BBC radio to air sex scenes and swearing in morning as part of celebration of feminist literature

Woman's Hour is running a series celebrating women's literature and plays

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The Independent Culture

The BBC is to air an uncensored adaptation of a ground-breaking feminist novel featuring swearing and graphic sex scenes on weekday mornings.

Fear of Flying by Erica Jong, which became a controversial bestseller in 1973, has been dramatised in five parts for Radio 4 as part of its celebration of women’s literature.

The story of a 29-year-old poet’s journey of self-discovery, its frank discussion of sexuality, marriage, psychology and femininity became influential in the development of second-wave feminism.

Erica Jong, pictured in 1976, has had her work analysed by numerous authors and theorists

Jong coined the phrase “zipless f***” in the novel, describing an “absolutely pure” sexual encounter between equal partners, with no ulterior motives.

The term is one of many using explicit phrases in the dramatisation, which will include graphic descriptions of a threesome, masturbation, reference to “finger f******” and the main character longing to be “filled up with a giant p**** spouting semen”, the Telegraph reports.

The programme, which will air during Woman’s Hour at 10.45am to 11am for five days starting on Monday, was dramatised by Annie Caulfield and directed by Emma Harding.

Viewers shocked by sight of a penis in BBC One's War and Peace

The 9pm “watershed”, stipulating that anything shown before that time should be suitable for children, does not apply to radio.

“Although a fixed Watershed does not apply to radio in the same way as to television, scheduling considerations must be taken into account in the UK,” the BBC’s website explains.

“For radio, the inclusion of sensitive topics and strong language depends less on time of day than on editorial merits and signposting of programme content.”

A spokesperson for Radio 4 said the inclusion of Jong’s language and literary exploration of sexual relationships was appropriate.

“Radio 4 is an adult network and the drama slot after Woman’s Hour is long established with listeners expecting it to deal with a full range of adult issues which, on occasion, and when appropriate to the situation, include a realistic reflection of strong language,” she continued.

Fear of Flying is recognised as one of the most seminal, culturally significant pieces of feminist writing from the past 50 years and its broadcast will be contextualised by discussions on Woman’s Hour and strong language warnings.”

Other writing featured in the series will include Fay Weldon’s The Life And Loves Of A She Devil and original plays following three generations of women.