Comedian reveals surprising list of words that couldn’t be said on TV in the Eighties

Words are separated into three lists, marked: ‘No way,’ ‘If you absolutely have to’ and ‘OK’

Isobel Lewis
Saturday 04 September 2021 12:41
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<p>Smith in 2020</p>

Smith in 2020

Comedian Arthur Smith has shared a list of the surprising words participants were not allowed to say on TV in the 1980s.

In a viral tweet shared earlier this week, Smith – who was a regular on the alternative comedy scene at the time – posted a picture to Twitter detailing the “obscenities” that could not be said while appearing on television.

“Discovered these old lists of words you could/ couldn’t say on TV in the 80s,” he wrote. “Like 3 rude poems.”

The words are separated into three lists, marked: “No way,” “If you absolutely have to” and “OK”.

While the definite “no” list contains many standard swear words, such as “f***”, “c***” and “t***”, other unusual additions include the phrases “spunk”, “smegma” and “Jesus Christ”.

The middle list consists of “b***er”, “b*****d”, “bloody”, “sod”, “b*****s”, “bleeding”, “prat”, “d***head”, “prick”, “Oh God” and “Jesus”.

More surprisingly, “s***”, “d***”, “a***”, “nob” and “tits” all make the “OK” pile, along with “bums” and “git”.

The list given to Smith in the 1980s

Notes below say that anyone on TV should be “careful of defamatory remarks” about named products or public figures”. It also adds that “royalty and MPs [are] generally OK – but be extremely careful when it comes to homosexuality or fraud”.

Social media users were left fascinated by the list, with one joking: “This is why I have Twitter”.

Others were shocked by the placing of certain words, with one tweet reading: “Smeg is on the “No Way!” list?!”

“So s*** was okay but Jesus Christ wasn’t?!” another questioned.

“Having just learnt that ‘s***’ was officially a more acceptable swear word than ‘bleeding’ I no longer harbour any confusion about how f***ed the world is today. It’s obviously always been this way,” one Twitter user commented.

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