The BBC has rejected over 55,000 complaints from outraged viewers over its broadcast of controversial stage show JERRY SPRINGER - THE OPERA.

THE GOVERNORS' PROGRAM COMPLAINTS COMMITTEE (GPCC) insisted today (30MAR05) that January's (05) broadcast, riddled with over 3,000 swear words and showing Jesus Christ wearing a nappy (diaper), did not breach guidelines.

The GPCC say, "In all the circumstances, the outstanding artistic significance of the programme outweighed the offence which it caused to some viewers and so the broadcasting of the programme was justified."

The controversial production, based on Springer's outrageous talk show, has snapped up numerous awards since hitting London's West End in 2003.

Although 2,200 people sent messages supporting the BBC's decision to air the show, the corporation was stormed by complaints before and after the broadcast, whilst protesters picketed outside its London headquarters. BBC bosses even suffered abusive calls from some complainants.

Militant religious group THE CHRISTIAN INSTITUTE is taking legal action against the BBC, while another Christian pressure group CHRISTIAN VOICE are privately prosecuting for the offence of blasphemy.

The BBC insists measures were taken to avoid offence by giving clear warnings and showing the musical late at night.

30/03/2005 17:47