Tara Conlan: shameless

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 8, 2005

Category: Christ...

This entry was posted on
Saturday, January 8th, 2005
2:15 pm and is filed
under Christ….

Congratulations, Daily Mail; you just sold a newspaper. I knew you’d be too gutless to put something like this online…

Extract from print version of the Daily Mail – Sat Jan 08 2004:

BBC bosses get death threat as 50,000 complain over Springer
by Tara Conlan
As protest grew yesterday over the BBC’s decision to screen the controversial musical Jerry Springer – The Opera, it emerged that BBC bosses and their families have received death threats. Police are investigating warnings of ‘bloodshed’ made to the homes of key executives, understood to include BBC2 chief Roly Keating.

Note the author. Note the primary target of the death threats. Not the sheer audacity of Tara Conlan!

Her Dec 3 2004 article, which seemed to suggest that Roly Keating was deliberately goading conservative Christians, is the centrepiece of the main circular behind these protests. A circular that begins by asking if Christians are willing to go to the same lengths as Sikhs who recently made death threats of their own.

Even if it turns out that she didn’t inject words provided by John Beyer into Roly Keating’s mouth, she is largely responsible for these death threats. Yet here she is reporting it as if it’s nothing to do with her!

Telegraph – My show has 7,549 fewer swear words than people say, but who’s counting?: A pressure group called Mediawatch is orchestrating a campaign against the show, which it maintains includes 8,000 swear words, 3,168 of them f—s and 297 of them c—s. There are actually seven c—s in the show – four of them adjectives, and three of them nouns. At the National Theatre, the sentence in which they all appear often received a standing ovation. There are, in fact, 117 f—s in the show, all of them sung beautifully by a hugely talented cast, leaving Mediawatch with a shortfall of 3,051 f—s. The Daily Telegraph has gone to the trouble of counting all the swear words in the show and pegs the figure at 451, some 7,549 less than Mediawatch’s figure, but I think the organisation must have included category B and C obscenities such as “ass”, “poop” and “nipple” to hit this score.

An unofficial BBC count (which goes right down the list to include instances of ‘ho’) has the sweary count at 339, but personally I don’t think it matters. (Actually, I always found it kind of odd watching Jerry Springer in this country. Coming from the US, it has all the swear words bleeped out. These words would be broadcastable in this country after 9pm, and I’m quite comfortable about that. But broadcasters here do cut out moments of extreme violence and confrontation that were the trademark of the original show that this opera parodies – and I’m very pleased about that.)

What matters here is that the lie about the number of expletives – repeated in Conlan’s article referenced above and in The Sun today – was one of several lies in a campaign deliberately designed to outrage the Christian community.

What matters here is that John Beyer and Tara Conlan (and the lovely minions of Murdoch over at The Sun) spread these lies not to protect the public, but to further their own agenda.

What matters here is that – in these days of increased conservative confidence, with a recently stung and still vulnerable broadcaster, following a disgraceful incident of mob censorship – they very nearly got away with it.

I don’t think it’s entirely unfair to describe this as incitement to religious hatred. I’m seriously considering that criminal charges are in order at this stage. What do you think?


  1. Guy Gooberman says

    Yes! Do it, sue the ass off them! Sometimes I read things here and I just want to scream my lungs out with sheer frustration.I’m upset now.

  2. Wolf Solent says

    YA story about it here: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=598707 – nice to see that it’s now got to the stage where the DUP can’t even be bothered making up their own ill-informed crap and have to rely on reading out other people’s in order to get in the paper…

  3. Manic says

    “I don’t think the BBC would screen anything which would offend the Islamic community” says Pastor Robert Birnie.I’ve heard this line of bull a lot in this ‘debate’… and we all know what this ‘point’ suggests.PS – Monkey Dust, anyone?

  4. Wolf Solent says

    *slaps forehead in disbelief*I’d forgotten one incredibly salient fact among all this, and it’s one which I think might be useful if anyone is interested in taking the PCC route.The Daily Mail is being sued to the tune of several hundred thousand pounds by Avalon, the promoters of “JS:TO” (whose credit, I am willing to bet, will appear at the end of the show) over allegations in the Mail regarding ticket sales. See http://www.playbill.com/news/article/89186.html for more details. The first article appeared ten days before the court case was due to be heard – does anyone know how things turned out?

  5. What You Can Get Awa says


    And by the way, when you hear anyone talking about the number of complaints the BBC have received about Jerry Springer: The Opera you might want to note that it seems every message they receive about it is being treated as a complaint. See here and her…

  6. Manic says

    “The reason for the trauma, say the show’s producers, is that a libel action fought against the Daily Mail is proving cripplingly expensive.”Yarr, I think I smells a strong wind a brewin’…

  7. Manic says

    posted without comment:Should BBC show Jerry Springer opera?http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/4154385.stm

  8. Scott Matthewman says

    Has anybody worked out where the “3,168 fucks and 297 cunts” counts have come from? Radio Times (published last Tuesday) used the same figures, but didn’t identify where the numbers originated…

  9. Manic says

    1. Never bought the Radio Times myself. I rely on the Information jobbie in Saturday’s Independent. If it’s not available at the newsagents tomorrow, I may have to ask someone to scan that. I want to read the context.2. The first instance of these numbers appears to be Tara Conlan’s Dec 3 2004 article. I tried to dig around Mediawatch’s (very broken) site; even though Google’s cache, the Web Archive and Usenet. But I couldn’t find a MW-UK press release pushing the Keating quote and/or these numbers. If it exists, I’d love to see it. I’ve already put to Conlan (by email) a pretty straightforward question regarding the origin of these figures.

  10. Wolf Solent says

    And more – http://www.irishnews.com/access/breakingnews/story.asp?j=160048863&p=y6xx49734&n=160049764&x=“The leader of the Christian People’s Alliance Party, Cllr Alan Craig, called for the suspension of BBC2 controller Roly Keating and an investigation into why the programme had been deemed suitable for broadcast.”Miranda Suit, one of the founders of MediaWatch, was a CPAP candidate for Bexley & Bromley in the London Assembly elections (her biography at:http://www.cpalliance.net/cpaassemblycandidates.aspnotes that she “has a special interest in ethnic minorities but also wants the national identity of the British strengthened”). Previous CPAP causes include campaigning for the retention of Section 28.

  11. Wolf Solent says
  12. Bloggy says

    Excuse me for being upset with the idiots protesting, but have they not heard of the off switch? If you don’t like something, don’t watch it! It is that easy! Unfortunately, it seems that people have to “rubber neck” these things, just to see if they really are as bad as the reports suggest.Also, to suggest that the screening of this production is a waste of the Licence payers money fills me with despair. Does that mean that I can now legitamtely complain about each and every programme that is of no interest to me, on the grounds that they will all be a waste of money? Let me tell you, there would be a hell of a lot of programmes I would complain about.Prostesting before watching and quoting as fact information about the content of a programme is not only wrong but shows what a stupid pack mentality we have in this country these days.Come on people, think for yourselves, don’t pretend to be sheep all the time.Excelent reporting Tim, as ever.RegardsBloggy.

  13. wibbler.com says

    I swear it’s all out of proportion

    On Saturday, I went to my first live football match. This, for anyone who knows me, is an astounding revelation and one that should be rightly yelled from the rooftops – or at least here on wibbler.com. However, a piece…

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