Moralists primed as rebel artist goes back on TV

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The Independent Online
Fresh from her successful attempt to liven up a turgid arts show on Channel 4 on Tuesday night, conceptual artist Tracey Emin is back on the channel tonight in another discussion programme.

Ms Emin, who appeared on The Future of Painting as drunk as a Clyde welder with the language to match before walking off set, is to appear with the the novelist Will Self. Mr Self, who is hosting the show, is no stranger to controversy himself.

The show is Something of the Night, a pilot late-night discussion programme that will look at the week's events and will discuss whether Britain in the aftermath of the general election and the death of Diana is a more radical, less puritanical, place.

Mr Self did his best to test this thesis himself earlier this year when he was exposed as having smoked heroin on John Major's campaign plane during the election campaign, an incident that ultimately cost him his job on the Observer.

Just in case the combination of Ms Emin and Mr Self is not enough for television moralists the programme plans to air the video of the Prodigy's new single "Smack My Bitch Up". The video features scenes of full frontal nudity and drug-taking and has been banned by other broadcasters. The programme starts at 11pm.

To save the moralists the trouble of complaining about the show, Channel 4 has invited on as a guest Daily Mail columnist Paul Johnson, the man who labelled the channel's former chief executive Michael Grade "Britain's pornographer in chief". Presumably he will be able to object to the channel's output on the spot.

The other guests, the novelist Martin Amis, the journalist Nick Cohen and the celebrity therapist Susie Orbach will be hard-pressed to get a word in.

But Channel 4 is not taking as many risks as at first we might think. The programme was pre-recorded last night.