U.K. channel presents “sickest TV show ever”

Britain’s commercial Channel 4 was under attack from all sides Monday after airing a program that spoofed pedophilia. The London tabloid the Daily Mail headlined Saturday, “The Sickest TV Show Ever.” The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children called the program “deeply offensive.” A spokesman for Home Secretary (equivalent to the U.S. Attorney General) David Blunkett said that he “was pretty dismayed by the program and did not find it remotely funny.” Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said in a statement, “If this is considered acceptable material then we are tearing down all the boundaries of decency on television.” The satire, broadcast on the Channel 4 program Brass Eye was defended by a spokesman for the network, as an attempt to “expose the hysteria surrounding the issue.” And, in an interview with the Sunday Observer, Channel 4 chief Michael Jackson (who is heading for the U.S. to oversee Barry Diller’s USA Networks) commented that the program “sought to challenge the inconsistencies in the way the media approaches and sensationalizes pedophile crime.” It aired as the British government prepared to present a policy paper calling for tighter controls on sex offenders released from prison.