Page last updated at 03:10 GMT, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Premier Inn 'horror' ad banned from children's network

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Lenny Henry in Premier Inn TV advertisment

A TV advert for Premier Inn parodying the horror film The Shining has been banned from children's programming.

The Advertising Standards Authority said the scene in which comedian Lenny Henry smashes a door with an axe was likely to frighten young viewers.

Henry thrusts his head through the door and says "Here's Lenny" in a spoof of the scene starring Jack Nicholson.

The hotel chain argued the scene was "light-hearted" and would be considered amusing by most viewers of any age.

Henry is later seen calmly declaring: "A bad night's sleep at some hotels can really make you grumpy."

'Menacing tone'

The ASA ruling follows complaints from eight viewers who saw the advert on children's channel Nick Jr and questioned its suitability.

The ASA upheld the complaints, saying Henry's aggressive behaviour and the menacing tone of the music was likely to frighten and distress youngsters.

"We also considered that, because young children would not understand the ad's reference to The Shining, they would be unlikely to appreciate the comic context in which the menacing Lenny appeared, and could find him threatening," a spokesperson said.

It ruled the commercial must not be shown again during or around programmes tailored towards children.

Premier Inn said it never intended for the ad to appear on a dedicated children's channel and blamed a technical error. It also denied the ad would cause most children harm or distress.

Clearcast, a body which approves ads for broadcast, said Henry was a household name and people would be used to seeing him acting out different comedy characters.

It also said the reference to the 1980 movie The Shining would be lost on children.



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