Sex performance 'makeover' show is new BBC boss's parting gift to Channel 4

Mark Thompson, the new director-general of the BBC, is leaving a controversial legacy behind him as he leaves his old as chief executive of Channel 4. He has approved a series in which couples will be filmed having sex, with their performance assessed by experts.

The Sex Inspectors will be screened in the autumn, after Mr Thompson takes up his BBC role. The series will be modelled on The Dinner Party Inspectors, in which experts on etiquette gave critical feedback after observing the interactions of diners.

The production company Talkback, which is behind both shows, has begun recruiting couples to tackle problems including differences in sex drive and difficulties created by having children.

The programme could heighten fears that Mr Thompson, working with new BBC chairman Michael Grade, will erode values at the corporation. Mr Grade was once branded "pornographer in chief" when he was in charge at Channel 4.

Couples featured in The Sex Inspectors will be guided by relationship guru and body language expert Tracey Cox, from BBC2's Would Like to Meet, and the American sex columnist and broadcaster Michael Alvear. The finer points of what viewers will see are still to be finalised.

Daisy Goodwin, the editorial director at Talkback, said: "Everybody thinks other people are having better sex than they do - it's one of the world's great myths.

"This is partly to reassure them that they're not and also to show them some things that might make things a little better. There will be footage that the inspectors analyse, but there will be pixellation. This isn't a porn show by another name."

Commenting on the programme, the MP Gerald Kaufman, chairman of the Commons media select committee, said: "It sounds absolutely gross and you won't catch me watching it."

The shadow Secretary of State for Media, Julie Kirkbride, said she hoped the programme did not reflect what may be commissioned when Mr Thompson arrives at the BBC. "Channel 4 does have a remit for slightly unusual minority programming, and I suppose this falls under that category, but I certainly wouldn't expect to see something like this on the BBC. It amazes me that someone would want to participate, but as long as people abide by the normal laws of decency, it's up to them."

A Talkback spokeswoman said it was too early to say what viewers would see. "It's not even in the edit suite so we can't say you are definitely going to see sex ... It is supposed to be educational and informative, it's not about titillation," she said.

Mr Thompson's successor at Channel 4 is expected to be appointed within two months. Frontrunners include Kevin Lygo, Channel 4's director of television, and Dawn Airey, a former chief executive at Five and currently the managing director of Sky Networks.

Other controversial shows on Channel 4 include Queer As Folk, a drama about the relationships of gay men which featured a number of frank sex scenes, including one of a man sleeping with a 15-year-old boy. Pornography: The Musical showed porn stars singing about their experiences in the sex industry and footage of them preparing to work. The soap Brookside broke a taboo with a lesbian kiss on prime time TV in 1993.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Lead Systems Developer / Software Developer

COMPETITIVE + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Lead Systems Developer / Sof...

Recruitment Genius: Social Media & Engagement Manager - French or German Speaker

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: The world's leading financial services careers...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive - 6 Months Contract

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Digital Marketing Executive...

Guru Careers: Account Manager / Senior Account Manager

40-45K DOE + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Manager / Senior Account Manag...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future