Channel 4 is facing fierce criticism after it emerged that Jamie Oliver’s new show will feature two teenage boys being asked to leave the room to produce sperm samples for analysis in a science class.
The controversial scenes will be aired next month on Jamie’s Dream School, a show in which celebrity teachers deliver lessons to troubled teens in a bid to turn their lives around.
The programme, which will be aired next month, will show fertility expert Professor Robert Winston asking two boys to leave the classroom to produce sperm samples so that the mixed class of 16 to 18-year-olds can examine them.
However, the controversial lesson has been slammed by critics.
Ann Widdecombe, a former Home Office Minister, said: “I think it’s hugely distasteful. I am amazed Channel 4 are letting it go out. It is horrible.
“It’s yet another step towards the road that there is no limit to what you can put on television these days.”
Her concerns were echoed by David Turtle, spokesman for the pressure group Mediawatch UK, who said: “This is just a cheap way to get boost ratings and increase advertising revenues.
He added: “If you’re going to have a proper discussion about reproduction and sexuality you don’t do it like this.
“We have serious concerns about the programme and we have concerns about Jamie Oliver as a role model for young people.”
However, Prof Winston defended the lesson saying: “I got some boys to leave the room and come back with a sample of their own seminal fluid for the class to look at under the microscope.
“Instantly kids of both sexes were very excited. I could have brought samples with me into the classroom but everyone knows that that wouldn’t have been the same as looking at your own body.”
And a spokesman for Channel 4 insisted that viewers would not see the samples being produced.
He added: “Written consent was given by the parents of the boys providing samples. All of the students were happy with the lesson and found it enlightening.”
The seven week series will also include lessons by Cherie Blair, Alastair Campbell, rapper Tinchy Stryder, and actor Dominic West.
Last month a Channel 4 show, entitled The Joy of Teen Sex, which provided sexually explicit advice to teens was branded “pornographic” by the UK’s leading media campaign group.
Vivienne Pattison, director of MediaWatch UK, said: “This programme crosses the line into prurience, with graphic scenes of sex that can only be described as pornographic.”
The contentious show, which centered around visitors to a walk-in sex clinic, was fronted by Dr Rachael Jones, social worker Ruth Corden and “resident sex coach” Joanna.
Speaking before the general election, David Cameron said he planned to tackle the premature sexualisation of childhood.
He said: “More and more today, sexual-provocative images are invading public space – space shared by children.
“In the Tube station, at the bus stop, on the billboard – there’s the creeping sense that we’re sleepwalking to a place where ‘porn is the norm’.”
He added: “After all, it’s our shared responsibility to protect children from aggressive commercialism and premature sexualisation.
“This is not about being prudish or old-fashioned. It’s about remembering the simple pleasures of our own childhood – and making sure our children can enjoy them too.”