Mary Whitehouse, a devout Catholic and righteous campaigner of broadcast media is an important figure in British history. She thought the BBC was at the centre of a “conspiracy to remove the myth of God from the minds of men”. Her ‘Clean Up TV Campaign’ manifesto claimed that the BBC diffused “the propaganda of disbelief, doubt and dirt… promiscuity, infidelity and drinking”. The CUTV Campaign instead argued that the BBC should “encourage and sustain faith in God and bring Him back to the hearts of our family and national life”.
CUTV campaigned against a variety of shows. Many of which were not what one would immediately interpret as offensive.
Doctor Who was described as “teatime brutality for tots”. A catchy title I think you’ll agree. But a bit much. Doctor Who is somewhat sinister perhaps. But brutal? Brutal?! The Rape of Nanking was brutal. Stagnant cyborgs and ring-modulated voices are not.
But that was then, and this is now. Different people ageing in different times. What offended us 40 years ago is unlikely to offend us now. Opinions and attitudes change change with the times.
This generation. My generation. What does it take to offend us? Are we even capable of being genuinely offended by media? Exactly what on-screen atrocities would we have to witness in order for us to take umbrage and write an angry email to Ofcom?