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Last Updated: Friday, 1 September 2006, 15:05 GMT 16:05 UK
Charity attacks Five brothel show
Jodi Albert in Respectable
Eaves says it has gathered a petition containing 1,500 names
Five has been branded "way out of line" by a women's charity for broadcasting a sitcom set in a suburban brothel.

Respectable breaks Ofcom guidelines by portraying prostitution as "glamorous" and "risk-free" and should be taken off-air, action group Eaves has said.

The show was created by late comedy writer Harry Thompson and is a love story between an unhappily married man and a would-be TV star.

A Five spokeswoman said the channel took the subject matter "seriously".

Its publicity material describes Respectable as following "a group of young women working together, squabbling, chatting and bonding, like any other workforce".

It continues: "Like thousands of brothels throughout Britain, it's outwardly respectable, it's twee - and it could be next door to you."

The six-part series stars former Hollyoaks actress Jodi Albert and began on Wednesday.

Petition

"This sitcom completely misrepresents the sex industry by depicting prostitution as a glamorous, easy and risk-free way to make money," said the charity's chief executive, Denise Marshall.

"In our 30 years of working with women, we have not found that women get involved in prostitution because they want to extend their shoe collection, but because of a background of poverty, abuse and drug dependency."

"As campaigners who work with real women, we are not going to leave this alone."

The organisation said it had gathered a petition with 1,500 names.

It has written to Five, Ofcom and Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell to ask for the programme to be pulled.

"Respectable will perpetuate the myth that not only is buying sex acceptable, rather than degrading and exploitative, but that it can be fun and enjoyable for the women involved and add glamour to their lives," Ms Marshall added.

'Real-life'

A spokeswoman for Five said Respectable is not intended to be as an in-depth investigation of prostitution.

"In the interests of credibility and authenticity, we took the subject seriously and researched it thoroughly," she said in a statement.

"Indeed many of the situations depicted in the series are derived from the real-life stories of people who have worked in the sex trade.

"However, as would be obvious to anyone watching it, this is not a documentary, it is a comedy, and we would expect it to be viewed as such."




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