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
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: PR Account Manager / AM

£20-30K(DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a PR Account M...

Guru Careers: Account Manager / Account Executive

Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: One of the UK’s largest and most s...

Guru Careers: Marketing and Communications Manager

£Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing and Co...

Guru Careers: Digital Designer / Interactive Designer

£ Highly Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: A Digital Designer / Interactive Des...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence