Jamie Oliver will not be told to steer clear of swearing in his upcoming series, according to Channel 4.

ITV chairman Michael Grade had recently criticised the "indiscriminate" amount of bad language in broadcasting while MPs said a "linguistic sewer" had developed in TV and radio.

However, Channel 4's head of programming Julian Bellamy argued the majority of broadcasters - and his channel, especially - had a proportionate amount of swearing on their programming.

"When you watch these shows it's very clear that the fruity language he uses is a real response to the shock and anger at what he sees [and] his passion and determination to change things," he said of Oliver's excitable style.

"People know what to expect from Channel 4 and we have a duty to push boundaries."

Speaking at the launch of Channel 4's winter schedule, he said TV must hold its nerve and not bow to "cultural conservatism and censorship" that may increase in the wake of the scandal caused by the broadcasting of offensive voicemails left by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross.

Culture secretary Andy Burnham claimed a line had "clearly been crossed" while former Labour minister Dennis MacShane told the Commons British broadcasting was "in the linguistic sewer of our great language".

Speaking earlier this month at a London meeting of the Broadcasting Press Guild in the wake of the controversy surrounding Brand and Ross' radio prank calls, Mr Grade said the use of "the f-word" was now "a little unrestrained".

"It used to be that you had a very senior sign-off to use that word in any show," said the former BBC chairman.

"[I am] not sure what the rules are these days.

"Clearly not enough consideration is given to a very large section of the audience who perhaps don't want to hear that word or such words."

12/11/2008 15:25:31