Did ITV air the wrong version of a film over the New Year weekend leading to almost unprecedented images of an extreme sex act being carried on its terrestrial channels?
At 9.30pm on 3 January, ITV broadcast what it described as a premiere airing for black comedy, The Hangover. According to the Radio Times, this “surprisingly inventive” comedy that “doesn’t rely on cheap, gross-out laughs”, starring Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms, is rated 15.
Viewers who watched all the way through to the end credits may therefore have been surprised to spot a series of images in which a woman performs a very explicit act of oral sex on actor Zach Galifianakis.
According to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), there are a number of versions of this film in circulation: two rated 15; and three rated 18. For the 15 version, they acknowledge that it includes “strong verbal references to sexual behaviour”. They were aware of the scenes included in the version screened by ITV, but these were NOT passed for inclusion in the 15 rated version. According to their site:
“This film was originally shown to the BBFC in an unfinished version. The BBFC advised the company that the film was likely to receive an ’18’ classification but that the requested ’15’ certificate could be achieved by making one change to visuals in the closing credits. The BBFC suggested that brief shots in which a man is being fellated by a woman, with clear sight of an apparent erect penis in the woman’s mouth, be removed. When the finished version of the film was submitted, the shots had been removed and the film was classified ’15’.”
It looks as though ITV broadcast the wrong version of the film. Evidence that this may have been a bit of a, er, cock-up on their part comes from the Radio Times listing for that broadcast, which clearly identifies the film to be aired as the 15 version.
A case, perhaps, of dvd being put back in the wrong box? Or whatever passes for filing over at Television Centre.
ITV were contacted and asked for comment, but did not respond. And Ofcom, who are otherwise frequently exercised about smut broadcasting, were largely unplussed by this unfortunate switch.
Update: The film was broadcast again at 10 pm on 25 January. Despite having been warned that they appeared to be airing the wrong version of it approx. two weeks before this date – and the matter also being drawn to the attention of Ofcom – they STILL broadcast the adult version including the material that had previously led to the film being denied a 15 certificate.
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Oh. Before you go jumping to conclusions. Do i have any problem with the activity featured?
No. In a theoretical sort of way, it’s quite pleasant for the guy, and perfectly fine so long as his partner is willing and fully consenting. The story is amusing from an ironic perspective, because of the apoplexy with which most mainstream politicians respond to any hint of such imagery being accessible ordinarily.
The merest hint of an erect male member being aired on terrestrial TV is usually enough to see the media commentariat rolled out to discuss and tut over the matter in highly learned ways. Whereas, it would appear, full-on fellatio can air without the sky falling in. Ofcom and ATVOD please take note.