What the papers say: BBC feels wrath of Christian right

The BBC's decision to broadcast Jerry Springer – The Opera was always likely to be controversial given the recent reaction to play Behzti by some sections of the Sikh community in Birmingham.

The BBC attracted 1.8 million viewers to the ‘important piece of contemporary musical theatre’ (bbc.co.uk, 10 January).

But it attracted a record number of complaints before transmission, based on its alleged blasphemous content and generous use of expletives.

BBC executives also suffered threats: ‘Abusive calls give BBC chiefs a Jerry Springer moment’ (The Guardian, 10 January).

The show spurred a debate on freedom of speech, the arts, and the threat to Britain’s status as a tolerant and democratic society.

Most agreed that Christian groups had a right to defend their views, but few were sure that a moral minority should be able to dictate the BBC’s schedule. ‘It is time for the tolerant majority in Britain to make its voice heard’ (The Independent, 11 January).

Analysis conducted by Echo Research from data supplied to PRWeek from NewsNow. www.echoresearch.com www.newsnow.co.uk

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