Lisa Markwell: Sex and drugs before the watershed? Sounds good

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Did you watch Glee last night? I have no idea whether I'm in the
right demographic – or indeed what the demographic is for the show
that's turned from a poppy glorified soap to singing-with
a-social-conscience – but I am happy to out myself as a Gleek.

But I didn't watch it last night, because I usually record it and watch it with my 12-year-old daughter at the weekend; it's on at 9pm and she's firmly in the wind-down- with-a-book bedtime routine by then, on a school night.

So it'll be tonight before we settle down to see both gay couple Kurt and Blaine, and straight couple Rachel and Finn, discuss sex and consummate their respective relationships, responsibly.

Given that any form of PDA makes my daughter squirm with embarrassment, the 'First Time' episode has the potential to cause major-league wincing. But then again, she's at exactly the age when curiousity about sex, love and relationships looms large, and if the reviews are to be trusted, Glee handles this delicate subject with great sensitivity.

Thank goodness there's a way to allow parents and children to start a conversation about sex without recourse to dated illustrated books or awkward "real-life" examples.

And then there's The X Factor... A model approach to modern life's ethical conundrums? Not so much. This week, the exit of artfully encouraged "bad boy" contestant Frankie Cocozza has seen people across Britain discuss the damning effect that drugs have on one's career prospects. Adults, that is.

Will the show tell the unvarnished truth in its Saturday broadcast, when young children are watching? It might be deemed inappropriate for the audience, but that would be a great shame. It's an opportunity for honest debate about the reality of a glamorous showbiz cocaine habit.

(Not that Frankie is likely to have the time, money and opportunity to form a serious habit, given that he's 18 and until X Factor came along, was busking along in shift work).

I'd welcome broadcasters taking off the sugar-coating when it comes to entertainment shows. In the age of iPlayer and 4OD, there's no such thing as a watershed – and primary-age children are picking up papers and magazines with lurid tales in them anyway.

And, in my experience, they are more likely to get a "message" if it just appears, without seeming to have been engineered.

Long live Kurt and Blaine, and good riddance Frankie. But to you all, thanks for creating debate from your real, and scripted, dramas.

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