Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Give Us A Bloody Break ...

Do you remember the good old days days when we weren't being cosseted by those in the public service industry or the government? The days when we just got on with things? As daft as it may sound, let me run this by you:

A long long time ago, when television really WAS television, there was a famous comedy series, "Only Fools And Horses". In it's heyday it drew millions of viewers and went straight into the 'classic' drawer of unforgettable television. Today, it's showing it's age somewhat but the re-runs are still a joy to watch on BBC Prime. Which is where I draw the comparison. Back in those fun-filled 80's, "Only Fools" was enjoyed by the entire family - from kids to grandparents. Everyone could relate to it. When Del Boy and his brother Rodney were selling all sorts of crap out of a suitcase, the language used on the box was regulated and word 'bloody' was in everyday use. Bloody-this, bloody-that ... and no-one raised an eyebrow.

Now along comes the age of 'being overly PC'. On BBC Prime the other night, the continuity announcer began with "the following programme may contain language that some viewers may find offensive". The announcement was then followed by the theme tune to ... "Only Fools And Horses". But hang on ... what language in that show could possibly upset anyone? Plonker? Wally? Dipstick? Nope, the word "bloody". This is beyond a joke, no? I don't remember any continuity announcer in the 1980's telling us that the word "bloody" might cause nationwide horror as women covered their children's ears and beer-swilling navvies dropped their tankards in shock. Anyhow, later the same evening Prime showed a medical drama entitled "Bodies". It contained a liberal sprinkling of the words f**k and w**k, yet the only 'warning' that was given prior to the programme being shown was "this programme contains close-up medical procedures which may offend some viewers".

What next? "This programme may contain everyday language, including verbs, pronouns and adjectives that some viewers might find offensive".

In the picture-postcard Yorkshire Dale village of Embsay, poor Steve Dobson is trying to organise a free Christmas Party. He applied to the local council to use a municipal car park for the event and received a daunting reply from the council offices. He has been told that the organisers must carry out a risk assessment of their mince pies or their festivities will have to be cancelled. Council loonies have insisted that posters will have to be displayed warning the villagers that the mince pies, made by the Embsay and Eastby Women's Institute, may contain nuts. They have also advised his that the cocoa content of the hot chocolate and it temperature must also be checked. There's also a fireworks display, mulled wine and a Santa's grotto.

"It is bureaucracy gone mad", Mr Dobson said. "Everything we do, from putting tinsel up to providing refreshments has to be assessed. We have to consider the dangers involved, that someone might choke on their mince pie or have a nut allergy. I also understand that Santa may need a Criminal Records Bureau check." Mr Dobson added that he was now considering moving the party to private land elsewhere in the village.

Craven Council's director of community services said "We support these community events and we try to help local communities organise them and make sure they are as safe as possible."

I'm off for a coffee and yes I KNOW it's likely to be bloody hot and got bloody caffine in it! OK?



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