These reports are case summaries of complaints which appeared to raise issues of substance in relation to the interpretation of the ITC Programme Code. Summary statistics of non-substantive complaints can be found in the full reports which are obtainable from the ITC.
Showing Complaints & Interventions Report for SEX COURT
Channel: Living TV
Date & time: Monday 2 June – Wednesday 18 June between 11pm and 12 midnight
Category: Other Taste & Decency
Complaint from: 1 viewer
Sex Court is a series originally made for, and shown on, the Playboy Channel, a specialist 'adult' encrypted service. The series had been edited for showing on the basic subscription channel, Living TV. The format parodies the established US mainstream series Judge Judy, in which disputes are adjudicated upon in a courtroom setting. In Sex Court , a 'Judge Julie', dressed provocatively, presides over a 'court' where couples (played by porn actors) purport to bring their sex problems to be settled. Judge Julie's 'sentence', requiring sexual activity of one sort or another, is then enacted before the 'court-room' jury and public gallery.
Mediawatch-UK informed the ITC that they had received complaints about the language, nudity and sexual conduct in the series.
Having viewed the relevant episodes, the ITC identified a number of sequences which it believed raised serious questions under the taste and decency requirements of its Programme Code, and asked Living TV for an explanation. The broadcaster replied that its programmes of a more adult nature were always well signposted and scheduled late at night well after the 9pm watershed. The channel was primarily aimed at women and the adult programmes shown tended to portray women in a dominant rather than submissive role, unlike much other 'soft porn' material. The audience profile for the series indicated over one third of female viewers and no children.
Whatever the nature of the audience profile, the ITC was in no doubt that certain sequences in a number of the episodes in the series, in their explicitness and duration on screen, went beyond what was acceptable on an unencrypted service, and the broadcaster acknowledged this. Furthermore, despite the editing undertaken, the series remained in its entirety ‘adult encrypted’ in style and purpose. That is, the discussion and portrayal of all manner of sexual activity was the series’ raison d’être and it had no other function than to titillate. Unlike certain other programmes which feature portrayal of sexual activity on ‘open’ channels, Sex Court had no investigative or documentary focus to justify it.
This case well illustrates that sex series made for encrypted channels are not easily transferrable to open channel viewing and require a degree of editing that goes beyond the removal or blurring of obviously explicit and inappropriate images.
Elements in certain episodes of the series, as originally broadcast by Living were seriously in breach of Sectin 1.1 (general requirement against material which offends against good taste or decency) of the ITC Programme Code. The broadcaster was formally directed not to repeat four of the episodes of the series in the form originally shown by the channel. The broadcaster’s re-editing of the complete series implies an acknowledgement that the series as a whole is unsuitable for repeating in that original form, a conclusion the ITC shares.