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Bacteria 04-November-2008 13:40

New ITV boss says ‘cut bad language’
ITV boss says ‘cut bad language’

ITV’s executive chairman Michael Grade (pictured, left) admitted that there’s a revolution taking place in broadcasting. He spoke Nov 3 at a Broadcasting Press Guild event in London and said that Saturday’s edition of top-rated X-Factor talent show was winning an extra 1m “long-form video play” downloads.

“Unique users to hit a record 8.3m during October, up 42% y-o-y.” Grade added that web-downloading had created “a fundamental shift in viewing habits” in TV.

However, he also said it was time for broadcasters to be ultra-careful about the use of bad language, especially ahead of the so-called “watershed” for mainstream UK networks (which is 9pm). Grade was specifically addressing the extremely topical problems being faced at the BBC over the past 10 days which have seen two highly-paid and talented comedians being placed on suspension, and a senior network controller resigning, over the use of bad language and poor taste during transmissions.

“This is nothing new,” said Grade. “I’ve been at the receiving end [of complaints] when I was at Channel 4 to drop [soap opera] Brookside, because it was a ‘bit common’. Same with [cutting edge comedy show] The Word at Channel 4. There is always this tension between generations. I remember people’s horror at The Young Ones on BBC2, and Alf Garnett [on BBC1].

“In this particular case, this was not a marginal call but [Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross, the comics in question] had strayed well beyond the margins of what is acceptable. It was horrible and indefensible on any terms. We do not want to restrain the use of bad language under every circumstance. But I don’t think we take enough care over the use of four-letter words. It used to be that you needed a very senior sign-off before you could use that particular word. Clearly, not enough consideration is given to the very large portion of the audience who do not want to hear such words. It seems to me that [use of bad language] is rather indiscriminate.”

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