Virgin TV customers must have thought Richard Branson’s company was living up to its name when their TV guide got censored.
Programme titles suddenly came over all chaste. Their viewing consisted of an episode of Never Mind The Buzzc**ks, a football match featuring A**enal, a film directed by Alfred Hitch**ck and a dramatisation of a literary classic penned by one Charles D***ens. Sheffield’s famous musical son Jarvis got whitewashed, too. He had his surname sanitised to C**ker.
Censorship gone mad, you cry?
Well, actually, yes; it was the work of an overzealous profanity checker (a computerised automatic tool, one assumes, not a real-live person; some offspring of Mary Whitehouse, suddenly going mad with power and pressing the asterisk button w**ly nilly. Though I do much prefer that mental image).
Residents of one picturesque local village know only too well what it feels like to fall foul of a dirty-word filter.
The good inhabitants of Penistone suffered what is known as The Scunthorpe Problem, a phrase coined when an AOL spam filter decided the East Lincolnshire town’s name contained a very rude word (I have to say it took me quite a while to spot it). The glitch saw the internet service provider refusing to give online accounts to both Scunnies and Penistonians (I dare not attempt an abbreviated form).
Poor sprinter Tyson Gay, though; he was once renamed Tyson Homosexual by the American Family Association’s overly-keen filter.