Commercial broadcasters have been warned that they risk becoming preoccupied with sex – showing too much of it too soon after the watershed.
The Independent Television Commission (ITC) said in its annual report this week that too many programmes featuring adult material – often documentaries about the sex industry – were being screened immediately after the watershed.
ITC chairman Sir Robin Biggam said: “Broadcasters should note early signs that their preoccupation with a single subject – any single subject – can stretch viewers’ patience.”
The Commission praised ITV’s revamped news coverage, especially the “more serious agenda” for its new early evening slot, and said welcome improvements included less reliance on drama and more sport.
But the report continued: “Overall, the levels of comedy and entertainment were lower than in 1997. The ITC is urging ITV to make further progress in improving the supply of entertainment.”
Channel 4 was praised for strong developments in drama and current affairs, after some criticisms in 1997 for a lack of innovative drive.
The commission said that Channel 5, in its first full year of assessment by the ITC, made “some significant improvements”, and reported rising audiences. But it failed to provide enough adult drama, and its children’s drama and entertainment were not of a high enough standard.