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Last Updated: Monday, 3 October 2005, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
U-turn on Gervais prostate advert
Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervasis' ad tries to use humour to raise awareness
A radio watchdog has scrapped a ruling limiting transmission of a prostate cancer advert featuring comedy star Ricky Gervais to after 9pm.

However, the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre insists a "squish" noise is removed from the advert.

The Prostate Cancer Charity ad features a doctor inserting a finger inside a man's rectum to check for cancer.

The charity, which is aiming to raise awareness of prostate cancer, welcomed the u-turn.

The Prostate Cancer Charity welcomes its review of scheduling advice
John Neate

The RACC recommendations on time are only a guide, but refusal to follow them can put stations at risk if they are reported to the Advertising Standards Authority.

John Neate, chief executive of the Prostate Cancer Charity, said the original ruling had created a "public outcry".


He said: "Whilst The Prostate Cancer Charity is disappointed that the RACC has not relented on its decision regarding the removal of the sound effect in the advert, it welcomes its review of scheduling advice.

"In light of public comments, the RACC has now decided to leave the precise scheduling to the individual radio stations who are airing the advertisement, free of charge, effectively removing the 9pm to 6am restrictions.

"Although concerned at the RACC's initial decision, the charity is grateful that it has responded so rapidly to public disappointment."

Mr Neate said the charity had tried to use humour to raise awareness about the condition which kills 10,000 men a year.

However, the RACC said the "squish" noise had to be taken out as it was too graphic.

Ricky Gervais had called the original ruling "pathetic".

On the change of heart, he said: "It's a good decision, and it's encouraging to know that within boundaries and with the listeners' best interests at heart, a body as powerful as this is still flexible and able to listen to public demand."

Every year over 30,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The disease is now the most common cancer diagnosed in men - every hour at least one dies from it.

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