BBC defends pre-watershed nudity on Sherlock Holmes

The BBC has defended its decision to screen footage of a nude woman on its primetime adaption of a Sherlock Holmes mystery.

During the show, which aired on New Year’s Day, actress Lara Pulver was shown flirting with the famous detective whilst wearing only diamond earrings, lipstick and high heels.

The 31-year-old actress, who played character Irene Adler, was also shown carrying a whip as she walked into a room where a woman was tied to a bed.


The broadcaster received around 100 complaints about the footage, and viewers questioned online why it was broadcast before the 9pm watershed.

But Ben Stephenson, the Corporation’s controller of drama commissioning, said: “We had lots of conversations about it and I think we were right in thinking it’s a bit of a cheeky show and that just because you’re on pre-watershed doesn’t mean you have to be dull.”

The offending episode, entitled A Scandal in Belgravia, was first screened at 8.10pm on New Year’s Day on BBC1 and was watched by millions of viewers.


The BBC has faced criticism for broadcasting sexually charged footage before. In September it emerged that hundreds of viewers had complained to the BBC about explicit homosexual sex on one of its flagship programmes.

More than 500 viewers complained to the broadcaster about scenes in an episode of the popular sci-fi show Torchwood, branding the scenes as “pointless” and irrelevant.

Viewers also expressed their opinions online. One viewer said: “This show is meant to be a sci-fi show. I had to turn it off as my grandson, an avid sci-fi fan, was in the room.

“I am sure both myself and others are disgusted at last night’s show.”

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