small screen : Heroes and villains

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Heroes and villains Another month has passed and we turn eagerly to the new Broadcasting Complaints Bulletin, that haven of illogicality where one complaining viewer has the opportunity to spoil the pleasure of millions. First, a few smug ones. Ms Johnson of London complained about an advert for the White Fish Authority which showed a man lying, frosted, in a deep freezer. Quite rightly, she was concerned that thousands of cerebrally-challenged viewers would unquestioningly imitate the ad, climb into their fridge, and there perish of hypothermia. No doubt some cynic would then try to blame these deaths on the Government slapping VAT on fuel. What would we do without these battlers for the public good? Complaint upheld. Next, a viewer from Buckinghamshire

complained about a trailer for The Real McCoy broadcast before the watershed, in which there was a sexually-suggestive song and "offensive sexual conduct (simulating an erection)''. Yes, it is the height of bad manners to simulate an erection when you haven't got one, isn't it? The song featured a male character asking a woman if she "felt like romance as he had something in his pants'' - but the BBC defended itself, saying that what he had "inside his pants" turned out to be merely... a synt hetic hamster. Who could possibly be offended by a synthetic hamster, apart from those fundamentalist Keep Rodents Live campaigners, and their furry little friends (left)? Looks like the Beeb was just digging itself a bigger hole, though - the complaint was sternly upheld. Finally, here's Mr Fee of Essex. His complaint was thrown out of court, but he does have a poetic imagination of almost Coleridgean proportions. He was hotly offended by "explicit sexual scenes" in a BBC drama, The Elephant's Foot. No thing toounusual about that, except that this was on the radio. A little bit of heavy breathing and Mr Fee conjures up wild visions of orgiastic abandon. Let's hope he never gets a call from the Princess of Wales.

Any questions?

Hey man, are you on-line? Are you, like, on the Net? Cool. Because now you can harrass your favourite politicians from the comfort of your own keyboard. Starting this Monday on BBC2 is a new parliamentary access programme, running from 8.15am to 9am Monday to Thursday every week while Parliament is in session. Each day you, the general public, will be invited to question key policy-makers by computer, video-phone, fax, or even just your humble Bakelite rotary-dial gizmo. The programme's calle d Westminster On-Line and it's presented by that nice man Andrew Neil (right), whom we don't see enough of on our screens at the moment. Richard Clemmow, the BBC's Editor of Live Political Programmes, says: "At a time when the question of the activities and accountability of politicians is under close scrutiny... the general public will be able to engage in the nation's political life in a significant way.'' Smart idea, guys. Here are the numbers. Phone: 0345 514614 (local rate from anywhere in the coun try); video-phone 0171-222 1801; Internet: westonline@bbc.co.uk.

Seeing stars Those, meanwhile, who fear receiving no obscenities through the post on that looming Valentine's Day could do worse than checking out the object of their desires on Love Signs (on release, £10.99), a handy astrological guide to amatory behaviour. Present ed by Sarah Bartlett, who belongs to the blonde, you-would-want-me-at-your-dinner-party school of astrologers, the video contains all sorts of invaluable information for those who want to "swirl together in bubbling geysers of love's most liquid energy ( right)": Arian men are rubbish in the sack (well, "the ram's egotism mean that he'll want to satisfy himself first and you second"), and Taureans are "sensualists, like a water-buffalo wallowing in the mud". Capricorn men are "shatterproofand biodegrada ble" and Aquarians are "the space travellers of love". Guess that explains why they don't have time to stick a stamp on an envelope, eh?

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