A little inappropriate...

C4 rapped for making kids swear

Channel 4 has been rapped by broadcasting watchdogs for makng children to swear in its Little Friends comedy show.

Ofcom has criticised the channel for making youngsters uses strong language to shock adults in hidden-camera stunts - ruling that it broke the programme code that broadcasters must adhere to.

It was also unhappy that victims, usually approached in the street by kids needing 'help', were asked to use the most offensive language - such as 'motherfucker' and 'cocksucker' - in front of them.

Ofcom received 27 complaints about the language and sexual connotation of the show.

Channel 4 pointed out that the children were professional child actors, who understood what they were doing and had their parents' blessing, and although three of the children were 13 (but looked younger), it was a 16-year-old who actually used bad language and sexual references

The channel also argued that using child actors in this sort of comedy was no different to dramatic roles like Taxi Driver or The Exorcist.

Ofcom accepted that the broadcaster had taken steps to protect the children's moral welfare, but still ruled: "The use of children and young people in certain scenes was offensive."

"It was offensive to cast a young person who looked considerably younger than his age and put him in circumstances where he used such offensive language and sexual references (for instance, the consistent use of 'fuck' and 'fucking' and asking an interviewee about 'fisting').

"The context of the programme also did not justify the use of children to elicit the most offensive language from adults in their presence.

"This programme was produced purely for entertainment purposes and could not provide the justification possible with, for example, a drama or film, in its need to provide narrative development or dramatic resolution."

Published: 10 Feb 2004

Live comedy picks

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.