Too much swearing on TV , says Jason
Published 05/12/2011 | 07:55
TV star Sir David Jason has hit out at the amount of swearing, violence and sexual images that children are exposed to on the small screen.
The Only Fools And Horses actor said that he found it impossible to protect his 10-year-old daughter from some of the content, because it was so prolific.
He told the Christmas Radio Times that he was attracted to his new role in BBC1's The Royal Bodyguard because it was "safe" enough for family viewing.
Sir David, 71, said of his daughter Sophie: "I try to protect what she sees on television, but you can't.
"Take the adverts - I was watching SpongeBob, a favourite cartoon of ours, but suddenly a scent advert came on with this girl stripping off as she walks towards the camera.
"It's done for mums but they forget a lot of girls are watching these powerful images."
He added: "There wasn't much on telly the other night so with Sophie and her friend we watched Laurel and Hardy, made in the 1930s, and these kids laughed like drains.
"That's humour - doing what funny people have done since comedy began without being edgy and pushing boundaries."
The veteran TV star added: "The trouble now is we have stand-up comedians who have forgotten about innuendo.
"In music hall days, and especially at the BBC, you were never allowed swear words, so they came up with brilliant wheezes in Beyond Our Ken, The Goon Show and Round the Horne - 'Hello, I'm Jules and this is my friend Sandy'.
"Everyone knew what it was about and the audience filled in the gaps.
"Today they push down barriers. Take the 'f' word. It's become commonplace... Language has implications and it's offensive if it's meant to denigrate something or someone. Only Fools had nothing unpleasant, really."
Sir David, who made his name as Del Boy in Only Fools And Horses, added: "I shouldn't be telling you this, but when Del Boy calls Rodney a dipstick, BBC executives thought it was OK because, 'He's so tall and thin, how terribly funny,' so it slipped past.
"Had they known the Cockney rhyming slang they might have taken it out."
Sir David, who married Sophie's mother Gill Hinchcliffe in 2005, said: "I'm sorry to say that we - and particularly the youth - have become addicted to violence.
"I grew up with war and cowboy and Indian films, which were make-believe, where victims did this romantic dying thing.
"Now we see graphic shots of legs and arms blown off. And you have such violent video games. They must have an influence, the same as graphic sexual images, which are absorbed into our culture."
The actor said he agreed with The Royal Bodyguard's director Mark Bussell, who said: "There's been a trend in comedy in my favourite shows like Extras or Family Guy, to challenge each other to see what taboos to break. Can we make jokes about handicapped people? We wanted to make viewers laugh without that."
Sir David, who starred in A Touch Of Frost for 17 years, said of his new role as royal bodyguard: "The most important thing for me is that I can sit back and watch it with my 10-year-old daughter, Sophie, without thinking, 'Whoops, why did they say that? Oh blimey' - and then unable get to the 'off' knob fast enough."