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Page last updated at 17:05 GMT, Monday, 26 January 2009
TV swearing level 'unacceptable'

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Over half of people think that there is currently too much bad language on TV and radio, a poll commissioned for the BBC's Panorama programme suggests.

Fifty-five percent of those polled said swearing is at an "unacceptable" level.

Sixty-eight percent of those questioned said that swearing on programmes had increased in the last five years.

The poll was conducted for Panorama's Have I Got Bad Language for You? in which comedian Frank Skinner looks at taste and decency in UK broadcasting.

The programme, to be aired on Monday evening, asks whether broadcasters have fallen below the standards demanded of them, or if they are simply reflecting society's demands for more open programming.

Pranks calls

It comes in the wake of a row over offensive calls made by presenters Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand on Brand's BBC Radio 2 show.


The pair left lewd voicemail messages for 78-year-old Andrew Sachs about the Fawlty Towers actor's granddaughter, Georgina Baillie.

Skinner, who has experimented with dropping swearing from his stand up comedy routine, spoke to both broadcasters and performers for the episode of Panorama.

Comedienne Joan Rivers expressed concern over censorship saying:

"It pulls you back so much, it makes you so fearful that you're scared to do a step in any direction that ordinarily I would have done to be funnier."

Difficult balance

However, comedian Al Murray said that he feels that the audience does need to feel respected by performers:


"You are in someone's home and you are a guest, and they have chosen to watch you, and it's a situation of trust. And you don't want to abuse that trust."

In his view, swearing on television should be "very, very carefully weighed up".

As part of its research for the programme Panorama commissioned a poll asking questions about people's attitudes to bad language on terrestrial television and on radio.

A total of 1001 people over the age of 16 were questioned in the telephone poll, carried out by GfK NOP between 16-18 January.

Of those polled, 58% said that broadcasters do not take enough notice of audience views in the amount of swearing on TV and radio, as opposed to 39% who said that they do.


However, 55% of those questioned, said that they thought the 9pm watershed, after which more adult content can be shown on television, is being effectively enforced by broadcasters.

Forty one percent said that they did not think the watershed was being effectively enforced.

Panorama: Have I Got Bad Language For You? Monday 26 January at 8.30pm on BBC One

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