TV shows encourage idiots and yobs, says BBC chief

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Television producers take advantage of "easily-led" working-class contestants to portray them as yobs and idiots in reality shows, a senior BBC executive will claim tonight.

In a speech at the University of St Andrews, Roger Mosey, who is tipped as a successor to the BBC director general Greg Dyke, will warn that British broadcasters are in danger of leading the world in television which encourages "hooliganism and loutish" behaviour.

He attacks "middle-class producers and commissioners who use less-educated and less-sophisticated 'real people' - the phrase drips with condescension - to make bad television programmes in the hope of getting ratings."

His targets are British-made imitators of the US show Jackass, in which people are encouraged to perform outlandish dares in exchange for fame. He will single out Dirty Sanchez, made by British MTV but due to be shown on Channel 4, and Wudja? Cudja?, shown on on ITV1 and ITV2.

The ITV show paid a man £1,000 to be stripped to his underwear, tied to a lamp-post and have worms tipped over him, and shoppers were asked to bare their bottoms on camera.

Channel 4's website says Dirty Sanchez will show "three mad mates from the Welsh valleys and one warped Londoner... playing naked paintball, lying on beds of drawing pins, drinking their urine and downing four litres of water only to deny themselves lavatory relief".

Mr Mosey, head of BBC Television News, will say: "I'm intrigued to know how the producers who give money to people who take their clothes off outside Sainsbury's would explain to their kids why flashers are a bad thing."

Channel 4 said Mr Mosey's remarks were a diversionary tactic while the BBC negotiates the renewal of the charter which protects its licence fee. ITV refused to comment.

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