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Banned! The Mary Whitehouse Story | BBC Two 5 April 2022

Banned! The Mary Whitehouse Story | BBC Two 5 April

Episode 2

Episode two joins Mary in the 1970s. Her battle with permissive society is hotting up, as ideas of progress and suggestions that nothing should be censored gain currency.

We meet her adversaries: nude actress and men’s magazine columnist Fiona Richmond, who publicly objects to Mary’s ‘bullying’ desire to standing in the way of her personal freedoms, and the then pornographer, now co-owner of West Ham FC, David Sullivan, who decides to take the fight to Mary with the audacious move of calling his flagship porn magazine Whitehouse.

Intent on being the nation’s moral guardian, Mary takes her battles to the courts, where she becomes, as Geoffrey Robertson QC calls her, Director of Private Prosecutions. She famously gets Gay News prosecuted for a poem she deems blasphemous, and a play The Romans In Britain for a public sex act, but in both cases things don’t go quite according to plan.

In her final campaigning phase, Mary gets closer to the seat of power than anyone thought possible with her relationship with Mrs Thatcher. The birth of home video and her railing against so-called ‘video nasties’ raise her profile even further. But the growth of all media, leading to eventual advent of the internet, overtakes anything Whitehouse can do to censor content.

Using a vast campaigning archive housed at The University of Essex, and featuring contributions from Julia Harrison (actress who was then Fiona Richmond), David Sullivan, Geoffrey Robertson QC, Beatrix Campbell, Louise Perry, Lord Michael Hastings, Peter Bradshaw and Natasha Walter, the films hear first-hand testimony from the people who knew her, who studied her work – including author Ben Thompson – and who took her on.

Banned! The Mary Whitehouse Story is a BBC Studios documentary. It was commissioned for BBC Arts and BBC Two by Mark Bell and the Director and Producer is Hannah Berryman.

April 5 @ 21:00
21:00 — 22:00 (1h)

BBC Two

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