview that ignorance played a large part in her becoming pregnant," reported the BSC.

The BSC found that the programme had failed to adhere to the commission's code which requires broadcasters to "preserve the dignity of individuals who should not be exploited needlessly".

It found that the interview with the teenager was "exploitative and prurient".

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10 Mar 03  |  Entertainment


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