Differences between American and British TV


    So, we have a Roku and usually choose what to watch from whatever is free on Amazon Prime. I love mystery shows of all kinds, and am a certified Anglophile, so British crime shows are an obvious choice. I’ve just finished a short series called Case Histories and have started DCI Banks. Both of these programs have depicted nude female victims with breasts on display for a considerable length of time–long enough to not have to wonder, “Did I really see that?” because it is obvious those chilly nipples are still right there on display for the whole scene. I had thought maybe they were mannequins, but I caught one “dead” body breathing and another blinking, so an actress had to lie there, breasts on full display to all and sundry for the length of however many takes it took to get the scene shot, naked and pretending to be murdered. In the US, that stuff is always conveniently covered by a stray arm or edge of a sheet or something; we never see nipples on American TV, and rarely see even non-naked victims for more than a few seconds. Am I watching the British equivalent to HBO or are the rules different over there? Any Brits on TMB who can explain? I just really wasn’t expecting to see quite so much flesh in my mystery shows.

    Under the stars Asked on July 11, 2019 in Pornography .
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    7 Answer(s)
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      In the UK, we have a “watershed” at 9pm. It is assumed that before this time, children may be watching so there are strict rules regarding nudity, sex, violence and swearing.

      After this time, it’s assumed that children won’t be watching so the rules are relaxed. There are still guidelines that should be followed, and nudity should be justified, but breasts and buttocks are allowed. It’s an editorial decision that’s supposed to take into account the likely audience.

      Fell out of ... Answered on July 12, 2019.
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        I am not British but I am a big viewer of British TV. I have noticed that there is a difference on what has been allowed on the PBS version and the one we see on Amazon Prime. I have watched both shows you mentioned along with some comedies. I notice more nudity and open sex talk/ scenes.

        Queen bed Answered on July 11, 2019.

        So it’s not my imagination, and I didn’t just manage to pick the dirty shows! I’m so glad! 🙂

        on July 11, 2019.
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          Some quick reserch showed the nudity is allowed on TV in the UK after 9 p.m.   This page has some decent info on it from people who I guess live there.


          Queen bed Answered on July 11, 2019.

          Thanks @scoutwes! That was interesting (and informative).

          on July 11, 2019.
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            It’s fairly common in most of Europe to see nudity in “normal” TV shows after a certain hour of night. Violence, on the other hand, is typically more frowned on, culturally speaking.

            California King Answered on July 12, 2019.
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              Same relaxation of rules in Australia after 9pm, although we seem to partner with and swap programs regularly with the UK and Canada.  We also have a free-to-air station (mostly funded by our Government) which shows a lot of European content which can be far more ‘out there’ than what you are describing.

              On the violence issue I would suggest ‘our’ TV shows depict the level of violence that occurs within our societies.  You yanks seem to have a huge gun culture and attendant gun violence problem, so you show a lot of it on TV.  We don’t.

              Queen bed Answered on July 13, 2019.
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                Oh ….. and not that you asked but ……… Vera and Endeavor are really good British crime shows. Endeavour in particular is incredibly good with movie quality production and set in the sixties.

                Queen bed Answered on July 14, 2019.
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                  I find this “watershed” concept intriguing. Our DD hasn’t willingly gone to bed before 9 pm since early middle school. I’d still rather she didn’t see a lot of nudity.

                  Under the stars Answered on July 12, 2019.

                  So funny how it’s rarely ever male nudity….not that i want to see that, either.

                  on July 12, 2019.

                  It’s rarely full female nudity either.  As a general rule, breasts and buttocks can be shown, but not genitals.

                  The watershed is a gradual thing. The assumption is that before 9pm, young children might be watching so there are strict rules as to what can be shown. As it gets later, the assumption is that children will go to bed leaving a gradually more adult audience, and as a result the rules gradually get relaxed. It’s not a free for all, and there are still guidelines that have to be followed and a regulator (called ofcom) to whom viewers can complain if they think that programmes are inappropriate.

                  The rules are probably quite anachronistic as they come from a time when TV’s were expensive and before home video recorders were common. The assumption was that most families had one TV in the living room and would watch things together as a family. Parents therefore had control over what their children were watching, and putting things unsuitable for children on late at night was an effective way of preventing access.

                  It’s worth bearing in mind that different channels have different target audiences and therefore different attitudes. Channel 4 is largely aimed at the young adult market, and so has more of a tendency to push the boundaries of what is acceptable. The BBC is our national broadcaster and tends to be more conservative, and ITV is between the two.

                  on July 13, 2019.
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