'Brass Eye' sketch did not breach guidelines

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The Independent Online

A sketch from the television comedy Brass Eyethat satirised talk-show confessions of child abuse did not breach rules on taste and decency, regulators ruled.

Six viewers had complained about the sketch, which parodied a confessional show presenter talking to a child in his studio audience about her experience of child abuse.

But the Independent Television Commission (ITC) ruled that the sketch, which was originally screened in 1997 and repeated in July this year, did not contravene rules on taste, decency or the involvement of children on television.

The repeat went out a week before the Brass Eye programme on the subject of paedophilia, which provoked a record number of complaints and has been censured by the ITC.

In this latest adjudication, released yesterday, the regulators decided that the Brass Eye creator, Chris Morris, parodied the presenter in such a way that viewers would "readily recognise the type of show host that is the target of his satire". They noted that the actress who played the girl was an adult much older than the 12 years she was playing.

Brass Eye's paedophile spoof sparked more than 1,200 complaints to regulators, a further 3,000 to Channel 4 and the condemnation of Beverley Hughes, a Home Office minister.