✎ Sit down, Nigel Barton 

25 February 2018 tbs.pm/65089

The brilliant John Hoare at Dirty Feed has sat down and read the original script to Dennis Potter’s 1960 plays Stand Up, Nigel Barton, then watched it through to see how those script translated to the screen.

The plays and its companion piece Vote, Vote, Vote for Nigel Barton aired on consecutive weeks in 1965 as part of BBC-1’s The Wednesday Play strand, also home to social action plays like Cathy Come Home. As such, in Hugh Carleton Greene’s BBC at least, a certain degree of latitude was allowed vs the standards of television of the day.

How much of a latitude is clearly visible thank’s to John’s forensic examination. The main takeaway is that “bloody” is acceptable, despite being a very offensive word in the 1960s, but “Christ!” is not; “bum”, “bugger” and “God!” are also excised, as is the single use of “shit” – which was evidently filmed but cut from the transmission.

This article tells us a lot about where the censorship line lay in the mid-1960s BBC – a time when the explicit rules of The Green Book had been superseded by a more nebulous system that trusted producers but also managed to contrive to keep them on a tight management leash.

Fascinating and well worth a read. dirtyfeed.org/2018/02/stand-up-nigel-barton/

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