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Stretching reality

London, Nov. 22 (Reuters): A British television channel will this week stretch the boundaries of reality TV by showing videos of couples having sex, in a programme designed to help address common sexual problems. The Sex Inspectors series starts late tomorrow evening and its subject matter goes beyond the main remit of other popular reality shows like Big Brother and I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here.

Channel 4 insisted that the show, which will feature videos filmed using thermal-imaging to minimise their graphic nature, was designed to help rather than excite viewers.

'This show is not about pornography or titillation. It shows some clips to illustrate certain problems or certain features in a relationship,' said a spokeswoman for the broadcaster today. 'You see a silhouette, you see the obvious movements, but you don't see close-ups: you don't see anything that's pornographic in any sense.'

But Mediawatch UK, a group that looks at issues of taste and decency in the media, said the show's subject would be better dealt with behind closed doors.

'What we need to show is a great deal more consideration and a great deal more respect, first of all for the general audience and secondly for the people who have got very real problems in this area,' said the group's director John Beyer. 'I just don't think having it on television as a public spectacle is the right way to deal with it.' It is not the first time that Channel 4, which is owned by the UK government but funded by advertising revenues, has courted controversy. Last month, UK media regulator Ofcom chastised it for the way it handled a brawl between contestants in reality show Big Brother.

Crackdown on bullying

British school children are being encouraged to wear a blue wristband this week as part of a government crackdown on bullying, with new figures showing that one in five children have been bullied in the past year.

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