Right of Reply: Jeremy Gibson

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The Independent Culture
The executive producer of `Adult Lives' and head of features at BBC

Bristol replies to

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's

criticisms of the new

television series

IN HER article this week, prompted by the forthcoming BBC2 series Adult Lives, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown seems to want to keep serious discussion of sex in the closet, for fear that, by opening it, we are all somehow "demeaned".

No doubt we'd all like to turn our back on the shameful fact that we have the highest rates in Europe for teenage pregnancies and unsuccessful marriages, but surely it's best that we air these issues openly. With Adult Lives, the BBC has a role to play, challenging us to consider actions and attitudes.

The truth is that Adult Lives is a serious narrative study of people's emotional and psychological responses to sex and sexuality in Britain today. By observing people's real lives rather than airing their superficial thoughts, the series challenges us to consider our personal codes of morality.

The series explores many other issues, including the importance of fidelity in our relationships, the need for improved sexual awareness among teenagers, the enduring need for safe sex messages in the gay community and the search for sexual self-determination amongst both the disabled and older people.

We don't impose a view but aim to discover what's there under the surface and present it in a way which is relevant and challenging. At the same time, we want to encourage the audience to look at itself and ask itself questions about sexuality. Anyone affected by the issues raised will be able to seek further information and counselling through a BBC Action Line. I think this is true public service.

Like Yasmin, I too am a parent seeking to protect my children from society's ills, but I'd rather that they asked questions at any age than grow up in ignorance.