TV producer hits out at BBC `quota' on swearing

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The Independent Online
Television executives at the BBC have told one of Britain's top television producers to remove four swear words from a new BBC1 drama.

Kenith Trodd, who made Karaoke and Cold Lazarus, has been allowed to keep three swear words in his new football film The Fix to be shown next week.

But he hit out at the corporation's "unofficial quota" keeping and is furious at what he calls the BBC's nonsensical attitude to swearing.

Mr Trodd says BBC1 executives are too quick to censor dramas they believe could offend the public.

His latest work, to be screened on 4 October, centres on the 1963 football betting scandal. The comedian Steve Coogan stars as a tabloid journalist.

Mr Trodd's first version used strong dressing room language and featured seven expletives.

"They [the executives] never know their own minds from month to month. When we made the film it was cleared all the way up the ladder," he said.

"Now long after the film is finished they announce they want all of the f-words out.

"It's not overdone and all of them occur in natural places within context. Time moves on and people's attitudes change. I remember when the word we couldn't use was `bloody'.

"It is a very BBC1 problem because Our Friends In The North and Holding On on BBC2 have swearing in some profusion. It is a silly preoccupation and a neurosis on the part of senior executives.

"We have to go back to the cutting rooms and do it which will cost several thousand pounds to re-voice and re-cut," Mr Trodd added.

A spokesman for BBC drama said: "A number of expletives have been removed from The Fix, this is part of the normal editorial process which takes account of the wider audience on BBC1."