Defiant Channel 4 to re-repeat 'Brass Eye'

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The Independent Online

Channel 4 is to screen a further repeat of the controversial Brass Eye spoof documentary on paedophilia.

Barely a month after apparently ignoring hundreds of viewers' complaints by broadcasting the maverick satirist Chris Morris's programme two nights running, station chiefs are planning to show it again. Meanwhile, Talkback, the independent company which produced the show, is considering releasing it on video.

The Brass Eye debate was re-ignited by last week's decision by television regulators to give the channel only mild reprimands. The Independent Television Commission censured it for causing "exceptional and gratuitous offence" by not giving viewers adequate warning before the show, while the Broadcasting Standards Commission ruled that the programme had caused some people "genuine distress".

But both watchdogs upheld the station's right to produce challenging shows, with the ITC demanding only an on-screen apology for its failure to give a clearer advance indication of Brass Eye's content.

Mr Morris said yesterday that he had no particular desire to "chuck any more dirty oil on to the already ridiculous inferno that still surrounds this issue". Channel 4 confirmed that it will transmit the programme again.

The programme drew complaints even before it was shown as speculation mounted over its content. While its broadcast drew a raft of complaints, anger intensified when the following day Channel 4 repeated the programme, which featured a succession of provocative though also absurd and, for many, hilarious scenes.

Among those who spoke out against the show were Phil Collins and the comedian Richard Blackwood, who believed they were taking part in a genuine documentary. The programme received 3,079 complaints, although 2,056 viewers subsequently sent Channel 4 messages of support.

It was also criticised by the Home Secretary David Blunkett, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell and Child Protection Minister Beverley Hughes, who described it as "unspeakably sick" without having seen it. Now she can.

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