Taggart in Trouble with Broadcasting Regulators

Repeats of the crime drama series, Taggart, have got its makers into trouble with the broadcasting regulators, including for one episode showing a woman being forced to swallow bleach.

The problem was that the repeats – on ITV1 – were shown during the late afternoon, when children could be tuning in. The regulator found ITV1 in breach of its rules on violence, protecting children and meeting audience expectation.

The series – made by the owners of stv – was orginally made for a 9pm broadcast slot. But ITV had emptied what used to be children’s programming during the late afternoon, leaving stv to respond at ‘short notice’ with a request to fill the gap. While it undertook edits to make the episodes less grissly, Ofcom says there were not enough.

Nor were the regulators convinced by the argument that, in advance of the broadcasts, the audience would be aware of what they were letting themselves in for, notwithstanding Taggart’s reputation as consisting of at least one murder. And not all the episodes were teed up with a warning of what was about to follow.

Reports Ofcom: “stv confirmed that some episodes of Taggart were considered unsuitable for an afternoon timeslot because of the subject matter. For the episodes that were shown, the broadcaster said the programme was edited to reduce the levels of violence. Overall, stv considered the low level of the child audience – over the afternoon repeats, an average two per cent of viewers to the programme were children – indicated that the programmes had been appropriately scheduled.

“stv pointed out that the sequence where a man set himself alight could not be edited out entirely for reasons of continuity. In retrospect, it considered that this episode was inappropriate for broadcast in the afternoon.”