Something to tickle your fancy

A little of the hard stuff

In the absence of decent summer weather we’ve had to generate heat all by ourselves.  I’ve taken to googling attractive athletes to see if they’ve ever been photographed in normal clothes… I need to stop.

One successful long-running sun-alternative has been imagining perfectly normal looking women reading FILTH without embarrassment: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and all that.

*adjusts collar*

The thing about Fifty Shades isn’t how rude it is, (I mean, there’s no shortage of erotic books out there, and have you ever read this.  It’s a marvel), but the fact that its readers are people like your partner, your sister or, *shudders*, your mother.  It’s totally unsurprising, and yet totally SHOCKING at the same time.

E.L James. We worked together at the BBC.
Well, not together. But at the same time. Like her, I’m writing a book about people.

There’s a watershed on this picture. The geographical feature that is.
Presumably that penis-shaped blue thing is to the right of it.

Television has plenty to offer people looking for something naughty, up to a point (though not an erect point), but the whole thing is more erotically charged if it appears on a BIG channel.  It’s shockingly mainstream and yet rude all at once.  How delightful!

Want to see some amusing cartoons about the watershed? Try here

I’ve been looking at a piece of audience research from 1995, when the Broadcasting Standards Council (now part of Ofcom), explored interest in naughty content (and Antiques Roadshow), and when such programmes should be scheduled.  People were asked to respond to descriptions of programmes, and in some cases the language was tweaked to find the pinch points that affected the preferred hour.  So a ‘soft’ version was provided, and a ‘hard’ one too.

One comedy called ‘Girls on The Loose‘ was about young women looking for love.  The softer (Liver Birds type…) version appealed more to women, and was slotted randomly into any weekday, at around 8pm.  A Hen-Night-ified, Women Behaving Badly, Two Broke Girls type version, with drinking, fantasies and ‘outrageous escapades’ was suddenly a Friday, Saturday or Thursday night option starting at 9pm or later.

Perhaps most intriguing of all was ‘The Intended’.  This was an eight-part drama about Carol, a bored housewife and mother who is tempted to have an affair with an old flame, and whose son has an accident while she is enjoying a clandestine meeting.  Guilt, sex and motherhood and  all in one go.  This was a popular concept, especially among the women, but the more breathless, ‘steamy’ version in which Carol has an ‘intense passion’ and an ‘obsession’, was even more popular.  55% of women said they’d watch the more explicit version, compared with 45% for the softer version.

In both cases, 9pm was the preferred time-slot, especially for the harder option, with a little later also popular.  TV audiences have an expectation of 9pm being the main event, and the watershed also operates as a gentle version of the Channel 4 red triangle.  It gives TV companies permission to go for it a little – the blessing of the audience.   Other media seem to lack this subtlety.

TV viewers really DO want to see more sexually charged programmes.  On a big channel: the same place where George Alagiah is preparing to read the news.  But at a time when it feels right and, frankly, when the children are asleep.


With the Autumn on its way, can it come soon, the nights are drawing in.

Nine. It’s quite a naughty number. All by itself. 9
Or is that a g

Gratuitous picture of Keeley Hawes and young ‘friend’


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