The BBC is facing pressure not to air a documentary about teenage sex that it accepts is not educational. The hour-long Sex Season programme, called 'Cherry Healey: Like A Virgin', includes the F-word and discussions about oral sex and sex aids and is due to be screened on BBC3 on Thursday.
"The show is terrible, almost a freak show. It's also irresponsible, inappropriate, disturbing and even exploitative towards some of those featured in it," the Daily Express quoted Vivienne Pattison, of TV watchdog Mediawatch, as saying.
"For a programme clearly aimed at a teenage audience it is extremely irresponsible not to include any discussion of safe sex," she said. Pattison said that the documentary, which is being screened straight after the 9pm watershed, flouts the Ofcom code dealing with 'generally accepted standards'.
The documentary begins with Cherry Healey, 31, a former Cheltenham Ladies' College pupil, reading from her diary when she was 16. She reads: "I'm going to **** Ed senseless."
The programme introduces a young man, Dan, from a jazz band who shows her a condom described as a 'willy hat' and jokes with her about sexual positions. She then hosts a discussion with a group of young men, one of whom claims he had oral sex with a woman outside McDonalds.
Another contributor to the show is 17-year-old virgin Beth Taylor who is filmed having a bikini wax before going on holiday. "She is packed off to Lanzarote to lose her virginity without even a condom," Pattison said.
"Teenagers are already under pressure to lose their virginity. I think this show will encourage them to do so," she said. However, Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley and a member of the Commons Culture Select Committee, had a different viewpoint.
"If people have a problem with it they can switch their TV off," he said. BBC plans to go ahead with its programming as planned and show the documentary at its 9 pm slot. "Cherry Healey: Like A Virgin adheres to BBC editorial guidelines and is scheduled appropriately with a strong language warning prior to transmission," a BBC spokeswoman said.