BBC: Thanks but no Franks
When Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Relax” settled into the Number One position in the charts last Tuesday, the controversy surrounding it burst into a flurry of statements. The top record in the official BBC chart was not being played on either Radio One or Top Of The Pops. “In common with Radio 1,” read the statement issued by TOTP producer Michael Hurll, “BBC TV believes that the lyrics of this song are sexually explicit and not suitable for viewing in family viewing time.”
The controversy had been sparked off on Janaury 11 when Mike Read announced he was not going to play the record because it was “overtly obscene”. In the previous 2½ months since its release the record had been played around 70 times on Radio 1, according to Island Records who distribute it, but in the two days after Mike Read’s outburst, all Radio 1 shows ceased to play the record. The BBC issued a statement that it was not “suitable for broadcast to our wide audience” because of that “sexually explicit” lyric, although the week before the record had been performed on TOTP without complaint”, according to Island. It was only played then because “most people didn’t realise the implications of the lyrics,” according to a BBC TV spokeswoman. Michael Hurll was too busy to add further comment.
“Relax” is Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s first single. How will they follow it up? On BBC TV’s ORS ‘84 singer Holly claimed that their next single would be about “morality”. Presumably he’s learned enough about that in the last few weeks.
(And if you’re thinking of flicking through your back issues of Smash Hits to check out what’s so controversial about the lyric, don’t bother. We decided weeks ago not to print it because we thought it was a bit rude.)