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Last Updated: Friday, 4 March, 2005, 12:14 GMT
Streets of Vice sparks outcry
Are prostitution and porn really suitable subjects for a daytime TV programme at 9.15am? Not according to the hundreds of people who have contacted the BBC to complain about Britain's Streets of Vice.

Sally Magnusson
Sally Magnusson presented the four-part series Streets of Vice

"Am I the only one that thinks a mature women sitting on a bed moaning and saying 'give it to me' not the right thing to show to under-fives?" viewer Peter Malin wrote in to ask.

Set over four days on BBC One, Streets of Vice looked at the difficult subjects of prostitution, the sex industry and drug addiction in Britain today and was presented by journalist Sally Magnusson.

Before it was broadcast, BBC Daytime Controller Alison Sharman said: "Challenging the perceptions of daytime television has been one of my most important focuses since taking on [this] role.

"The films have been carefully filmed and edited to ensure they are appropriate to be transmitted during the day."

But for many of you, the series was not fit to be broadcast before the 9pm watershed, regardless of the "careful editing".

Andrea Cairns said: "I would like to voice my disgust on what I saw this morning regarding Britain's Streets of Vice.

Anna Span
British porn director Anna Span appeared in the series

"I cannot believe that the BBC have aired this graphic programme during the time that my child and I are at home watching TV.

"I understand this is part of everyday life for some people but I believe there is a time and place for such programmes and not while I'm eating my breakfast with my four-year-old daughter."

Sick and disgusting

One scene which particularly upset viewer Peter O'Malley was a man injecting heroin into his groin.

He said it was "totally unacceptable", adding: "The BBC have really let people down. It was an unsuitable time of the day to show such a programme."

And Florence Gardener added: "I understand why programmes likes this have to be shown - but after the watershed please."

Other people's comments ranged from "sick" to "just plain disgusting".

In response, a BBC spokesman said: "All programmes on our domestic television channels broadcast before 9pm should be suitable for a general audience, which includes children.

"However it is possible to deal with challenging subjects provided the treatment of them is considered very carefully so as to be suitable for a wider audience.

"BBC daytime programmes have a successful track record in tackling subjects as diverse as bullying, the legal system and the award winning series on elderly abuse.

"This, combined with The Afternoon Play and extensive coverage of live news events, has proved crucial in bringing new and intelligent programmes to our audiences during the day.

"The issues covered this week in Britain's Streets of Vice are legitimate areas of public concern. We apologise if the programmes caused any offence.

"This was certainly not our intention. BBC presentation flagged up the nature of the content of each programme before it was transmitted and we worked with a number of agencies and experts to ensure these sensitive subjects were approached in a suitable way for a daytime audience."


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