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

  • Get to the point
Read Next
 

Riyadh is setting itself up as region’s policeman

Lina Khatib
Ed Miliband and David Cameron  

Cameron and Miliband should have faith in their bolder policies

Ian Birrell
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor