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My Jerry Springer Final Thought Jan 09

Aside from the victory for free speech, I’m pleased the broadcast went ahead as I found it pretty enjoyable. It seemed a little unfocussed thematically but it made good use of recurring musical themes and the case gave some great performances.

A couple of moments seemed to reference the musical Chicago (of which I only know what I saw on Musicality) and the tap-dancing Ku Klux Klan members at the end of Act I reminded me of the classic high-kicking Nazis from The Producers. I noticed the face of former Stewart Lee collaborator Simon Munnery on the satirical gun commerical.

There was a lot of a swearing but I somehow managed to sit through the whole thing and not contract Tourette’s as a result. Once you’ve heard the word “fuck” ten or twenty times, what’s another hundred? It might be vulgar, but does it do any harm? If anything, such over-use of the f- and c-words serves only to reduce their impact in future. I had 888 subtitles on as some of the lyrics were hard to make out; I don’t think I’ve seen the c-word on teletext before…

According to the BBC, “Early indications suggested Jerry Springer – The Opera was watched by twice the number of 16-34 year-olds than normally expected for opera.” While a comparison with musicals, rather than classical operas, might be more appropriate, that’s good news. The BBC also said that “it had received 317 calls since the broadcast, more than half of which had been supportive.”

Meanwhile, the National Director of Christian Voice has announced that they will mount a private prosecution of the BBC under the blasphemy act. This is very welcome, although I have to wonder why the organisation didn’t act against these apparently terrible blasphemies during the two years the show has been running in the West End. If successful, the prosecution will prove that the blasphemy laws are not benign and should be repealed from the statute book.

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