TV channel offers 'good sex' advice

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'THAT'S an orgasm, isn't it?' said a female voice, after several seconds of a happy wailing sound. The screen was then filled with a sketch of pink, bobbing, talking phalluses, to illustrate an item about impotence. This led into a discussion of the perennial question: does size matter?

Carlton Television, which takes over the coveted franchise for the London area on 1 January, yesterday unveiled its programmes for next year. Given top billing in its factual programme line-up was The Good Sex Guide, a seven-part frank adult series, designed for 10.40pm, starting on 11 January.

Where previous programmes such as Channel 4's Sex Talk have pioneered plain speaking about sexual problems, this programme is aimed at a larger audience: it mixes information and interviews with comic sketches about penis size, female orgasms and oral sex techniques.

It also looks at sexual attraction and body language, by filming 10 people who have never met before at a dinner party. One woman so disliked the person she was next to she walked out. There is plenty of nudity, but the series steers clear of the explicit shots to be found in sex videos.

'It is like doing a cooking series, but never showing the cake,' the producer, Vicki Barass, said. 'One of my biggest overall impressions was that men really worry about sex. And about the size of their penises. Every single man on the crew making the series said they had used a tape measure.'

The programmes are hosted by Margi Clarke, the Liverpudlian- born star of Letter to Brezhnev. She said yesterday of the series: 'It is part of the oral sexual revolution, as in the spoken word.'

Carlton's mainstream network proposals are otherwise conventional: a nostalgic Fifties rock'n'roll drama, Head over Heels, a series called Body and Soul, about a nun 'who's having to face she's a woman too' and the return of the stand-up comedian Dave Allen. Jonathan Ross is hosting Fantastic Facts: in yesterday's clip a man with a satellite dish picked up the screams of a bluebottle being enmeshed by a spider.

The regional programmes promise to buzz with London's energy, ethnic mix and position as Europe's show business capital. The main evening news, London Tonight (6pm-7pm) will be hosted by Alastair Stewart, but promises to pitch itself somewhere in the tabloid jungle between the Daily Mirror and Daily Mail.

David Frost, who will be taking his TV-am Sunday morning programme over to BBC 1 and Sky from January, has won himself yet another TV niche: The Frost Programme will be shown in London live on Thursday evenings against the BBC's Question Time. Desmond Wilcox, a former BBC stalwart, is also conducting explorations of life behind the scenes of the capital.