Ofcom issues warning over risqué pre-watershed TV

Ofcom has clamped down on scantily clad singers and dancers appearing on TV before the 9pm watershed, in its new guidance for broadcasters.

It comes amid much concern about the sexualisation of children, and follows a furore over sexually provocative dances on last year’s X Factor final.

The move also comes as the BBC has reportedly cut some overtly sexualised dance moves from its Strictly Come Dancing show.


In its new guidance Ofcom, the media watchdog, warns broadcasters that before 9pm it “would not expect to see singers and dancers wearing clothing that does not adequately cover their bodies (in particular their breasts, genital area and buttocks)”.

The group, which has a statutory duty to protect young people, also cautioned broadcasters to take “particular care” with “family shows” – programmes that attract a significant child audience despite not being made for children.

In relation to music videos broadcast before the watershed, Ofcom gives guidance on issues including sexual images, clothing and dancing.

It warns that while “music videos will rarely contain sexually explicit images”, the “cumulative effect of certain images or combination of images can result in material of a sexualised nature in music videos which is unsuitable for child viewers and could cause offence”.


An editorial in The Observer backed the new guidance, saying it “is not prudery to believe that there is an adult duty to try to manage information on behalf of the children in one’s care”.

Reflecting similar concerns, a BBC source has revealed bosses were worried “viewers might be shocked” at some dance moves on its Strictly Come Dancing show, and so toned them down.

The source told a national newspaper, “bosses felt things had gone too far this year and stepped in before the show aired to get some of the moves clipped”.


According to the source, bosses “were concerned viewers might be shocked at some of the more sexy moves planned for the first two live shows”.

The source said dancers could “get away with more” on an edition of the show which was broadcast after 9pm.

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