For the past few weeks my wife and I have noticed a distinct change in what's acceptable to show on British TV. We don't watch much TV so perhaps it's just a trend we're only beginning to become aware of- but it seems that standards are definitely changing.
A few weeks ago we had just finished watching a DVD and when the player switched off the TV channel which had been on earlier (channel Five) popped back onto the screen. We were confronted by the sight of a man and woman having full penetrative sex filmed from an internal camera. I was pretty shocked- I was under the impression that this was the sort of thing that TV couldn't show, regardless of the time (it was quite late). I guess that by masquerading as a "documentary" they were able to get around some of the restrictions. At the time I opined that TV makers would try to get more and more explicit material shown earlier and earlier. If this is being shown now at (around) midnight when only a few years ago you couldn't have got away with showing it at all, I will not be surprised to see the same thing shown earlier in the evening in years to come.
The following week my wife sat down to watch some daytime TV- an award-winning and long running show by the name of This Morning. She was somewhat taken aback to find a discussion about sex taking place. In fact, the show had dedicated a whole week's worth of programming to the topic. A day or so later I found an article online about people simulating sex on the show. Again I commented on the change in standards- just a couple of years ago I'm sure they would never even have considered showing such a segment.
Today I learn that Britain is about to broadcast its first advertisement for a sex toy on TV. Now I don't have a problem with that per se. The ad doesn't appear to be explicit in any way and the plans are to show it after the 11pm watershed. But Durex aren't pleased with that decision at all- they want to be able to show the ad after the 9pm watershed. Part of their reasoning for this is that scenes of a sexual nature can be seen regularly after that time already- so why can't they advertise their sex toy then too?
I don't want to seem to be a prude- I have no problem with TV showing late night films that are a bit racy, but I fail to see why we should have to have hard core images broadcast at any time. My concern is not that this material exists but that broadcasters seem to be intent on showing more and more explicit scenes and inappropriate language and behaviour earlier and earlier. Is there really a need for simulated sex on daytime TV? If they can show actual sex late at night now, what are they going to be trying to show a couple of hours earlier in the evening two or three years from now? And if that kind of material is being broadcast then, what's going to be shown earlier in the evening or during the daytime?