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Gunpowder among 2017’s controversial shows

BBC’s Gunpowder is among several TV shows to have sparked controversy over violence on the small screen in recent years.

The 2017 drama series, which recalled the terrors suffered by a group of Catholic conspirators in 1605, was cited in a number of reports for its violent scenes, as Ofcom figures revealed that almost a fifth of people found something offensive on TV last year.

Offensive language, sex/sexual content, discrimination and violence are cited as causing the most offence, followed by nakedness and anti-social behaviour.

A third of adults feel there is too much violence (34 per cent) and too much swearing (33 per cent) on TV.

But the figure has dropped from 43 per cent and 40 per cent in 2014 respectively.

Kit Harington, an executive producer and developer of Gunpowder, who also plays Robert Catesby, the leader of the group who planned the failed gunpowder plot of 1605, defended the show’s violence at the time of its broadcast.

Harington revealed that there had been discussions about the levels of violence in the programme and insisted that it was of the utmost importance that the drama was as historically accurate as possible, The Universe reported in October 2017.

He pointed out that Catholics were being persecuted at the time and explained that the persecution and violence depicted in Gunpowder is historically accurate.

“It’s a very violent time and we have to show the violence that the Catholics incurred, that the people around them incurred, that the people in this period incurred, to show why they might have gone on and done these things,” he said.

“We can’t avoid the torture that these men went through, we can’t avoid the executions that the people around these men suffered.”

An annual report on major trends in TV, compiled by Ofcom, found that the incidence of people finding something offensive on TV has remained stable at 19 per cent year on year.

Almost half (47 per cent) of those who saw something personally offensive on television in the last 12 months switched channels.

Picture: Kit Harington stars in a scene from the TV drama series Gunpowder. (BBC).