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Thursday, 24 June, 1999, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK
Lakes complaints rejected
john simm
John Simm plays Danny in The Lakes
A TV watchdog has received 154 complaints about BBC One's torrid drama The Lakes, more than Channel 4's controversial Queer As Folk.

But the Broadcasting Standards Commission rejected the complaints against the programme, created by Jimmy McGovern, though it upheld most of the 138 complaints about Queer As Folk.

Shown for three months from January, the second series of The Lakes was "stronger and darker" than its predecessor - featuring sexual violence, betrayal and rape, and a Roman Catholic priest's relationship with a parishoner. The series is set in the English Lake District.

The commission said the BBC recognised the drama "would not have appealed to all tastes", adding Jimmy McGovern had a reputation for challenging themes.

'A nightmarish world'

It said: "The amount of sexual conflict, nudity and strong language had been no more than necessary to the drama's depiction of a nightmarish world dominated by lust, self-interest and venegeance.

kaye wragg
Kaye Wragg played Lucy, the victim of a gang rape in The Lakes
"Such a portrayal of a deeply-fallen humanity had not been inappropriate for transmission on a Sunday," it said.

It added the programme "had not exceeded acceptable boundaries for the day and time of transmission".

Meanwhile, 119 of the 138 complaints about Queer As Folk were about the first episode, which showed the seduction of a 15-year-old youth by a promiscuous 29-year-old.

Commission 'troubled' by seduction

Channel 4 said it "was as valid a subject for television drama as any other illegal act, such as murder, theft and blackmail, watched by millions on television every week".

It also added the series was "far from unquestioning about the relationship".

The BSC did not think the scenes condoned or encouraged paedophilia, but said it was "troubled by the explicit and graphic nature of the sexual encounter" and upheld the complaints.

A depiction of three-in-a-bed sex in the drama also "exceeded acceptable boundaries", as did one incident of bad language, but it said drug use featured in the series had been realistic rather than glamorous.

The BSC - which can adjudicate on complaints about TV and radio, but cannot impose sanctions against broadcasters - added it had also received a number of letters praising the series.

Earlier this week the Independent Television Commission, which regulates commercial television, reported Queer As Folk had attracted a record 160 complaints.

However, it ruled it had not breached the ITC's programme code, but it "had concerns about the celebratory nature of the first episode".

See also:

22 Jun 99 | Entertainment
Gay drama rapped over sex warnings
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