Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Revealed: The Words That Could Get You Banned from Television. (Now What?)

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Revealed: The Words That Could Get You Banned from Television. (Now What?)

Article excerpt

I don't think I've actually ever sworn on national radio or TV. What I did do, though, was bumble my way into a live on-air nightmare on GMTV a couple of years ago.

After a pretty good week's run standing in for Lorraine Kelly, when I managed to both walk and talk at the same time on breakfast telly (quite a feat, I can tell you), Ross, the lovely presenter, turned to me and said, "So, Lauren have you enjoyed your time on GMTV?"

We had just seconds left for my big farewell. The farewell that would be so bright and memorable that the show's producers would immediately sign me up for a lifetime's contract. They would pay me so much money that I would buy a series of exclusive homes and instantly forget about world poverty and the horrors of globalisation, fretting only about the depth of my tan and what degree of leg waxing I should choose. An alternative future hung in my grasp, the pressure was immense, I had no time to think.

Grinning, I opened my arms out in that cheerful "hey guys" pose favoured by ladettes of the day and said loudly and clearly: "Yes, I've got the drug!"

The cheery music came up and I never heard from GMTV again.

What I meant was "I've got the bug". Tragically, as the lights were switched off, I remember saying pleadingly to anyone who'd listen, "I meant 'bug', don't you see...I love it so much I've got the bug, ha ha..."

At that time, Big Breakfast was setting the benchmark for how to win morning viewers. Soft swearing, such as "shag" and "slag" were the ultimate in cool over your cornflakes. How times have changed. An e-mail has been forwarded to me listing words that are verboten on Channel 4's new morning show, Rise. It threatens that "anyone allowing swear words to be used ... will be held personally accountable..." and "a wallet-sized version [of the warning] will also be distributed so you can take it with you when you're out in the field". …

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