Ofcom was right to force ITV to stop showing The Only Way is Essex before watershed, but not because of the swearing

ITV has been told to stop the Sunday lunchtime repeat of The Only Way is Essex due to its adult content, but what about the example it sets to young viewers?

Related Topics

You may have heard that ITV has been forced to pull its Sunday lunchtime repeat of The Only Way is Essex because of too many sexual references and offensive language, which Ofcom deemed unsuitable for young children.

The offending episode was broadcast on ITV 2 at 1pm on 12 August. The half-hour show contained no fewer than 20 examples of bleeped out language as well as sexual hand gestures and conversations about sexual experiences, binge drinking and sexually transmitted diseases.

Now I’m no Mary Whitehouse but it seems to me that Ofcom made the right decision. Children watching TV on a Sunday lunchtime during half term shouldn’t be exposed to the ins and outs (literally) of the sex life of some chav with a radioactive tan, more implants than Darth Vader and an IQ which is probably much less than the young children viewing.

Of course exposing kids to the sex lives of anyone, not just idiots, is wrong. The over exposure to sex and the sexualisation of children are big problems in our society, not to mention drunkenness and binge drinking. But it also got me thinking, although – I reiterate – I’m no particular fan of censorship, shouldn’t we relegate shows like TOWIE to after the watershed for other reasons as well?

Like, for example, so kids don’t grow up thinking that attaching sparkly things to women’s vaginas is a worthy vocation? Or indeed that having sparkly things attached to their own private parts will be the height of chic? Or that being in an odd hybrid relationship called a ‘bromance’ where you get to amalgamate your names into something embarrassing like ‘Jirk’ is a noteworthy achievement.

How about the importance of not owning a pet micro-pig called ‘Mr Darcy’ and thinking this the height of sophistication? Not using words like ‘reem’ instead of beautiful? For girls not to grow up thinking that having breasts larger than their heads is important for self esteem? Or for boys not to grow up thinking that wearing hair nets, blow drying and generally spending more time getting ready than actually going out is equally important?

Okay, rant over. I think I’ve mentioned already that I really am not a fan of censorship so maybe I should stop moaning and offer some viable healthy alternatives instead. Very well. I will.  Here is my offering for a semi-reality TV show to fill the gap in ITV 2’s Sunday lunchtime schedule:

Imogen is a plain, flat-chested human rights lawyer living in a sleepy village in the Cotswolds. She runs a reading circle at the weekends which is attended by Sam, a charity fundraiser, and his sister Nicola, a non-practising lesbian who owns her own organic vegan health food shop. Imogen and Sam used to be in a relationship but they called it off a year ago in order to pursue a platonic partnership involving weekends away spent communing on a spiritual level through the medium of sacred dance, and basket weaving.

Nicola sources most of her organic produce from local farm small-holder and vet, Thomas DeVere. She is also secretly in love with Thomas’s wife Rosie. Much of the drama of series one comes from Nicola’s internal struggle to overcome this base passion with the help of scientology, aromatherapy and her own organic vegetables.

Meanwhile Thomas takes on two fruit pickers to help with the summer harvest. They are backpacking Swedish twin sisters Ingrid and Hilda. The sisters quickly make themselves popular around the farm with their earthy ways and quick laughter. That is until one night they drink a little too much organic blackcurrant wine with Thomas and, for a dare, kiss each other.

Thomas quietly goes to bed but the next day informs them that they must leave the farm – and the series. He is very firm.

Thomas’s wife Rosie tries to intercede with him to show some leniency with the girls – she had absolutely no part in Thomas’s decision to eject them – but Thomas will not listen. His code of ethics remains unbending on the subject of such licentious practices. He spends the next two days locked alone in his study, single-handedly wrestling with his decision to get rid of the girls. When he emerges he is exhausted – and sore – but finally at peace.

Imogen, meanwhile, takes on the case of a Romanian orphan due for deportation whose parents smuggled her into the country before both dying of polio. Professional conflict thus offsets personal drama as Imogen struggles with her associates over the exact application of clause 4, paragraph 2, subsection 3 of the relevant legislation.

This show has absolutely everything needed for a good drama except, of course, gratuitous sex and violence and a spurious obsession with appearances. I think I’ll call it The only Way Is the Right Path or TWIRP for short. As I keep telling you, I’m no advocate of censorship but wouldn’t this be a much better way to entertain our children and young people than force feeding them a diet of fake tans, implants and vagina embellishments?

ITV, you know where you can find me.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Yvette Cooper campaigning in London at the launch of Labour’s women’s manifesto  

I want the Labour Party to lead a revolution in family support

Yvette Cooper
Liz Kendall  

Labour leadership contest: 'Moderniser' is just a vague and overused label

Steve Richards
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine