Channel 5 banks on diet of sex

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The Independent Online
CHANNEL 5 stuck to its notorious formula of football, films and sex when it unveiled its autumn programme schedule yesterday.

The channel, which has just begun to make a profit, hopes that programmes about lingerie, the female orgasm and "people who have walked on the wild side of sexual convention" will help to take its ratings above 7 per cent of the total audience for the first time.

In the first week in September, the channel plans to air the Hollywood blockbuster Independence Day, as well as England's crucial Euro 2000 qualifying match against Poland and a documentary on the mechanics of the female orgasm. Research has shown the channel that putting all its ratings winners in one week can lift the channel's audience for the following few weeks.

Channel 5 was criticised by the Broadcasting Standards Commission earlier this year for transmitting soft porn films late at night, but the channel remains defiant. "The BBC does The Human Body as a science documentary, we do one specific part of it," said Dawn Airey, Channel 5's programming director, describing the female orgasm programme.

The channel will also air the most comprehensive documentary to be made on the Moors Murders. The three-part documentary includes the last interview with Ann West, the mother of Lesley-Ann Downey, one of the victims. In an interview given three weeks before her death, Mrs West describes the content of the infamous tape of her daughter being tortured by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.

"We made the decision not to interview Hindley," said Channel 5's commissioning editor, Michael Atwell. "But we do have her 1986 confession relayed to us by Detective Chief Superintendent Peter Topping - the policeman who persuaded her to confess - and we also have the contents of the tape described by Lesley-Ann's mother."