Outcry fails to stop ITV hypnosis programme

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The Independent Online
The public outcry over the dangers of hypnosis does not seem to be deflecting commercial television from a successful new format.

ITV has commissioned a third series of The Hypnotic World of Paul McKenna and also plans to run a documentary about his techniques and the "science of hypnosis" in March.

Stuart Prebble, controller of factual programmes at the ITV Network Centre, said yesterday it was a "sensible documentary, looking at the part hypnosis has played in areas such as pain control", but was not intended to answer criticism., since it had been commissioned before the alarm about potential dangers.

He said the television programmes had always stayed within strict guidelines, while criticism centred on hypnosis in stage shows. However, there has been uneasiness within the industry about the programme, not least because ITV seeks to sell itself as a mainstream provider of popular quality programmes. It has seemed to be part of the new genre of people-based "infotainment" programming.

Paul McKenna became a household name and overnight sensation with his first ITV series a year ago, made by the London weekday franchise-holder, Carlton. It was originally broadcast at 8.30pm. The second series, this autumn, was broadcast at 7pm to attract children and picked up 9 million viewers.