Daytime brawls on TV fall foul of ITC

BROADCASTERS HAVE fallen foul of television watchdogs for screening fight-filled episodes of the cult Jerry Springer Show during the day when children might be watching.

The Independent Television Commission agreed with viewers that three programmes in the confrontational American series, which features bouncers to separate angry guests, contained too much violence for pre-watershed slots. Two were screened on UK Living and one on ITV - both broadcasters have made the controversial series a cornerstone of their daytime schedules.

LWT said it has now assured the ITC no future daytime episode would contain similar violence.

The Jerry Springer Show has also run into controversy in the United States, where some participants have claimed they were urged to fake fights to make it more sensational.

Since ITV moved its weekday screenings of the show from a late-night slot to lunchtime the ITC received 86 complaints, many objecting to the series in principle. It has moved again and is now shown at 9.25am. Fifteen viewers complained about the Springer show subtitled "I'm Here To Stop Your Wedding", shown on ITV on 31 May this year, which contained "a higher level of physical aggression" than previous episodes in the slot.

"Typically, the entrance of a new participant was a cue for a physical attack, including one assault which appeared to draw blood," the ITC said.

The studio audience joined in the action with chants of "Je-rry, Je-rry," it said.

An LWT spokeswoman said it had been "rigorous" in checking that the programmes complied with guidelines, and had believed this particular episode would have been acceptable for lunchtime broadcast during the school term when few children could watch.