Question of the week: how much notice should broadcasters take of complaints?

In case you didn’t know, the Daily Mail has strongly objected to some of the scenes in the first episode of the second series of Sherlock, namely the ones involving nudity and some implied royal lesbian BDSM. No, it wasn’t complaining that you couldn’t see anything good in either scene. It was outraged that those scenes were transmitted before ‘the watershed’, when innocent kiddies could theoretically be watching.

So far the BBC’s response can be characterised as "Pardon?", since it plans on keeping the scenes in an even earlier repeat showing.

Now the BBC does get some pretty stupid complaints but this got me thinking, and maybe it’ll get you thinking, too.

How much notice should broadcasters take of complaints? Should broadcasters stick to their artistic guns and best judgement and ignore what people say or if they’re funded by public money, should they be obliged to take notice of even stupid complaints.

Should the BBC have told everyone who complained about Jeremy Clarkson’s joke/’joke’ about shooting strikers in front of their families to go away in a biological manner? Or was it wrong to let him speak at all? And are our opinions influenced by our politics – if it’s an opinion we agree with, do we let it slide, even if it’s potentially as offensive to those we disagree with as anything they come up with?

Answers below or on your own blog, please.


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.