Brass Eye: Season 2, Episode 0

Paedophilia (26 Jul. 2001)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy
9.4
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Ratings: 9.4/10 from 534 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 1 critic

When it was first shown in 2001, this episode galvanised press and public opinion. Chris Morris' satire challenged what he perceived as the hysterical way in which the media treated the issue of paedophilia.

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Title: Paedophilia (26 Jul 2001)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Amelia Bullmore ...
Beauty Pageant Mother
...
Valise Belcher / Glam Rock Singer / Tyrona Smollox / Beauty Pageant Mother
...
Glam Rock Guitarist / Beauty Pageant Father
Paul Mark Elliott ...
Fenton Beasley (as Paul Mark Elliot)
...
Young Jez North
...
Swanchita Haze
Christopher Morris ...
Christopher Morris / Ted Maul / Austen Tassletine / Adam Glape / David Quoosp / Pedo-Files Presenter / JLb-8
...
Gerard Chote
...
Himself
Sebastian Coe ...
Himself (as Lord Coe of Ranmore)
...
Himself
Neil Fox ...
Himself (as Dr. Fox)
Andy McNab ...
Himself
Gerald Howarth ...
Himself (as Gerald Howarth MP)
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Storyline

When it was first shown in 2001, this episode galvanised press and public opinion. Chris Morris' satire challenged what he perceived as the hysterical way in which the media treated the issue of paedophilia.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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pedophile | See All (1) »

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Welcome to Paedogeddon

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Comedy

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Release Date:

26 July 2001 (UK)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This special was a parody of the hysteria over paedophilia stoked by the British news media in 2000. Channel 4 received over 3,000 complaints and the network issued a public apology. Politicians also condemned the programme but many of them admitted that they had not actually seen it. Christopher Morris never publicly addressed the controversy. See more »

Quotes

Chris Morris: [talking about paedophile Jes North] One day, a stairwell nonce-bashing left him quadrospazzed on a life-glug.
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Crazy Credits

Catapult Operators - Howard Jacobson, Mungo Jerry See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Most Outrageous TV Moments Ever (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

Refreshing satire at the time that is still worth a look even if its importance and impact will have faded a little with time and passing context
27 December 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A news special looking at the evil plague of paedophilia that stalks every street and puts every child at risk. They look just like ordinary people but they have the morals of crabs and will use any trick they can to get their hands on kiddies. Fearless reporter Chris Morris puts his subtlety and balance on hold and sets out with the help of many stars to expose the threat this overwhelming evil poses.

My plot summary is an attempt at the humour that this special programme delivered, although I don't think I can ever do justice to Chris Morris who may not be a genius but is certainly a very twisted individual. Before I review it, a little history. When this show came on the air it drew record complaints to Channel 4 and an entire storm of headlines from the Daily Mail (or, as some call it, the Daily Hate). At one point I got so annoyed by people like Mediawatch (Mary Whitehouse's organisation) chasing the moral high ground that I wrote to the top man (forget his name) to defend the show and also point out that in the same paper he had given an interview (Daily Star I think), on the same day but a few pages later was a picture of Charlotte Church with a headline like "Making a Fresh Breast" and a bit of text about how she's growing up nicely (if you know what I mean). Ironically she was 15 at the time.

He wrote back and disagreed with everything of course, said he didn't know about the Church thing (who'd have though the Star would letch after young women?) but was generally polite in the way that upper class English white men will always tend to be in letters. Anyway, my point at the time was that the show was not making light of paedophilia but was rather satirising the hysteria of the media in handling the subject, stirring up mob action and anger against anyone suspected of being a paedophile. Whether you think they all deserve to be shot or all require treatment in very secure facilities, this is still a valid point and the show succeeded in delivering it with Morris' unique sense of humour.

However it was all very, very sharp and dark and I understand why some viewers hated it (although Channel 4 actually got more compliments than complaints – I was one of the former in an attempt to provide balance). It is a very serious subject and, although he was digging at the media, it does still give the impression of trivialising the issue. Morris was also accused of mocking the stars who were giving their time to a good cause but personally I thought they were part of the point – that the outrageous things they were asked to say are only a few steps worse than the "truths" they are sold by the media normally. Perhaps the attacks on the media is part of the reason that the storm in the papers the next few days was so intense? Regardless this was classic Brass Eye and was as absurd and as clever a piece of satire as Morris was known for. Personally some of his stuff is a bit too "out there" for me (Jam and the like was not to my taste) but I love satire and his was generally imaginative, sharp and funny. The special will be remembered for years for the storm it kicked up but I hope that it is remembered as well for hitting a big ugly target bang in the middle. Years later the red top tabloids and the middle-England papers continue to play to the base elements of their readers and simplify and stir up issues and I wish we had someone like this to continue to mock it whenever he sees it. This was a great special that was refreshing at the time due to its topicality but is still worth seeing if you get the chance.


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