Response from the BBC…

Remember my ranty complaint letter which I sent to the BBC (I think you have to be on my feminist filter to read it)? I sent it ages ago and ticked the box asking for a response, but I wasn’t really expecting one.

It turned up today. On the whole it had a conciliatory tone and they did agree to make some changes – I have a feeling they had quite a few complaints about this.

Dear Ms ****

Thanks for your e-mail regarding ‘The Tudors’ broadcast on the 5 September.

I understand you felt the programme was offensive and inappropriate. I note
that this episode put you off watching the series.

‘The Tudors’ is a modern and exciting take on the story of Henry VIII and
his reign, dealing with the monarch’s younger and wilder years, and
deliberately takes a different approach to previous conventional historical
dramas.

We were careful from the outset to forewarn viewers to the adult content
and the general tone of this lavish series, and scheduled it after the
watershed, with trailer campaigns and appropriate pre-transmission
announcements which highlighted the series’ sexual content.

We’re sorry that you were offended by the scene of rape in the programme,
and on reflection we agree that the content is not best described as
“scenes of a sexual nature”, and we’ll amend the pre-transmission
announcement for its future showings to reflect the scene of sexual
violence.

I’d like to assure you that we’ve registered your comments on our audience
log. This is the internal report of audience feedback which we compile
daily for the programme makers and also their senior management. It ensures
that your points, and all other comments we receive, are circulated and
considered across the BBC.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us with your concerns.

Regards

***** ********
BBC Complaints

A few points I want to make:

  • I noted the way they used the word lavish – like they wanted me to know that they spent lots of money on this series, like somehow that will change my opinion
  • I am mildly irritated that they called it a ‘modern’ take and that for some reason in their eyes modern = rape scenes
  • I’m also really angry that despite my complaint, they still continually refer to the scenes I objected to as ‘sexual content’ – when it’s obvious I don’t agree, it’s like they just read it as a complaint and didn’t bother to note the specifics of the actual wording
  • However, I am REALLY glad that they will be amending the pre transmission announcements, I’m surprised they’ve listened to me at all – but I’m annoyed that they didn’t actually tell me what they are amending it to

Backdated rant about the BBC…

This was originally posted in a feminist filter in my Live Journal.  But as the content is relevant to what I’m hoping to achieve with this blog, I thought I’d post it here.

I am actually sick with rage at the moment. I like watching period dramas and historical dramas. My dad has been raving about The Tudors, which is being shown on BBC 2 atm.

I was about halfway through an episode when it shows Henry VIII raping his wife.

It may only have been the 90’s when rape within marriage became legally punishable, but I don’t give a rats ass. If a woman says no when you try to have sex with her, it is RAPE, regardless of who she is.

I am disgusted at the sensationalism of the BBC and their need to try and put ‘edgier’ scenes into their programs. Rape SHOULD NOT ever be seen in fictional programs of any kind. I had this conversation with [info]ghostlove recently. I find it totally and utterly unacceptable for fictional films to have rape scenes in them, it serves absolutely no purpose. It irks me in the same way that people misuse the word rape in colloquial speech. ‘He totally raped me at x game’ or ‘my pay cheque was totally raped by tax this month’. This is utter CRAP. It should never become acceptable to have rape work it’s way into our every day speech. Rape is an awful, horrible, disgusting thing. The more we become desensitised to it, the less it will shock us, and that is a VERY BAD way for us to start heading. Rape SHOULD ALWAYS BE SHOCKING. People should never find it okay to watch a rape scene, in any context.

The warning at the start of the program said simply ‘Contains scenes of a sexual nature’. *fumes* Firstly, rape IS NOT SEX. Just because the same organs are used, that doesn’t make it sex. You wank with the same hands that you eat with. This does not make eating equal wanking ffs! Secondly, a much much stronger label should have been used. ‘Contains graphic violent scenes which may offend some viewers’ would have been more appropriate.

I’m e-mailing the BBC with a complaint the second I finish this entry.

How dare they put the rape of a woman into an historical drama? Can I not watch stories about the Tudors with watching the oppression and demoralization of women? I am just so ANGRY.

I am never watching The Tudors again, and I’m even tempted to never watch BBC 2 again, I am that angry. I wish I could get rid of the damn TV so I don’t have to put up with this shit. Cursed CBeebies!

This is what I typed:

I am an avid fan of historical dramas, especially involving The Tudors.

However, I found myself thoroughly disgusted by tonights episode, and will not be watching this program again.

My issues are with the scene during which a woman is subjected to a violent sexual assault/rape by her husband on her wedding day.

As a woman and a feminist, I find this scene completely unacceptable. It was offensive and distressing. To see the woman struggling and repeatedly saying no and still be subjected to this was truly awful.

I feel that this scene was put into this program to make it more appealing and sensationalist. As a female viewer, I find it upsetting and offensive that the violent sexual assault of women is included into programs in this way. I believe morally reprenhensible and oppressive behaviour should not be used as part of a storyline in any context.

I am aware that it was only in 1991 that spousal rape become a criminally punishable offence. So if this had been a true story, then I would have still been offended but less likely to complain. As it is, this program is an historical drama. I am very disappointed that the BBC chose to endorse a program which contains this content. I believe that if the rape scene was integral to the storyline, the point about the sex and violence could have been made in a less direct and less obviously degrading way.

The warning at the start of this program simply stated that it contained scenes of a sexual nature. Rape is a gross abuse of power and a tool to oppress women, it is no way remotely sexual. For that reason alone, describing a rape scene as ‘sexual content’ is inaccurate. I did not watch the rest of this program, I got up and walked away, so I have no idea if there was other sexual content in this program.

As a woman and licence fee paying customer, I feel I should be able to watch programs with content that interest me without having to watch the degradation and foul behaviour that women are subjected to daily around the world. I was revulsed by seeing this scene in this program. I think a much stronger warning should have been applied at the start of this program. Even something simple like ‘Contains violent sexual scenes that some viewers made find upsetting/offensive’ would have made me realise that I would not want to watch this episode.

I will not be watching this program again. As a women, a feminist and a survivor of sexual assault, I am angry that the fees the BBC receives was used to create a program which I find so thoroughly repugnant.

I know I’ll come across as an angry prissy feminist, I don’t care. Any comments saying that I overreacted or suggesting I don’t complain will be deleted. As a woman and a survivor of sexual assault, as well as a licence fee paying customer, I deserve the right to watch TV without watching rape scenes and I reserve the right to complain when I do.

I am sex positive. Anyone who knows me or has been in my bed will know that I am sex positive.

BUT SEX IS NOT RAPE. RAPE HAS NEVER BEEN SEX AND NEVER WILL BE.

As a woman, a sexual assault survivor and a PAYING CUSTOMER I deserve programs that are interesting, without having to chose between interest and watching the oppression of my sisters. I reserve the right to complain when it shown.

I loathe the society that forces women to make their living (or makes them think it is the best way to earn their living) out of reenacting/simulating emotionally invasive, devastating and repulsive sexual crimes.

It is utterly beyond me that a woman would ever do this without feeling extreme/guilt anger. I wouldn’t do it at all, and I couldn’t. But as much as I don’t understand it, I don’t hate the women for it. I hate society that reinforces time and time again that women are better off allowing themselves to be oppressed.

This is yet again another example of why I do not want to listen to men or their opinion.  I do not have any women in my circle of friends (thank the Goddess) who would watch such a program with rape scenes in and suggest it to me as something good to watch.

I love my father very much, he’s one of the less than handful of men I will say this about.  But I will say this is yet another example of where men make me feel sadly let down.