Paul escapes drug rap

Cleared of promoting cocaine use

Television watchdogs have cleared Paul Whitehouse's show Happiness of glamorising drug use.

The Broadcasting Standards Commission made its ruling following complaints about an episode showing Whitehouse's character snorting cocaine.

Its effects gave him the confidence to chat up an attractive woman, with the implication that they slept together.

Two viewers complained that this "normalised the abuse of an illegal and dangerous drug".

However, the BBC said that the use of cocaine was shown as part of the character's loss of control over his life following the death of his wife, and "presented a damning indictment of drug use".

Whitehouse was also shown dancing and babbling uncontrollably, and later wracked with guilt over his actions.

Commissioners did not uphold the complaint, saying that "the overall tone of the episode had condemned rather than promoted the irresponsible abuse of drugs and had not presented recreational drug-taking as socially acceptable",

Published: 31 Oct 2001

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