Channel 4 issues `clean-up' warning over Evans show

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A flurry of four-letter profanity on Chris Evans's Friday evening television show has prompted a "clean up or else" warning from Channel 4.

The programme, TFI Friday - which ironically takes its name from the saying "thank f*** it's Friday" - is produced by Evans's own company, Ginger Productions, and attracts an audience of 3 million.

Channel 4 officials are said to be generally pleased. However, an outburst of four-letter words by Sean Ryder, singer with the group Black Grape, during a live recording last Friday, has prompted Channel 4 to demand that Ginger Productions implements "safety measures". Channel 4 said: "Bad language at this hour [6pm] is unacceptable and we are having conversations with the production company to see what we can do to stop it happening again."

Ryder's interview for Friday's programme was pre-recorded and without bad language. But the singer went on to swear up to six times during a live version of the Sex Pistols' single "Pretty Vacant".

The safeguard demanded would operate when guests deviate from the straight and narrow of the Queen's English. In the meantime, Ginger Productions have barred Ryder from appearing "live" again. The company said: "If Sean Ryder is going to be uncontrollable, that's something we will have to take account of in future."

Despite the black mark, John Willis, Channel 4's director of programmes, praised TFI Friday saying: "It really kicks open the door on the weekend." However, he branded Ryder's performance as "very serious".

Chris Evans has been warned that it is the last time something like this can happen. He realised Ryder's act was worrying and anxiously apologised during the programme. Channel 4 also broadcast its own apology at the end of the programme.

The Independent Television Commission, the watchdog body which oversees programme content, is likely to take a dim view if Channel 4 allows TFI Friday to continue unchecked after three previous swearing incidents.