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Double standards for reserved Brits; We've been sniggering at rude postcards and making smutty remarks for centuries. Why?

Byline: PAUL ENGLISH

RUDE BRITANNIA

MON-WED, BBC4, 9pm

So we're a country of stiff upper lips who just love sipping afternoon tea while keeping ourselves to ourselves, are we?

No. And we haven't been, Not for a long time.

In fact, longer than you might think.

This week, BBC4 takes a look behind the curtains of the uncouth, revealing that far from being a nation of starched collars, restraint and decorum, we have actually been sniggering at innuendo and drawing dirty pictures as far back as the 1700s.

This fun and factual series will follow the enduring and spiky battle over four centuries between the rude and the prude and charts how a mischief-making people have always demanded their right to be rude.

From the recent sketches of Little Britain to the poetry of Jonathan Swift via the seaside postcards and the tawdry celebration of British humour that is Viz, there's no getting away from our fascination with double entendre.

Monday's opening episode looks at the beginnings of Rude Britannia in the early 18th century and travels through the years of the Georgian age to Queen Victoria in 1837.

Here is a Britain openly, gloriously and often shockingly rude. Back in the olden days many artists were coming up with all manner of lewdy depictions.

And as for theatre, you can forget about today's sniffy responses to folk rustling their sweetie wrappers and mobile phones going o halfway through a performance.

The kind of stuff being offered up by the likes of John Gay and Henry Fielding would make your hair curl.

Tuesday's look back reveals the story of music hall, an early form of variety theatre which was as bawdy as it could possible be.

It also investigates the moral outrage that surrounded the arrival of photography in the Victorian age, where anyone who had the money to buy 'dirty' pictures could, if it tickled their fancy.

And on Wednesday, the series delves into the more recent past, getting ticklish about Little Britain, Carry On and Spitting Image.

There's also a look at the innuendoladen content of radio programme Round The Horne.

CAPTION(S):

WHAT'S UP DOC... Barbara Windsor, Jim Dale and Hattie Jacques in Carry on Nurse
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 12, 2010
Words:369
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