More on the British Blasphemy Corporation

More on the British Blasphemy Corporation January 7, 2005

The BBC is totally out of touch. Hugh Hewitt might well ask if this might turn into the first significant case of blogger swarming to affect the UK. My thoughts are revolving about the potential for worldwide bloggers to have a devestating influence on a national dinosaur that prides itself in offering a “world service”

I have had some correspondence from them today which beggars belief and which I will quote in its fullness at the end of its post (you can check if your own email matched this one!)

It seems wrong that they cannot even answer simple points put to them but have to just bleat in a stock letter.

I actually wouldnt mind a stock letter if it covered any of the reasons why they think the code doent apply here and whether they would do the same to muslims for example.

Ironically they are accusing Christians of an “organised campaign” against them- I am sure that most of the emails they have received will have been written by people like me who have never complained about a TV programme before.

They seem to not be reading the emails but very aware of their volume. Of course if this takes off in a big way they won’t know what hit them. If just half my daily readers sent a quick email to the tune of “I know its none of my business as an American but I want you to know that if I was in the UK I would complain about this” would make the governors quake almost as much as after Hutton.

AS they are deluged they have at least decided to rewrite their stock response which still doesn’t speak about the specific clauses of the code that I believe they have breached. I am no evangelical campaigner and I certainly wouldnt picket a theatre. But TV is intrusive and can be watched by people accidentally.

I want to know if I or someone else can invoke the Blasphemy law in a private prosecution- would legal aid be supplied I wonder?

So to anyone at the BBC who is reading my blog here is what I sent you by email today I doubt a human being will read it from your inbox but at least one local BBC producer must have read this blog as I got a radio interview request by email from him today that I sadly can’t make.

Adrian’s reply to the BBC’s stock reply

Look, you are getting better but mark two of a stock email isnt going to wash.

For petes sake people might watch this who lost loved ones in the

tsunami and are in a fragile and vulnerable state. Do you really

think that they want to hear jokes about hell and hear Jesus Swearing

at the moment? What if there was someone so vulnerable that they

were very concerned about their relative being in hell? This kind of

tripe might have serious consequences.

I also have one simple question. Would you ever dream of putting on a

show where Mohammaded and Allah had a swearing match?

If the answer is “of course not that would cause offence” then why do

it to Christians?

The BBC’s second attempt at a stock reply

Thank you for your e-mail regarding the transmission of “Jerry Springer The Opera”, scheduled for 10pm this Saturday on BBC TWO.

We are sorry to hear that you have concerns

about the programme and hope we can give you some reassurance about both the BBC’s reasons for the planned broadcast and the nature of the production itself.

We are sensitive to matters of faith and religion in broadcasting, and have given careful consideration to the points you make. We are also aware that a number of other pre-transmission complaints have been received.

Since its launch in 1964 BBC TWO has had as part of its core public service remit a commitment to present work of innovation and excellence in the performing arts, and bring such pieces to a wider audience. “Jerry Springer The Opera” is a remarkable and groundbreaking piece of musical theatre which has won many prestigious theatrical awards and has received near-unanimous praise from critics. It has played at the National Theatre for a considerable time, and has been available to a wide public for more than two years with some 550 performances.

We believe it is a serious work that explores difficult ideas with a strong underlying moral purpose. Like much work of a satirical nature it sometimes takes its points to the edge, using strong language and imagery which some people may find difficult or even offensive. But it is important to stress that the target of the opera’s critique is not Christianity or religious belief, but the moral values of a society that acquiesces in reducing serious family conflicts and personal dilemmas to material for a television talk-show.

Freedom of expression is both a right and a responsibility. So we did not take the decision to bring “Jerry Springer The Opera” to television lightly, precisely because we knew it would be controversial. The point is not to be controversial for the sake of it but to offer a larger audience the opportunity to see a work of art which we believe deserves to be available to those who choose to watch it. It is scheduled for transmission well after the watershed at 10pm on BBC TWO, a less mainstream channel, which is there to present challenging work of all sorts. There will be clear information given about language and content: much of what you may have read in the press is inaccurate.

Our pledge to our audiences is not that we will never offend. That would be impossible to achieve, given the enormous range of views and tolerances on all manner of subjects, and would stifle creativity. But when we know we are likely to offend, or take audiences by surprise, then we give them the information that enables them to make an informed choice about whether or not to view.

We are conscious that the concerns you have raised are sincere and deeply felt, but hope that the information above gives you some understanding of our reasons for broadcasting the programme.


Steven Nyguist

BBC Information

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