Explanatory Notes

A SOUVENIR OF LONDON: Procol Harum are best known for their mega-hit A Whiter Shade Of Pale released in 1967. Six years later they released A Souvenir Of London which was banned from airplay by the BBC.

You can listen to it here.

Procol Harum website.

ANGRY WOMEN: The terrorist group Angry Women carried out a large number of arson attacks in Yorkshire (mostly Leeds and Bradford) between 1978 and 1984. I have a personal interest in this because I lived in Leeds from late 1977 to 1982 and Bradford from 1982 until August 1983. While I was living in Leeds, a small newsagent shop that stocked “girlie mags” among many other things was targeted by these cunts or someone associated with them, although fortunately their attacks stopped at daubing the shop with paint rather than burning it to the ground. The bloke named Jack who ran it eventually sold up and quit in despair. They had made his life a misery.

At that time, Leeds was a hotbed of left wing subversion and especially second wave feminism; there was even a feminist bookshop, the Corner Bookshop that I passed on my way to work. There are also a couple of amusing anecdotes associated with this hysteria.

Around that time, a car manufacturer displayed a large billboard captioned something like “If this car were a lady, she’d have her bottom pinched”; somebody painted on it something like “And if this lady were a car, she’d run you over”. Much better though was another billboard advertising chicken or chicken stock; it featured a giant picture of a chicken, and someone wrote on it “Angry Chickens”.

Joking aside, this was a very serious business; whenever commercial property is set afire like that there is always the risk of someone being injured or killed. There could be someone sleeping on the premises; there could be a gas explosion.

The off our backs entry for March 1989 contains an interview with an anonymous purported member of this by then defunct group. Sadly, none of them was ever brought to book.

ARTHUR WOODHALL: This dude’s name has been given as Arthur Reynolds Woodhall as well as Arthur Reginald Woodhall. The latter appears to be correct. This absurd case was not covered extensively by the UK press but as will be seen from the entry for January 10, 1940, it was reported on the other side of the world. It may have been that both governments and ordinary people had other, more important matters on their minds at the time!
ARTICULĀTE: This academic journal commenced publication in 1996, one issue per year, spring semester. I assume the 1998 issue was published around mid-January 1998, but this is not important.
BANG BANG: This song was released by singer-songwriter BA Robertson in 1979; it entered the Official Singles Chart for the UK at number 44 for the week July 29-August 4. I would assume it was released around mid-July. Some background can be found in the SongFacts database here. For non-smokers, the word toke refers to a drag on a cigarette, or in this case, a snort of cocaine.

Here is the offending clip from the unedited version. And here is the censored version.

Archived videos of the full length song can be found here and here.

BBFC CASE STUDIES: These articles from the BBFC website are undated. The dates given here are the dates they were first archived by the Wayback Machine.
BESSIE COTTER: Among his other talents, Wallace Smith (1888-1937) was a reporter and book illustrator. He published this novel about a Chicago prostitute in 1935. When it crossed the Atlantic, it was not well received by the authorities, and the British publisher ended up in court, uncharacteristically pleading guilty. It was reissued by the same publisher in 1972, and although I have read not one page of it, I have no doubt that by then and certainly by today’s standards, it is so tame that it wouldn’t make your local vicar blush.
BIG BOYS BICKERING: Paul McCartney wrote this song in 1992; it was released as a B Side and also on an album. It was censored on both sides of the Atlantic, the consensus being he was attention seeking or simply trying to be outrageous. As if.

Here is a sample of it

And here is the full song archived.

For other banned McCartney songs, see the entries for Give Ireland Back To The Irish, Hi, Hi, Hi and The Light Comes From Within below, and their corresponding entries in the database.

BOOKS IN THE DOCK: I have found several publication dates for this book, the most accurate of which is probably May 1969. The author was the son of a police officer, became one himself, rising to the rank of chief inspector, then became a journalist. His name was actually Cecil Rolph Hewitt.

This is an excellent book, the subject of which is evident from its title. It covers the Obscene Publications Acts, Radclyffe Hall’s The Well Of Loneliness, the de Montalk case, and much more. Here are a few sample pages.

BOUND AND GAGGED: This is not the only book so titled; written by Alan Travis, it is subtitled A Secret History Of Obscenity In Britain. According to the Amazon UK website on December 6, 2019, it was published September 7, 2000.

This is an excellent book which due to the extensive nature of (especially sexual) censorship in Britain cannot cover everything, but it covers many if not most of the more important cases.

Extracts were published in the Guardian shortly after the book was published but here are three pages, two related to postcard seizures, and a third, the first page of a forty-two page secret list of publications sent to Chief Constables in the 1950s. A fourth page can be found at the bottom of this page relating to The Well Of Loneliness.

BRITAIN: AN UNFREE COUNTRY: I have seen the publication date of this book on websites given as January 1, 1986 and July 1, 1986. The long defunct publisher issued a press release dated June 1986, (see this page which also includes a few details). June 1, 1986 was a Sunday, so I have given the date of publication as June 2. Goodman cannot remember when it was published, and as I do not own a ouija board I am unable to ask DuQuesne.

Britain: An Unfree Country is a wide-ranging book that covers many subjects not relevant to this database, but this file contains the page facing the verso and eight others, the latter relating to film censorship.

BRITAIN’S MOST DANGEROUS SONGS: LISTEN TO THE BANNED was broadcast initially on July 11, 2014 and again on October 28, 2018. Not all the banned songs enumerated within are relevant to this database.

There are three external links for this documentary: on Bitchute; at the Internet Archive; and an alternative archived link.

CENSORED by Tom Dewe Mathews. As will be seen from the accompanying PDF, the full subtitle of this book is What They Didn’t Allow You To See And Why: The Story Of Film Censorship In Britain; the date of publication was taken from the Amazon UK website on December 28, 2019. I cannot vouch for its accuracy, but this is not important. The book was published by Chatto & Windus in 1994, that much is certain.

Here is the PDF.

The first thing the reader will notice is that I did not scan the front cover myself but used a photograph I found on-line. This is because I was able to make only poor quality colour scans, and you, dear reader, deserve better.

The file contains a number of fairly random pages; they include stills from Bitter Rice, Repulsion (said to contain the first orgasm heard in British cinema), Performance (for those of you who have always wanted to see Mick Jagger in the bath), Straw Dogs (which featured an at the time controversial rape scene), Realm Of The Senses (a censored still!), and The Exorcist.

This is an excellent book that covers film censorship in the UK over the entire Twentieth Century up until publication as comprehensively as a book of its size could. Did you know the first film to be censored in Britain was withdrawn not because of nudity but because of protests from cheese makers? That was in 1898. Weird, huh?

CORRESPONDENCE, 1913: The entries for January 2, January 7, January 8 and January 14 are related.

CYNTHIA PAYNE (1932-2015) became notorious when she stood trial for running a brothel in Streatham, South London. She was acquitted. She went on to become an after dinner speaker; she also stood for Parliament twice.

DARCY GLINTO: The May 3, 2016 entry about the works of Harold Ernest Kelly includes a synopsis of Road Floozie which landed the author in the dock during the Second World War. The reader might like to compare his works with the slightly later works of George Bell.
DOES PORNOGRAPHY MATTER? I found a copy of this offered for sale on-line with its publication date given as January 1, 1961. Reviews were published in various newspapers from October the same year. The actual publication date isn’t important so I have dated it simply 1961. It was obviously inspired at least in part by the Lady Chatterley trial of the previous year.

Rolph contributed the final chapter; the other contributors were: Lord Birkett, Sir Herbert Read, Geoffrey Gorer, Reverend Dr Donald Soper, Dr Robert Gosling, and Dom Denys Rutledge.

This is an academic/legal/historical text written for scholars like you!

ELIHU PALMER: Born at Canterbury, Connecticut in 1764, Palmer published his major work in 1801. He died April 7, 1806 relatively young and totally blind, but his Principles Of Nature was republished in London thirteen years later. As will be seen from the entries herein, it didn’t go down at all well with the powers that be.

ERICA ROE: On January 2, 1982, Erica Roe stripped to the waist and ran onto the pitch at the England v Australia rugby union match at half time. She had a forty inch set of jugs, and became known as the Twickenham Streaker. At that time, second wave feminism – the misnamed women’s liberation – made a big thing about burning their bras, thinking foolishly this would annoy men.

FIG LEAF: THE BIGGEST COVER-UP IN HISTORY: Here is a 2 minute 41 second clip from this nearly hour long documentary.

The title of this programme says it all: it is about the use of the fig leaf to cover the genitalia of public works of art. This began in Rome, or if not Rome, Italy, but soon spread here, and a sizeable tranche is devoted to 19th Century London. The Society For The Suppression Of Vice gets a mention, we go behind the scenes at a museum, and hear a curator debunk a widely believed factoid about Queen Victoria, she who was not amused.

Here is an archived version of the full documentary. It may take some time to load.

GIVE IRELAND BACK TO THE IRISH: Paul McCartney has written so many songs that it would be statistically impossible for him not to have fallen foul of the censor on occasion, but this isn’t one of his finer efforts, to put it mildly. Although this falls somewhat outside the parameters of this database, Goodman said to include it. As this database includes other banned McCartney songs, it is thematic if nothing else.

This illustrated version was clearly put together by someone who has a sense of humour.

GLASGOW HERALD: Styled The Herald by its website and also called The Glasgow Herald.

The article of November 6, 2003 also appears in NewsBank, no page given.

GEOFFREY DICKENS (1931-95) was a Conservative MP from 1979 until his death. Dickens was a true believer in the grand conspiracy of sexual depravity. In 1984, he submitted what became known as the Dickens dossier to Home Secretary Leon Brittan. When no action was taken over these allegations (because they were total rubbish), Brittan found himself on the receiving end of a whispering campaign. With the coming of the Internet and especially social media, these whispers became shouts.

Shortly before his death in January 2015, Brittan was roped into the ludicrous Elm Guest House conspiracy and worse. The interested reader will find several articles about this and related issues on both my main website and The International False Rape Timeline.

The (Sandwell) Evening Mail, July 27, 1990, contains the following articles:

PARENTS MUST BE WARNED by a Special Correspondent
Police target child porn trade by Fiona Murray

On the same page is a small, humorous uncredited two paragraph article Govt in ban call

HI, HI, HI: This is one of McCartney’s finer efforts.

Here is the offending passage from it.
And here is an archived version of the full track.

HOMOSEXUALITY: Male homosexuality is a particularly depraved and disgusting practice that was illegal in England until the so-called Wolfenden reforms and indeed was once capital. Two men were executed for (consensual) buggery in England as late as 1835. Because of this I have not generally included references to homosexual acts in this database, but there are exceptions. One of these is the quaint way the 1832 case of the Reverend Doyle and his fellow degenerate was reported. Other exceptions include the way the police go about spying on and entrapping homosexuals, who like prostitutes and junkies are easy targets.
JAMES MILLER: The author of PROSTITUTION CONSIDERED IN RELATION TO ITS CAUSE AND CURE. was a professor of medicine. The son of a clergyman, he appears to have had a thing about alcohol as much as prostitution, for all the good it did him; he died at the relatively young age of 52.

The Third Edition of the aforementioned book was advertised May 14, 1859. The Second Edition – the one included here – is dated 1859, so presumably the First Edition was published at the start or near the start of the year and this one around March, not that any of this is important.

JANIE JONES: Born Marion Mitchell at Seaham, County Durham, Jones was a prostitute and madam who had a brief career as a singer. She has her own website.
JEFFREY ARCHER: An ambitious but controversial politician, Archer became embroiled in a sex scandal after being entrapped by a disreputable tabloid newspaper. He paid prostitute Monica Coghlan £2,000 on condition that she went abroad. Coghlan claimed to have been picked up by Archer and to have had sex with him. He denied it, sued for libel, and won half a million pounds damages. A decade later the truth came out in dramatic fashion, and he ended up with a four year sentence.

Archer’s wife stood by him. A trophy wife in every respect, both physically attractive and a research scientist, she contrasted sharply with the unattractive harlot Coghlan, and at the libel trial the judge alluded to her as fragrant. Monica Coghlan would have been the star witness at Archer’s criminal trial in 2001 but was killed in a bizarre car accident months before.

This BBC report immediately after Archer was convicted and sentenced gives some background. I have edited it down from nearly thirteen minutes, extracting irrelevant material about his political career, youth, etc. The variable sound is not my fault.

JO BARTOSCH: I’ve heard this woman speak; she sounds like she’s been inhaling helium, a bit like a feminist Donald Duck.

Her article about prostitution in New Zealand is relevant to this database as are other articles written about pornography overseas when published in the UK.

As will be seen from the article, Bartosch supports the so-called Nordic model to outlaw prostitution. Like most third wave feminists, second wave feminists before them, and contemporary social justice warriors, she perverts the English language so that in this case, pornography becomes a form of violence. Indeed.

JOHN CALDER: John Mackenzie Calder (1927–2018) was co-founder of Calder And Boyars, the publisher of Last Exit To Brooklyn.

JOHN WILLIAM GOTT: Militant atheist Gott – pictured around 1900 – was born in 1866. He had numerous clashes with the law, the last of which appears to have killed him, see the national and local press entries for December 10, 1921; article by Alan Travis, October 18, 2004.

JULIE BINDEL: This woman is a monster. Along with her lover Harriet Wistrich – the most corrupt lawyer in Britain – she has campaigned successfully for the release of some of the most toxic women in Britain, starting with Emma Humphreys.

KENNETH TYNAN: On November 13, 1965, the theatre critic Kenneth Tynan became the first person to use the word fuck on UK television. I was unable to find the actual BBC3 programme, but the short clip herein appears in the 2005 documentary Forty Years Of Fuck which as the reader might suspect was made for the fortieth anniversary of this momentous event.

LADY CHATTERLEY’S LOVER is a novel written by D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930). It became infamous for its explicit descriptions of the sexual act, something that must sound rather tame to denizens of the Twenty-First Century. The unexpurgated version was not published in England until 1960; this resulted in the prosecution of the publisher, Penguin Books, under the Obscene Publications Act. The trial at the Central Criminal Court took place between October 20 and November 2, 1960; it resulted in acquittal, and embarrassment for the establishment.

LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN was published in 1964. Although it is usually referred to as a novel, it is really a collection of short stories set in the same geographical area but involving different people. I read it in the 1970s and was particularly impressed with Tralala and Strike. The first is about a common prostitute, a streetwalker, who is frankly rubbish, like most of her kind. The second is about a union leader named Harry, who is likewise a horrible human being, especially to his wife. Both get their comeuppance. The former is striking for its description of the descent of this vile young woman from reasonably physically attractive to a hag who meets a sticky end. The 1989 film adaptation paints a somewhat different picture of her, and there is a salvation of sorts.

Whatever I may think, the people who mattered in the UK at the time didn’t like it, hence the reader will find several references to it herein. Although both the language and imagery of the book remain strong, it is really nothing out of the ordinary in Twenty-First Century Britain.

LESBIAN VAMPIRE KILLERS: Shortly renamed Vampire Killers, according to IMDb this so-called comedy fantasy film was released in the UK on March 20, 2009. Five days earlier, the Sunday Mirror reported the advertising poster had been banned from public transport because the title was sexually offensive. In December, the film was named by one poll as the biggest flop of the year.


Wladziu Valentino Liberace (1918-87) known professionally as Liberace was one of the great American entertainers of the Twentieth Century.

If you don’t know how to pronounce his name, check out the video clip below.

The pianist and vocalist who came from a musical family was known for his extravagant dress and self-deprecating jokes.

In September 1956, a columnist for the London Daily Mirror published a smear article on him which suggested he was homosexual. At that time, male homosexuality was still a criminal offence on both sides of the Atlantic, so Liberace sued. And won.

The issue of the writ was of course widely reported; I have included here one report from the regional press and the one from the Daily Mirror itself.

The Cassandra column was written by William Connor (1909-67); the original Cassandra was of course a woman, but some people have no sense of irony.

Connor made a further albeit very slight reference to Liberace at the very bottom of his October 18, 1956 column. Liberace’s action included that reference, but judgment was given for the paper on that count.

Incidentally, although after winning this action Liberace said “I cried all the way to the bank”, he appears to have first used that expression before the case; it appears in the defamatory article where he attributes the tears to his brother, George.

Liberace also sued the impersonator Jimmy Thompson over his revue sketch “Ich Liberace Dich” – a pun on the German phrase “Ich liebe dich” (I love you). Liberace settled on modest terms – an apology and a donation to an actors’ charity.

In later life, Liberace was sued by former employee Scott Thorson who claimed to have been his homosexual lover. This, other allegations, and the fact that Liberace died from AIDS is paraded today as proof that he was indeed homosexual. That may have been the case, but was he when he sued the Daily Mirror?

In support of the contention that he was not, I make three observations.

The first is that just as some homosexuals pass for straight, so too can men who are effeminate or have some other characteristic be thought erroneously to be homosexual. When I was young I worked with two men who many people thought were homosexual when they most emphatically were not. The actor, choreographer and dancer Lionel Blair was widely believed to be homosexual; he was married to the same woman for over fifty years. Some people have made the same suggestion about the acclaimed composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, a man who can boast three wives and five offspring!

Second: assuming Liberace was homosexual, and it isn’t a big assuming, was he telling the truth when he denied being homo in his libel action? Not necessarily.

In the 1970s, Elton John announced he was bisexual, a claim many took to mean homosexual. Then, on Valentine’s Day 1984 he married German sound engineer Renate Bluel in Sydney, Australia, obviously intent on going straight. Sadly, Elton lost his fight with his inner demons and after their divorce became an overt homosexual. Finally, the broadcaster Paul Gambaccini who is an out homosexual was heterosexual when he was young.

Thirdly: after successfully suing the Daily Mirror, Liberace went on to sue the American magazine Confidential, and in neither of those defamation actions did either publication produce one witness who claimed to have had sex with Liberace, or to have been propositioned by him. There were no covert recordings, no photographs, nothing.

In 1954, he was engaged briefly to the actress Joanne Rio, so it may have been that like Elton John he was a man who struggled with his sexuality and eventually lost. At any rate, there is no concrete proof that Liberace was a practising homosexual in the 1950s, and whatever the truth, the Daily Mirror article was a disgusting smear.

A final note on Scott Thorson; this man was or became a crook as well as a junkie. At the time of writing – April 2022 – he is in a Nevada prison.

Liberace TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING IS WONDERFUL is an excellent documentary about Liberace, even if it does focus too much on his sexuality.

It can be found on YouTube. This five minute excerpt (a compilation from various sources) uploaded to YouTube, July 12, 2007 covers the libel case, and is exactly how I would have edited it. In this clip you will hear the sound of a gavel. Judges in English courtrooms do not use gavels!

LINDA LOVELACE/DEEP THROAT: In 1972, a low budget pornographic comedy film was launched on the world. Deep Throat was said to have been made for less than $50,000 and to have grossed at least $30 million. Its star was a young woman named Linda Lovelace, and the character she portrayed had a clitoris in her throat, hence its title.

Deep Throat has also become a cultural reference, initially with the contemporaneous Watergate scandal.

Linda Borman was the daughter of a New York police officer; her rise to fame was sudden, but she soon faded. In her 1980 autobiography Ordeal, she would paint a very different picture of her life from the one portrayed at the time her star was rising. She claimed to have been abused physically and sexually by her then husband Chuck Traynor and to have been gang-raped.

After the publication of Ordeal, she became an anti-pornography activist, but her later testimony like her autobiography does not have the ring of truth. Before she made Deep Throat she made a film in which she had sex with a dog, a claim she would initially deny. How many women do you know who would have sex with a dog, even at the point of a gun?

Her 1973 book Inside Linda Lovelace was the subject of an obscenity prosecution in England. Her autobiography up to that point in her life, it appears to have been written entirely by her with minimal if any editorial assistance; Ordeal used a ghost writer, a notorious journalist named Mike McGrady, who also collaborated on her 1986 book Out Of Bondage.

In 2002, Linda Lovelace died aged 53 as the result of an automobile accident.

John Lees wrote a song about Lovelace which sums her up poetically: “Was it is your mind? Cos it sure wasn’t out of sight”.

LIVING IN SIN: When I was growing up in the 1960s the phrase living in sin was used fairly freely to describe an unmarried man and woman living together in a sexual relationship. It sounds rather quaint now.
LOVE TO LOVE YOU BABY was recorded by the American singer-songwriter Donna Summer (1948-2012). She had a track record for this sort of thing and co-wrote the song. It was released as a single in the Netherlands in June 1975 as Love To Love You and later in the year with the full title. It also appeared on the eponymous album which was released in August 1975. The full album version takes up the whole of side one and runs to nearly seventeen minutes.

Here is the radio edit being performed by Summer (ie mimed) on the BBC programme Top Of The Pops. What was that about the song being banned? Incidentally, the title of the January 31, 1976 Sounds article is a pun on a 1971 play/1973 film No Sex Please, We’re British.

LOVEDRIVE: This album was released by the German band the Scorpions. As can be deduced from the front cover – see entry for February 25, 1979 – a certain amount of outrage was generated. The back cover was even more outrageous. This video contains a small sample of the title track; the image within appeared on the back cover. The front cover appeared in advertisements, and was at times censored.

The front cover of their 1976 album Virgin Killer is even more outrageous. If you have seen it, you will understand why it has not been included in this database. For the record, I once owned a copy.

MARIE STOPES TV ADVERTISEMENT: This was broadcast by Channel 4 late at night on May 24, 2010. It is said to be the first such TV advertisement in Britain, and drew a record number of complaints from the public to the Advertising Standards Authority. These complaints were not upheld.
MARITAL RAPE: The claim in the Irish Independent article of August 6, 2007 that until 1991 it was legal for a man to rape his wife is a widely held misconception. The reality is that in both the Irish Republic and the UK there was no specific law of rape within marriage until 1991. (Until 1921/2, the whole of Ireland was ruled by Britain). However, that did not mean a man had the right to rape his wife, merely that the crime of rape within marriage was not recognised. A man who inflicted gross physical violence on his wife would always face prosecution, and vice versa. As rape is by definition a physical assault, it follows that any kind of rape has always been illegal. The main catalyst for a specific marital rape law in the UK stems from a horrible August 1973 case in which a bloke name Morgan tricked three men into raping his wife, although they don’t appear to have required much tricking, probably due to their alcohol consumption. Mrs Morgan reported the outrage at once, and the three were charged with rape; Morgan was charged only with aiding and abetting them.

In January 1974, all four were convicted. The case was appealed all the way to the House Of Lords, where it became known as D.P.P. v Morgan. Their convictions were rightly upheld, and 15 years later, a specific law against marital rape was instituted.

Feminist airheads often claim that it was legal until then for a man to rape his wife, and some even claim that it was feminism in the garb of the rape crisis movement that was responsible for the 1991 law, which has since been mimicked in most of the rest of the world. It was though male politicians who were largely responsible for this change, as it is male police officers who have traditionally enforced the law of rape.

MARY WHITEHOUSE: Known as Mrs Mary Whitehouse, Mrs Whitehouse or simply Mary Whitehouse, she was born Constance Mary Hutcheson on June 13, 1910 and lived to the ripe old age of 91. In January 1964, she and Nora Buckland launched a campaign to clean up television. This would shortly morph into a formal lobbying organisation.

Selected papers of the National Viewers And Listeners Association can be found at The NCROPA Virtual Archive. In 2001, it change its name to Mediawatch-UK.

Mrs Whitehouse is perhaps best known for two prosecutions: the second related to the play The Romans In Britain; this was spectacularly unsuccessful and quickly degenerated into farce. The first though was successful; this was the so-called Gay News blasphemous libel case, the last such prosecution for blasphemous libel in Britain. It concerned a poem – so-called – that was depraved beyond all meaning of the word.

She also called for the novelty song My Ding-A-Ling to be banned, (this cover was the only number one hit the great Chuck Berry had in the UK). She claimed it encouraged masturbation. I remember this well; most people reacted with outright laughter.

I actually met Mary Whitehouse at Eastbourne in 1990 when she invited me to sign a petition calling for freedom from pornography. At that time she was trying to equate pornography with child pornography – a typical dirty trick of the left, more so than of the Christian right. She was also making absurd claims about snuff films, and suggested that children the world over were being murdered left, right and centre to produce them.


BANNED—WHY? What turns censors on...

See the entries for the individual songs. Hi, Hi, Hi by Paul McCartney and his band is my personal favourite; see entry below and in the database for December 1 & 2, 1972.

MY CUTIE’S A CORPSE: This slim novelette/long short story is written in the first person, and is undated but was published probably late 1953. This file contains a scan of the front cover, pages 3, 108, 128, and part of the back page. First a note on quality. The front cover is actually in colour. I found a colour scan on a Canadian website but it is too small to reproduce here, in any case the front cover adds nothing to it. As always, the scans were the best I could make under the circumstances.

The man who wrote this, an Englishman named George Bell rather than an American named Pete Costello, was given a six month sentence on July 28, 1954.

The contemporaneous press reports give the title slightly inaccurately – “is” rather than apostrophe s. When I found it I was expecting that, from the title, this was a depraved story of necrophilia or some such. I was astounded to realise it was nothing more than a gangster-type story about a bloke whose sidekick kills two women more or less by accident. The narrator then murders this guy, a mercy killing as in the John Steinbeck novel and filmOf Mice And Men. I found the comparison stark. The final page sees him in the condemned man’s cell blaming his downfall and everything else on women. How times have changed!

NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH: This novel was published in 1939. According to the IMDb the film was released in the UK on April 15, 1948. This date is almost certainly too late, but I will run with it in any case. I watched the film in May 2020 and was not impressed. Although it is entirely American, it was shot here. Indeed, the author James Hadley Chase was born in London. It was released in the United States three years later, and the Washington Evening Star was not impressed.

I haven’t read the book, and don’t intend to, but the film certainly contains gratuitous violence, including of a man beaten to death. This short scene is of an attempted rape. The guy gets as far as having her up against the wall when he is interrupted by his underling who informs him three unwelcome visitors have arrived.

The entry for June 1, 2004 is a page from a dedicated James Hadley Chase tribute website published by permission of its creator Dr PC Sarkar.

NORMA LEVY: Norma Levy was born Honora Mary Russell at Limerick in the Irish Republic on June 4, 1947. She changed her name to Mary Brown, worked as a bunny girl in Middlesbrough then as a stripper in Manchester. She underwent two abortions, relocated to the West End of London where she worked as a stripper, a hostess, and a dancer before becoming a dominatrix. She married Colin Levy on November 3, 1972.

She published her autobiography in 1973 but the December 6, 2013 article in this database gives as much information as the casual reader will need to know. Whatever, here is a belated obituary by Yours Truly.

OBSCENE BOOKS AND MAGAZINES: When I was working in Leeds, one of my workmates returned from holiday in Holland or Denmark with some black and white pornographic magazines that can only be described as utterly depraved. This was around 1979-80, and I am writing this from memory, but as I recall they featured perhaps three superficially attractive young women and a couple of guys. The acts in which they were engaged included urinating in a glass bottle and the women pouring it back into their vaginas. And fellating a pig. As I said, utterly depraved. Even in the Internet age I have seen little or nothing quite as depraved as that, although to be fair I don’t go looking for the stuff.

The relevance of this is that for example the entry for February 23, 1962 reports only that a newsagent was fined for importing an obscene book from Holland. We have no way of knowing if this obscenity was simple nudity, a couple engaging in the sex act, or a woman fellating a pig, but from the tone of the report I would say it is extremely unlikely the obscenity concerned was anything that cannot be found in regular girlie magazines today.

If I have any suspicion that a report alludes to child pornography, bestiality, or anything genuinely depraved, I will not include it here. By and large, that includes homosexual literature, or as it used to be called, queer porn.

OBSCENE PUBLICATIONS ACTS and the VAGRANCY ACT: The 1824 Vagrancy Act styled An Act for the Punishment of idle and disorderly Persons... was dated originally June 21, 1824. The reprint used here is dated 1862. Whoever is credited as the printer, this and similar publications are of course official British Government publications.

The Vagrancy Act was intended not only to punish people for the crime of being poor but to prevent them attempting to better themselves, including beggars and prostitutes. At the time of writing – March 2020 – it is still being used against not only aggressive beggars, who can be annoying, but against rough sleepers.

The first dedicated Obscene Publications Act also known as Lord Campbell’s Act or simply Campbell’s Act was dated originally August 25, 1857. I found this on-line through Google Books and have extracted it with some difficulty, merging JPG screengrabs then converting it to PDF. It has come out quite well. Although the first Act of Parliament to be directed solely against obscene publications, so-called, the suppression of such publications has a long history in England and elsewhere, one that predates this database (which begins in 1802) by centuries.

Lord Campbell’s Act was repealed August 29, 1959 when the Obscene Publications Act, 1959 came into force.

The text of the 1959 act given here is dated July 29; that was the date it received the Royal Assent. As stated above, it came into force on August 29.

OBSCENE PUBLICATIONS BILL: This file dated December 15, 1958 is held at Kew. It begins with an associated memorandum which on its fourth page is misdated 1950.
OH! CALCUTTA!: This play (technically a revue) was written by the theatre critic Kenneth Tynan (see above).

After its off-Broadway debut in 1969, it was moved to The Roundhouse and the West End. At the time of writing – January 2019 – it is the longest running Broadway show of all time. The audience for the Roundhouse production included two Metropolitan Police officers, one of whom is said to have viewed it twice more before recommending its prosecution. Here is a clue, asshole, in the words of Justice Potter Stewart of the United States Supreme Court, I know obscenity when I see it. That means the first time. (Or perhaps he simply enjoyed the show?) Although Oh! Calcutta! did not in event face prosecution in Britain, its cast was arrested in Australia, (see entry for October 9, 1971). Three programmes from UK productions can be found on The David Webb Virtual Archive & Fan Site.

OLIVER CARTER: An accredited academic, at the time of writing (January 2022), he works at Birmingham City University. Although we have never met, we have corresponded quite a bit; I was introduced to him by Goodman.

The linked article is the original version as submitted to the Journal Of Porn Studies; it was received by the publisher on November 10, 2020 (the date given here), but was published only December 1, 2021. It was accepted for publication on June 22, but the published version does not include certain photographs. Rest assured dear reader, you are not the first person to see the irony of an article about pornography written for a magazine devoted to the study of pornography being censored by its publisher. The author had some flattering things to say about me, and I am more than happy to reciprocate. (Along with Goodman I get a mention in the Acknowledgements).

The Watford Blue Movie Trial seems a bit quaint today when anyone with Internet access can be deluged with pornography at the click of a mouse, so this in-depth, well-researched article will help especially the younger generation to understand what came before.

OPEN WAR ON PORNOGRAPHY: Depending how you count them, there are one or two more articles about the Longford report on this page of the Evening Chronicle. I have chosen to include only this one/two in this database. However, a lot more about Lord Longford will be included as time and resources permit.
PAGE 3: On November 17, 1969, The Sun newspaper started its Page 3 topless model feature. Here is a better quality scan of the first page 3 girl, who as you can see was not actually topless.

The following year, the Page 3 girl was topless.

With the rise of second wave feminism – the misnamed women’s liberation – and then third wave, much fake outrage was generated over this feature with the by now familiar vacuous mantras of sexism, objectification, yadda, yadda, yadda.

On March 12, 1986, the left wing MP Clare Short introduced a private member’s bill to suppress it. She was rightly met with scorn.

A quarter of a century later, airhead Brighton feminist Lucy-Ann Holmes started her No More Page 3 campaign.

On January 20, 2015, Intelligencer (part of New York magazine) published an excellent short history and timeline of Page 3.

On January 21, 2015, Holmes uploaded a video to YouTube in which she claimed success for her campaign. I don’t know what planet she is living on, because the modern Internet is awash with not only photographs of attractive young women posing tastefully, suggestively, topless...but with the most outrageous filth – most of it in video format – of women and men of all ages with their kit off engaging in the most depraved acts imaginable.

When you watch this video, pay special attention to her eyes. If you meet a woman with eyes like that, give her a miss. Especially if she isn’t taking drugs.

PEARCE v BROOKS: This was the leading case in English law; a court will not enforce an immoral contract.
PETER KAY’S CAR SHARE AUDIO SPECIAL: This programme was broadcast by the BBC on April 10, 2020, during the worldwide coronavirus lockdown. It contains a joke about breastfeeding that was said to have provoked 175+ complaints. Naturally it generated a great deal of coverage and correspondence. It would be pointless to list them all here, but here is the relevant clip from the programme, and here is some on-line correspondence from the Mumsnet website.

Clearly, a lot of people were not impressed with the mock outrage. Neither was I, but I was even less impressed with the so-called joke.

PICTURES OF LIIY was released by The Who on April 22, 1967. Click here for a 16 second excerpt.

Written by the band’s lead guitarist and principal songwriter Pete Townshend, Pictures Of Lily runs to around 2 minutes 44 seconds and is backed by a song called Doctor Doctor, which is not to be confused with any other song of that name, especially the classic UFO track.

It was released in the United States on June 24, 1967. America was unimpressed with it but it reached number 4 in the UK singles chart.

Although it does not appear to have been banned officially, many radio stations were said to have refused to play it because it was perceived as a song about a teenage boy (Townshend himself) masturbating at night.

The Melody Maker advertisement the day it was released suggests it was actually inspired by Lily Baylis (whose surname is spelt Bayliss) in the New Musical Express article of May 20, 1967. However, Townshend has given several conflicting explanations for the song, so caveat emptor.

PORN PANIC! Sex And Censorship In The UK: This book was published by Zero Books/John Hunt Publishing of Alresford, Hampshire. The date of publication was taken from the Amazon UK website on November 8, 2019. The front cover was created from a JPG on-line. The four sample pages were scanned by me; they concern mostly feminist hypocrisy about pornography. I can recommend this book.

PROFUMO AFFAIR: The Profumo Affair was one of the big scandals in 1960s British politics; it involved the Government Minister John Profumo (1915-2006), the osteopath Stephen Ward (1912-63), Christine Keeler (1942-2017), and Mandy Rice-Davies (1944-2014).

It was alleged that both Keeler and Rice-Davies were prostitutes. Whether or not that was the case, Keeler was not shy about dropping her knickers. Stephen Ward was an osteopath by profession, although he was accused of being a pimp. He stood trial in July 1963 and was convicted on two counts of living off immoral earnings, but committed suicide while the jury was still out.

Rice-Davies is best known for the phrase “Well he would say that, wouldn’t he?” (in reality a slight misquote).

Keeler gets a mention in the Al Stewart song Post World War II Blues; Ward became the subject of an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.

PUBLISHERS AND PORNOGRAPHY: This letter from Picture Post, March 6, 1948, was written in response to an article published in the February 21 issue. I’ve checked out said article, and it is not relevant to this database. Correspondent Donald Clarke clearly had a bee in his bonnet about pornography.
RADCLYFFE HALL/THE WELL OF LONELINESS: Marguerite Radclyffe Hall (1880–1943) – known as Radclyffe Hall – was an established author when she published The Well Of Loneliness. Although extremely mild if not innocuous by Twenty-First Century standards, its lesbian theme caused outrage with the editor of one newspaper and the entire legal establishment.

It was banned swiftly, and the entire print run was ordered destroyed, although I have seen what appear to be genuine first edition copies advertised on-line at astronomical prices. Hall was herself a lesbian, as can be discerned from this photograph taken around 1930.

The book was published almost immediately in the United States – where it was also banned – and in Paris. I have access to both the first American edition and the Pegasus Press edition, but for technical reasons I am unable to scan selected pages from them. The good news is the entire book has been scanned by Project Gutenberg, and it is that version that is included here in Portable Document Format; I converted it from HTML.

I am assuming this is an accurate copy, even though the name of the author has been misspelt! Or should that be the authoress?

RELAX by Frankie Goes To Hollywood: This song was released October 24, 1983, and immediately ran into trouble because of its lyrical content, something that turned out to be extremely embarrasing for the BBC because predictably it topped the UK singles chart.

Here is an excerpt; here is its SongFacts entry.

SEX PISTOLS – anarchy on teatime TV: The punk rock band the Sex Pistols was formed in 1975, and from the beginning set out to cause mayhem and controversy, as well as make music and (hopefully) money. Their debut album Never Mind The Bollocks    Here’s The Sex Pistols was and remains a magnificent work of high energy in-your-face youthful rebelliousness.

The album cover was branded obscene, but very sensibly, magistrates would have none of it.

What launched the group more than anything else was their appearance on the Thames Television early evening local news programme Today (December 1, 1976) where, egged on by the presenter, an obviously drunk Bill Grundy, they treated viewers to a tirade of four letter words. Naturally this caused outrage, after all, children must be watching. (For the record, the first new word I learned when I first went to school in the early 1960s was fuck; were 1970s schoolkids any less corrupted? Probably not). This incident might have ended Grundy’s television career; it didn’t quite, but he was suspended, and shortly Today was cancelled.

The Pistols were actually a late substitute for rising stars Queen, who would eventually become massive.

SEX TRAFFICKING: If you are wondering why sex trafficking is included here when advocates regard it is as crime, you need to educate yourself about sex trafficking. This is the new narrative of the anti-prostitution industry. Traditionally a prostitute was seen as a fallen woman – the Biblical harlot or Victorian unfortunate. Second wave feminism came up with prostitution as rape, and for the more extreme of these airhead extremists, pornography as rape. Women were seen as having no agency, but to be exploited ruthlessly by men at every stage. This resulted in the so-called Nordic model that sought to stamp out prostitution by penalising the buyers of sexual services. Seeing their livelihoods under attack, prostitutes and others involved in the growing sex industry – many of whom could not be described as prostitutes in any sense of the word – fought back, adopting the slogan “Sex work is real work” or simply “Sex work is work”. To counter this growing movement, the anti-prostitution industry created the sex trafficking narrative.

While women are at times trafficked for sex, most trafficking is simply illegal immigration run by organised criminal gangs. The reader should not be duped into believing that large numbers of women the length and breadth of Britain or worldwide are being held captive in brothels and raped dozens of times a day. When illegal immigrants are arrested for prostitution-related offences, they inevitably make some such claim, which guarantees they will be treated as victims – survivors – and perhaps even granted asylum.

SOCIETY FOR THE SUPPRESSION OF VICE: This august organisation, alluded to strangely as the Vice Society, first met on March 22, 1802. William Wilberforce has been credited as its founder, although if he did play any part in its organisation, his must have been a very minor role. Wilberforce was of course long engaged in suppressing a real vice, slavery, rather than some of the imagined vices found in this database, but its spiritual origins can be traced to a Royal Proclamation of 1787, which he is said to have encouraged. William Hague published a substantial biography of Wilberforce. I have looked over it, and there is no mention of the Society in the index, or, as far as I could ascertain, in the entire book.

The British Library catalogue holds two publications dated 1801 – or more accurately 1801? – which herald the Society’s inception, but this database includes publications only from 1802. The lengthy 1983 article by the historian M.J.D. Roberts is probably the best and fullest work on the Society, its early years at least.

SPA FACES LOSING LICENCE...: This article appears on page 23 of the WEST END FINAL Edition. Unlike the cyber version here, the printed version is not illustrated.
STASSINOS PARASKOS (1933-2014): According to Goodman, the trial of Stass Paraskos was the last trial of an artist for obscenity in Britain. I will not disagree with that although there are some trials that come close.

Having said that, this trial was absurd beyond all meaning of the word. I was ten years old at the time, and had I been aware of it, I would have regarded it as silly.

I have included all the relevant documents in this database. They are:

From April 25, 1966: Stass Paraskos obscenity trial documents. This is a collection of documents I found on his Wikipedia page. Although I haven’t consulted the original, I would assume this is a photocopy of DPP 2/4193 held at Kew, if not the entire file then all the essential documents. Files in this series tend to contain all sorts of unimportant documents such as memoranda, invoices, etc. The exhibition opened on April 25, so I have given that as the starting date for this nonsense.
ARTIST IN ROW OVER PICTURES OF NUDES; this Daily Mirror article from April 30, 1966 appears to be the first media report on the case, national or local.
Artist accused of showing two obscene pictures in exhibition – December 19, 1966. Goodman found this Liverpool Echo article and told me to get it. As far as I recall, this was the first I had heard of this case. The quality is extremely poor so I dug out the relevant local press articles.
OBSCENE ART IN LEEDS ALLEGED from the local/regional press the same day.
Professor produces pin-up in court, December 20, 1966 – from the same source.
OBSCENE ART FINES—ARTIST MAY APPEAL, December 21, 1966 – the resolution reported by the local/regional press.
‘Obscene’ art that saw artist arrested goes on show in Leeds – August 12, 2016; this article contains good quality photographs of the two offending paintings. Offending? No!
How a Cypriot artist became the last victim of UK obscenity laws, January 30, 2022. This Cyprus Mail article also contains good quality photographs of the paintings.

STATUE OF ACHILLES: Here is a simple explanation, a screengrab from an official website. This was published on or before January 23, 2015.
TAKE OFF YOUR CLOTHES: This ditty by singer-songwriter Peter Sarstedt appears to have been released around mid-July 1969. Click here to play.

See alo entry for July 26, 1969.

THE BIRMINGHAM POST, November 22, 1968. The front page of this issue says COUNTY EDITION (printed); page 22 is stamped MIDLAND SOUTH. This is quite common on microfilms and in on-line databases. For a fuller explanation, here is an external link to the relevant section of a page on one of my other websites.

The Birmingham Post, August 12, 1970. The front page of this issue says MIDLAND NEWS (printed) and is also stamped CITY.

The Birmingham Post, December 15, 1972. The front page of this issue says Midland Edition (printed) and is also stamped MIDLAND NORTH.

THE LIGHT COMES FROM WITHIN: Linda McCartney died April 17, 1998 at the relatively young age of 56. This song was recorded March 18, a month before her death, and released October 26 on the posthumous album Wild Prairie. Naturally it was not played by the BBC. A censored version is said to have been released in January 1999, but I have been unable to locate this to date.

Her husband needs no introduction, of course. Paul McCartney is one of the most prolific and talented songwriters in history, but for the record, this information was gleaned from The Paul McCartney Project.

Click here to play The Light Comes From Within.

THE MORAL SENSE OF THE MAJORITIES...: This article by Tracy C. Davis was published in Popular Music, Volume 10 Number 1, (pages 39-52). Here is a better quality though slightly incomplete scan, in colour, of the image on page 48.
THE PORNOGRAPHY OF HATRED: To view this PDF file properly, save to disk and open using your viewer, Acrobat Reader or similar.

Concerning this file specifically, this is a scan from the microfilm of the Times. If you view this article on The Times Digital Archive, this is what you will see.

THE SATANIC VERSES: This 1988 novel by the apostate Moslem Salman Rushdie caused a furore in Britain and worldwide. The main objection to it was/is, that it includes a passage that infers the Prophet was tricked by Satan during the revelation of Surah 53 of the Qur’an. On February 14, 1989, the Supreme Leader of Iran issued a fatw̄a against Rushdie calling for his assassination.
THE THEATRE OF THE SOUL: This 1912 play by the Russian dramatist Nikolai Evreinov (1879-1953) was passed by the Lord Chamberlain but withdrawn from a London theatre in 1915 at the last minute. This file contains the play with a preface which gives some indication of why it was banned. I found it at the Internet Archive and have removed a few blank pages.
THE TRUTH ABOUT PORNOGRAPHY is a speech Yours Truly delivered July 21, 2019. An illustrated transcript was uploaded to my main website two days later.

On March 20, 2021, a slightly augmented recording was uploaded to YouTube. The following month it was uploaded to the Internet Archive.

THE VERE STREET CLUB: Also known as the Vere Street Coterie, this was a big case/scandal which resulted in two men being hanged. These men met at a molly house, sometimes hyphenated. Molly houses were dens of iniquity where homos met to do what homos do to each other. I have not included a lot of entries relating to homosexuality in this database because prudery has nothing to do with revulsion at these disgusting practices, but when the reporting on them is so over the top and the outrage so contrived, they deserve inclusion. This case its own Wikipedia entry and has also been documented at length by Rictor Norton here: this page has been archived.
TILL DEAF DO US PART: This album by glam rockers Slade was released November 13, 1981. Here is its original record cover. The cover wasn’t banned exactly but they were forced to withdraw it. Make of that what you will. It was said to be offensive to deaf people. This isn’t exactly my idea of prudery but Goodman said to include it, so...
TRIALS FOR BROTHEL KEEPING, 1849: Thomas Johnson, Mary Timbrell and Harriett Smith were indicted together for keeping a brothel (though not in quite those words). Johnson stood trial on February 2. He pleaded not guilty, and was convicted.

Smith and Timbrell pleaded guilty; they appeared at the Old Bailey on August 20. Smith walked home, but the older woman received a sentence of three months.

The same day, Mary Hinds was tried for the same offence in an unrelated case. She pleaded not guilty, and was convicted. The witness Martha Moore described herself as an unfortunate girl. In this context, unfortunate is a noun rather than an adjective. It was a euphemism for prostitute.

ULYSSES: This novel by the Irish literary giant James Joyce (1882-1941) caused a great deal of controversy and was banned on both sides of the Atlantic.

VIEWING THIS FILE: To view this PDF file properly, save to disk and open using your viewer, Acrobat Reader or similar.
WET DREAM by Max Romeo: The Jamaican reggae artist released this song in 1968. Here is the entry for it in the leading American song database written by someone not a million miles from here.

According to the official UK singles chart, it was released here on June 3, 1969 peaking at number 10. Naturally it was banned. The song will not be included here. The associated image is its entry in the National Archives catalogue.

YORKSHIRE POST: There are two versions of the front page of the May 27, 1954 edition of this newspaper – they are totally different with no indication of they’re being different editions. The two articles in this database are from the same page.

Click Here To Return To The Database