Warning over violence on TV

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THERE IS a case for putting back the television 'watershed' for adult programmes from 9pm to 10pm or later, as in France and Germany, Lord Rees-Mogg told the National Heritage Select Committee yesterday.

Lord Rees-Mogg, who recently stood down as chairman of the Broadcasting Standards Council, also said that 'slasher' movies, 'in which a man with a knife spends the whole film pursuing some unfortunate woman', should not be screened on television.

He warned the committee, which is looking at the future of the BBC before its Royal Charter comes up for renewal in 1996: 'Those people for whom violence gives them a kick, gives them a thrill, this (kind of film) may reinforce attitudes which are dangerous to society.'

Such violence had a 'coarsening and deadening effect' on the psychologically damaged, and the police had warned that rapists tended to watch violent pornography. 'There seems to be reasonable evidence that disturbed people are likely to be affected by violence,' he said. Violence was also an issue raised in relation to local news programming, and the BSC announced that it had drafted a revised code of practice to ensure greater care in the reporting of violence and crime. It warns: 'News bulletins, particularly those regionally or locally based, may unknowingly add to public anxiety by providing disproportionately numerous reports of crime in areas they are serving.'

The BSC's acting chairwoman, Dame Jocelyn Barrow, defended scenes of 'full frontal nudity' shown in the BBC drama Lady Chatterley last weekend. She told MPs that the series was screened after the 9pm watershed and depicted a 'well- known bit of literature'.

The select committee was opening a national debate on the future of the BBC. The Government is currently considering responses to its public consultation exercise.