Heads up: Top comment and controversy

Sex Box: Sex on TV? The 5 most transgressive broadcasts in history

Channel 4 is soon to air a new reality show Sex Box, which will present audiences with "real sex", interviewing couples moments after they've had intercourse live on TV - albeit in the relative privacy of an opaque box. Paul Vallely writes for us today on the show's "having it both ways", offering both education and titillation to viewers. It got us to thinking. Is there anything left for TV to broadcast? Or have our eyeballs seen pretty much every important life moment there is to see, on television...

1. A vermin smoothie

Perhaps the pinnacle of bleurrrgh broadcasting, US reality show Fear Factor did what no other gross-out television show had ever thought to do - put rats in a blender. The January 2005 episode trumped all previous horrors (eating cow testicles, say) and attracted criticism, some reasonable, some less so. One Ohio man sued NBC for $2.5 million in damages, claiming the show had caused him to get dizzy, run into a wall, then vomit. He lost.

2. Adoption, live

The second series of MTV's controversial 16 and Pregnant broadcast the moment a young Lori Wickelhaus gave up her newborn baby for adoption, after arguing with the father, Cory, over the decision not to raise the baby. The show itself has been labelled exploitative, with some claiming it might even encourage some teenagers to seek fame by getting themselves 'on the show', so to speak.

3. A Kardashian is born

Surrounded by her family and a loving film crew, Kourtney Kardashian was filmed giving birth to her daughter Penelope in the season 4 finale of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Birth, shmirth you might say, particularly if you've watched One Born Every Minute. But this clip showed that celebrity birth canals work just like everybody else's. Unless it was all staged. (It wasn't). (But make up was worn).

4. Midgets race a camel

Fox commissioned this, in 2004. Good old Fox.

 

5. Glass of chianti?

Something happened on Big Brother once, something to do with a wine bottle, but as we're a family website we've chosen not to remember it. Lips are SEALED.

React Now

Read Next
 

Letters: The West flounders in the Middle East morass

Independent Voices
David Tennant as Hamlet  

To vote no or not to vote no, that is the question... Although do celebrities really have the answer?

David Lister
All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition