an area of the map for world news.
February 2002 issue of
World Press Review
(VOL. 49, No. 2)
Say the name Mary
Whitehouse to a Briton, and youre likely to hear
either a snigger or a groan.
Once called The Most Dangerous Woman in Britain,
Whitehouse, who died at age 91 on Nov. 23, was a tireless campaigner
against sex and violence on television. Though she was ridiculed
mercilessly during her lifetime, she stuck to her principles
and eventually gained respect from the British establishment.
Whitehouse began her campaigning career at the age of 53 when,
as an art teacher, she noticed that some of her students were
confused about a television program featuring premarital sex.
Motivated by her strong Christian beliefs, Whitehouse launched
the Clean Up TV Campaign in 1964, which became the National
Viewers and Listeners Association in 1965.
Whitehouses choices of cultural targets ranged from the
predictable to the bizarre. When she protested against the cult
sci-fi show Dr. Who (claiming that it provoked nightmares)
and the song My Ding-a-ling, she became an easy
figure of fun. But she was also the first person to raise awareness
of pedophile pornography in Britain, and she introduced the
idea of public accountability in broadcasting. Partly
thanks to her, television is no longer run from on high by cloistered
executives answerable, basically, to themselves, wrote
But despite being pelted with eggs repeatedly and receiving
numerous death threats, she stayed her course. Even a BBC spokesman,
quoted in the Birmingham Post, acknowledged that Whitehouse
kept broadcasters on their toes....She will be long remembered.