BBC to ban swearing after watershed

By Liz Stephens

The BBC will announce plans to ban swearing after the watershed in future, following a wide-reaching review of its editorial guidelines.

The new guidelines, which will be put out for public consultation before being introduced in summer next year, will also include a clamp down on prank calls and new regulations for shows which have phone-ins and text voting.

The move comes after an audience survey revealed that the public felt that standards had slipped and the BBC had lost its ‘family-friendly’ appeal.

However, the timing of the announcement of the new guidelines to coincide with the Conservative party conference has been criticised.

Culture secretary Ben Bradshaw has been involved in a war of words with BBC director general Mark Thompson lately, although he praised the corporation at the Labour party conference.

The BBC is keen to rebuild the trust of viewers after a series of errors such as the airing of an obscene prank phone call made by Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand to the actor Andrew Sacks.

The BBC received 40,000 complaints, Russell Brand lost his job and Jonathan Ross was suspended for three months in the wake of the affair.

The new guidelines recommend that strong language be “bleeped out” even after 9pm and more programmes may carry warnings of potentially offensive content.

The new guidance will also include rules to safeguard the accuracy and impartiality of factual programming.