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Bbc Programmes

Volume 728: debated on Wednesday 18 May 1966

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asked the Postmaster-General if he will issue a direction under Section 14(4) of the Licence and Agreement to prevent the televising by the British Broadcasting Corporation of the film entitled "Matador".


asked the Postmaster-General if, in the public interest, he will direct the British Broadcasting Corporation, under Section 14(4) of the Licence and Agreement, not to send out television programmes which include the showing of nude women; and if he will make a statement.

No, Sir. Parliament has vested responsibility for programme content in the broadcasting authorities; and the Government do not intervene.

Does my right hon. Friend think that the British public want scenes of revolting cruelty on their television screens depicting the so-called sport of bullfighting, which is illegal in most civilised countries?

With great respect to my hon. Friend, it is not a matter of what I think at all. This is the responsibility of the B.B.C., and I really cannot be the censor of bullfights.

Is it not time that my right hon. Friend asserted himself in order to prevent any further debasement of moral standards in entertainment, and will he not agree that to include, as contemplated, the showing of nudes is an act of undiluted vulgarity? What is he prepared to do about it?

It would be quite wrong for me to get involved in any matters of broadcasting content, including the allegation that nudes are to be shown on television. I understand that the reports of striptease on television were completely denied, and I do not think that there is anything I should do about it.

Remembering how much money was abortively spent on "The War Game", which was not shown, can the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether "Matador" is in fact to be shown and what it cost?

I cannot, without notice. I am not sure that it is for me to give figures of programme costs in matters of this kind; otherwise, as the hon. Gentleman knows very well, I should be assuming gradually all the functions of the B.B.C. Board of Governors. But I am sure that, if he writes to the governors, they will give him any information he wants.

Will the Postmaster-General bear in mind that this is a free country and we all have the ability to turn our sets on or off?

I am grateful for that support, though it was put in a rather hostile manner.