All Saints: articles

Not so saintly episode

ANGRY viewers bombarded the Channel 7 switchboard on Tuesday night after All Saints actor John Howard used the “f” word on camera.

Making his debut on the popular local medical drama, Howard used the word in comments to Georgie Parker’s character, Terri, near the end of the show.

Howard plays the hospital’s new head of emergency.

Seven said it had received more than 100 calls in Melbourne and many hundreds more around Australia.

Seven’s head of drama, John Holmes, said All Saints’ M classification permitted coarse language, provided it was appropriate to the storyline or program context.

By Robert Fidgeon
April 22, 2004
The Herald Sun


The scene in which actor John Howard swears at Georgie Parker’s character

Don't swear at our Georgie

SHE might have lost out on the Gold Logie on Sunday—but Seven has learned the hard way that viewers still love Georgie Parker.

The network yesterday received hundreds of complaints about Tuesday night’s episode of the hospital soap All Saints in which a character swore at the character of nurse Terri Sullivan, played by Parker.

Radio talkback programs were flooded with listeners upset at the language.

“The issue seems to be that you don’t say ‘f…ing’ to their golden girl,” a network spokesperson said yesterday.

The offending comment was made by former SeaChange star John Howard, who joined the All Saints cast in Tuesday’s episode as Frank Campion, the head of the hospital’s emergency department.

During an heated argument about staff members with nurse Terri at the end of the episode, Campion said: “It’s not your f——in’ staff.” [note: this quote is incorrect, the actual line used is that highlighted in the article below]

Last night Parker said that she believed the reaction was a positive thing.

“It’s a good response because it’s not about the shock words—we’ve sworn on the show before—but because people clearly feel really protective about Terri,” she said.

“It’s like they really feel for her as a character and don’t like her being under attack by a very confronting man.

“It’s great to know they care for her so much.”

Asked if she thought John Howard’s character would say sorry, Parker said no.

“People who say that kind of thing don’t say sorry,” she said.

Seven yesterday defended the language in the 8.30pm timeslot.

“Within an M classification code, coarse language is permitted provided it is appropriate to the storyline or program context,” a statement read.

Consumer advice warning about the language had also been displayed at the start of the episode.

However it is understood that Seven’s chief executive, David Leckie, contacted the show’s producers after becoming concerned by the volume of complaints received.

“Well it was a bit late to be worried about it by then,” Parker said.

“He should have watched it before it went to air.”

Meanwhile, the Commercial Television Industry’s annual report on viewer complaints was released yesterday.

It showing that official complaints to stations from October 2002 to September 2003 were down 0.5 per cent on the number of complaints the previous year.

A total 741 written complaints were received about matters covered by the industry’s Code of Practice, amounting to less than two complaints per month for each commercial station.

“This is a great achievement given we collectively broadcast over 21,000 hours of programming each year,” said David Gyngell, chairman of Commercial Television Australia.

By Eleanor Sprawson
April 22, 2004
The Daily Telegraph

My sainted aunt! F-words and a lost mobile

VIEWERS, we aren’t in Ward 17 any more.

The use of the f-word in Tuesday night’s episode of the revamped version of Australian drama All Saints, which has moved its operations from Ward 17 to the emergency department, prompted a flood of phone calls to Channel 7 yesterday.

Seven said it had received about 100 phone calls in regards to the episode, which also included a storyline involving a man who had a mobile phone stuck in an uncomfortable part of his anatomy.

The network yesterday issued a statement defending the inclusion of the offensive word into the new-look show, which has struggled to attract viewers in the last year, and said it was within the guidelines set out for the program’s M classification.

Under the Australian Broadcasting Authority’s commercial television code of practice, coarse language under the M classification must be used in context.

“The use of coarse language must be appropriate to the story line or program context, infrequent and neither detailed nor very aggressive,” it reads.

The furore erupted after actor John Howard’s character Frank asked Georgie Parker’s Teri, “Can I make it any f——ing clearer?” in the closing minutes of the episode, just before 9.30pm.

While the episode was a hot topic on talkback radio yesterday, it was not so hot among viewers—only 201,000 people tuned in compared with the 345,000 who tuned in at the same time to Nine’s CSI.

Dr Karen Brooks, a senior lecturer in popular culture at the University of the Sunshine Coast, said the community reaction to the swear word illustrated that Australians are not as forward thinking about their own product as it may appear.

“While we kid ourselves that we’re progressive, we’re actually a deeply conservative society,” she said.

“We’re not as liberal as we think we are.”

However, Dr Brooks said there had been a culture shift of some note, with John Howard unlikely to be banned from television for his language, as Graham Kennedy was in 1975, when he uttered a suspicious crow call on Channel 9.

Comparatively, the use of the c-word on Nine’s Sex in the City in the late night 9.30pm timeslot attracted only 10 complaints nationally when it was aired last year.

By Emma Chalmers
April 22, 2004
The Courier Mail