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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 January, 2005, 17:02 GMT
Springer protests pour in to BBC
David Soul in Jerry Springer - The Opera
David Soul plays talk show host Jerry Springer
The BBC has received more than 15,000 complaints about its decision to air the musical Jerry Springer - The Opera.

Campaigners Mediawatch UK have railed against the show going out on BBC Two on Saturday because of the high level of swearing.

There have also been thousands of complaints to TV watchdog Ofcom but it cannot respond ahead of the broadcast.

But the BBC has vowed to press ahead with the uncut broadcast, filmed at the Cambridge Theatre, London.

The BBC has admitted the show is "boundary-breaking" and that it will not appeal to some tastes.

But strenuous warnings about the language will be given before it goes out.

E-mail campaign

Church officials and groups have also called on people to join the protest because of what it sees as blasphemous scenes such as Jesus wearing a nappy.

Viewers have a right to see it. Those who are likely to be offended have a similar right to turn it off
Terry Sanderson, National Secular Society
The Right Reverend David Parsons of Highfield Road Baptist Church, Dartford, has been urging people to e-mail and call the BBC in an effort to change its mind about screening it.

Other Christian websites have been urging similar action through message boards, including contact details for the BBC.

But the National Secular Society defended the BBC's right to screen it, urging the BBC not to give in to "religious bullies".

Vice president Terry Sanderson said: "This organised attack is the latest of a series of attempts by religious interests to control what we can see or say in this country.

'Reflect society'

"Jerry Springer - The Opera is an award-winning show, and the fact it has run for two years in theatres demonstrates its popularity.

"It is the BBC's formal duty to reflect society and bring such plays to a wider audience who might not otherwise be able to see them at a theatre.

"Viewers have a right to see it. Those who are likely to be offended have a similar right to turn it off."

There have been exaggerations that the show contains more than 8,000 instances of swearing, although there is no doubting it does contain a large amount of swear words.

Mediawatch-UK director John Beyer has written to BBC chairman Michael Grade to complain about its decision to show it.

Christ film complaints

The BBC responded by saying: "As a public service broadcaster, it is the BBC's role to broadcast a range of programmes that will appeal to all audiences - with very differing tastes and interests - present in the UK today."

The number of comments to the BBC swamps the previous record holder for the most complaints - Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ.

The film about the life of Jesus Christ drew 1,554 complaints, according to the ITC.

Brass Eye's spoof on media coverage of paedophilia drew an equal number of complaints and compliments - 992 each.

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27 Apr 04 |  Entertainment
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24 Nov 03 |  Entertainment


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