TV monitor says dramas show more violence

There has been a significant increase in the number of television drama programmes containing violence, says an Independent Television Commission report published yesterday, writes Maggie Brown.

The report, based on two weeks monitoring of commercial television broadcasts between 16 and 29 April, found that 69 per cent of dramas on ITV contained violence, compared with 51 per cent in 1993. On Channel 4, the increase was from 41 per cent to 74 per cent.

The ITC says that "drama programmes on both channels contained the highest proportions of violent material", while factual programmes contained no "strong violence".

The number of programme trailers containing violence also rose - to four on ITV (from one in the previous year) and to ten on Channel 4 (from four).

Satellite services received a relatively good report. Overall, 93 per cent of programmes contained no violence or weak depictions of violence, but the study adds that the amount of "strong violence" has risen from 5 per cent to 8 per cent on ITV, and from 4 per cent to 6 per cent on Channel 4.

The survey has a political dimension, since the Government has asked regulators to ensure that violence is curbed.

John Willis, Channel 4's programme director, last night expressed concern at conclusions being drawn from "superficial snapshot research which cannot represent the schedule as a whole, and at the suggestion that somehow a `violence quota' should be established"