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Bushell On The Box: X-rated? No overrated.

Byline: Garry Bushell

MANY viewers think TV executives are arrogant creeps who are totally out of touch with majority opinion.

It's far worse than that. It's not that they don't know how viewers think. Most of them couldn't give a monkey's.

X-Rated - The TV They Tried To Ban was 90 chest-beating minutes of C4 saying: Stuff you, we know best.

Anyone who objected to anything the great god TV has inflicted on us was written off as an up-tight, small-minded bigot.

Armando Iannucci said complainers were sad loners who sit at home reading junk mail. David Quantick called them "halfwits" and "weirdos with nothing else to do". The contempt was palpable. Yet lumped together, most of their great "ground-breaking" TV moments seemed as shallow as the Dingle gene pool.

There was the sicko who married his horse, morons snogging grannies on The Word, the infantile Girlie Show, that creep who performs live autopsies, endless swearing...is this junk really anything to be proud of?

Eton-educated producer Will MacDonald clearly can't tell the difference between productions that caused controversy but had genuine merit (The Life of Brian, some Dennis Potter) and overrated tosh like Jerry Springer The Opera.

The Brass Eye Paedophilia Special didn't work on any level. As satire it was muddled, unfunny and poorly executed. Besides, Chris Morris got the wrong target. Paedophilia is a scandal. Who are the real villains? The press...or liberal MPs, weak judges and permissive values?

Queer As Folk made headlines by showing a grown man having graphic gay sex with an under-age schoolkid. But was it great drama? Strip away the controversy, and the series was jerry-built. It claimed to reflect reality but ended up as wish fulfilment. A fairy story.

TV always portrays a gay lifestyle as glamorous. Gay men are saintly, stylish or funny, never tedious, seedy or predatory. You won't find a gay fella played as a lusting pervert like say Bobby Ockton in Corrie.

DRAMATIC truth means writing about What Is, not what you think Should Be.

The Word had its good points (mostly the bands they booked), but tragically the mentality of dimwits doing anything to get on TV has become the norm. We're living in a Word culture and it stinks.

X-Rated showed that C4 still has some growing up to do. Not everything that upsets viewers is TV gold.

Far too much telly sets out deliberately to shock and upset by busting taboos without a thought for the coarsening effect it has on all of us.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Mar 13, 2005
Words:420
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