Just got through reading an article about Tony Blair, the PM of the UK, releasing Benny Hill tapes that had been banned for their content.
I am a little puzzled. Certainly there are porno tapes in Britian, so there is genuinely racier material. But I thought that the U.K. had freedom of speech laws similar to the U.S. Plus gossip rags far worse than the National Enquirer. Whats up?
The UK doesn’t exactly have “freedom of speech laws similar to the US,” but it is hard to imagine them censoring Benny Hill. Did the article specify what the content was in these episodes that got them banned?
I don’t know for a fact that Benny Hill HAS been censored in England. But if his videos HAVE been censored, it probably wasn’t for obscenity as for perceived sexism.
Now, while there was never any nudity or obscenity in any of Benny Hill’s TV shows, most of them revolve around Benny leering at scantily-clad girls. To some conservative folks in Britain, this was distasteful, while to Britiain’s more militant feminists, this borders on sexual harassment. My guess is, IF the Labour party has turned against Benny Hill, it’s the latter group that inspired them.
Personally, I don’t see what the fuss was about. Benny Hill’s humor was utterly harmless, and (above all) the joke was always on HIM!!! He NEVER ended up with the pretty girl he was dreaming about. Indeed, he invariably ended up getting slapped, arrested, or running for his life (to the tune of “Yakkety Sax”).
Benny Hill’s comic persona was no powerful rich white male oppressing women- he was a dork who lusted after women he had no earthly hope of attracting, and always got comic comeuppance for it. Why this should offend any feminist is beyond me.
cooldude, Tony Blair has no power to ban (or re-release) any video tape, film, TV programme or anything else in this country. Censorship of videos (or “certification”) as it is more euphamisticly known, is handled by an independent body, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). Basically, everything short of hard-core pornography is freely available in any high street video shop (hard-core pornography is available through licenced sex-shops).
FWIW, I’ve come across no similar story in the British papers in recent weeks.
However, I do seem to recall an article along these lines in The Onion a few months ago.