C4 caned for docu spoof

B'cast Standard Commish, Indie TV Commish critical of skein

LONDON – Pubcaster Channel 4 has been ordered to apologize on air for “Brass Eye Special,” comedian Chris Morris’ spoof TV show that outraged many British viewers with its satire of child abuse.

The show aired July 26 after C4 hit “Big Brother,” which despite its 10 p.m. slot includes families in its viewing demographic. A number of celebrities and politicians were duped into making ridiculous public service announcements.

The Independent Television Commission, which regulates commercial television in the U.K., criticized the program’s scheduling and the quality of the warnings before its broadcast. That view was echoed by Britain’s Broadcasting Standards Commission.

By law, C4 must broadcast the apology — but the terrestrial net remained defiant. C4 director of programs Tim Gardam described the show as “a fine example of a serious, innovative and authored program at a time when there is widespread criticism of the bland conformity of much of television.”

C4 chief exec and soon-to-be-head of USA Entertainment Michael Jackson added that the channel “would not hesitate to commission or transmit such a program again.”

The pubcaster received more than 2,000 complaints after the show. Scotland Yard’s Internet and Obscene Publications Unit also received complaints and the government warned.

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