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Brass Eye

Brass Eye is a UK television series of satirical spoof documentaries that aired on Channel 4 in 1997 and were re-run in 2001.

The series was created by satirist Chris Morris, and written by, amongst others, Morris, David Quantick[?], Peter Baynham[?], Arthur Matthews[?] and Graham Linehan[?].

Brass Eye was the cause of much controversy when first broadcast, primarily because prominent public figures were fooled into pledging onscreen support for fictional, and often plainly absurd, charities and causes. David Amess[?], the Conservative Member of Parliament for Southend[?] West, was fooled into filming an elaborate video warning against the dangers of a fictional Eastern European drug called Cake, and went as far as to ask a question about it in parliament. (Cake purportedly affects an area of the brain called Shatner's Bassoon.)

Michael Grade, then controller of Channel 4, repeatedly intervened to demand edits to episodes of Brass Eye, and rescheduled some shows for sensitivity. This interference outraged Morris, who responded by inserting into one episode a subliminal message denigrating Grade in strong terms. As a result, Brass Eye was not deemed suitable for repeat until 2001, when a new one-off show was added to the run.

This special episode dealt with the highly sensitive subject of paedophilia, and, more specifically, moral panic in the media. Celebrities including Gary Lineker and Phil Collins, were fooled into declaring their support for a charity called 'Nonce Sense', and the show contained scenes which suggested child abuse onscreen. Over 1500 complaints were received regarding the show, and several politicians spoke out against Morris, although David Blunkett, Tessa Jowell[?] and Beverley Hughes[?] all later admitted that they had not seen it. There was also a vociferous tabloid campaign against Morris, who refused to discuss the issue.

The Brass Eye paedophilia episode won a Broadcast magazine award in 2002, and the whole series was released as a bestselling DVD later that year.



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