IBA Archive at Bournemouth University

Documents | Correspondence

Mr. R. McWhirter v IBA (Warhol) – Letters forwarded from Min. of Posts

Document Information

File: 3078/2/79/5

Box: 3995531

Summary of Document

This file contains correspondence and reports from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications to the Authority regarding the broadcast of offensive material on television. The date range of this file is from December 1972 to May 1972. Much of the correspondence is in response to the Andy Warhol documentary that was scheduled to air on 16 January 1973.

There are various letters of complaint from the public written to the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, or forwarded to the Ministry by MPs, on the documentary film “Warhol”. These letters have been answered by a form letter in which the Ministry maintained that it is improper for the government to interfere with the broadcasting content. Many of the letters referred to an injunction filed by Ross McWhirter to stop the broadcast of the documentary, and were written before the documentary aired. The documentary eventually aired in March 1973. Many of the letters also referred to other controversial films of the era including “Oh, Calcutta”, “A Clockwork Orange”, and “Last Tango in Paris”, as well as another Warhol film, “Trash”.

One of the questions that arose within the Ministry was whether the Obscene Publications Acts of 1959 and 1964 cover television and radio. The letter from Mark Carlisle discussed the question of what legislation covered broadcasting and films, and went on to discuss indecent public display, abortion and euthanasia, controversial issues that were also referenced in a letter from a constituent not wholly referencing the Warhol documentary.


Letter dated February 1973 from R O’Malley to [letter writer]

Letter dated 17 May 1973 from Sir John Eden[letter writer]

Page 1 of letter dated 1 May 1973 from Mark Carlisle to [letter writer]


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