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Richard Craig




Well, Channel 4 *did* use the delay to Backlash to do a TSN, completely hacking the Trish angle with crowd shots, and eventually using the 'freeze frame' gimmick we get in daytime WWF shows over here, just as she was about to have her fall broken by the table. Video recaps of feuds were also censored (Rock's bladejob from the cage match not only getting the black and white treatment, but some ULTRA soft-focus to boot) and ALL table spots against women (Terri, Mae) were cut, using the freeze frame technique, except Lita's which somehow evaded the censors. All chairshots from video recaps were frozen also, and only ass made it past the censors on the language front. Finally, X-Pac's unintentional crimson mask was ever so amateurly pixellated out: it looked so lame, I wish I could vidcap stuff... Clearly, the ITC's pressure over what must surely be an investigation into January's broadcast of the Rumble, forced the WWF to comply in this artistic raping of its product. No doubt they were left with the choice of show Backlash delayed and censored, or it doesn't get shown at all.

The annoying thing is that the ITC and C4's likely argument that children would be taping the event, necessitating the edits CANNOT hold any sort of water. Other late night shows which channels and regulators KNOW attract a large pre-teen (by which I mean 10 and above) audience, such as South Park, and the Ali G show (white British comedian satirises white English youths who act like they're from South Central and Black: it is TOTALLY over-rated, IMHO) are NOT cut, 'just in case' kids might tape it. A recent 'late-night' special of a teen soap on C4 included the word 'fuck' on a few occasions, two sex scenes, and the bullying, chase and ultimate rape of a male character by three homophobes. Channel 4 must have known that an element of the younger demographic for this show was going to watch, yet they didn't censor THAT show, did they? (For my non-UK readers, they didn't censor that show: I can't expect you to get a rhetorical question if I don't equip you with the facts, can I?)

Anyway, I studied law at university, and have come up with the following interesting theory...

Whilst I am not aware of the slight differences in English law, there is a principle enshrined in Contract Law North of the border.

Called "Consensus in Idem" (or consensus, for short), this states that if the two parties to a contract have both misunderstood what they were contracting over in the first place, then the contract has no VALIDITY, and can be AVOIDED (or terminated as if it had never happened)...

Channel 4 thought that they were commissioning wrestling that would give them a nice pre-teen, S-Club 7 liking, Pokemon-collecting demographic. They could add the wrestling to their teen-strand T4, and treat those same viewers with four 'live' specials. The Royal Rumble came and went: quite frankly, C4's jaws collectively hit the ground. This extreme, edgy, but above all ENTERTAINING product bore NO resemblence whatsoever to the product they thought they'd acquired.

So, fearing some reprisal from the ITC (I am now *CONVINCED* that the ITC *are* currently dealing with some content-related issues surrounding the Rumble, by the way), they plan to edit and delay subsequent transmissions of these specials.

On the other hand, the WWF, hot a run as they are currently on, decide to seek a suitable terrestrial partner to screen HeAT, in order to increase the WWF's profile in the UK, which is unquestionably its single biggest market outside of the States/Canada. To sweeten the deal, they allow the successful broadcaster the rights to four PPV specials over the course of a one-year period. Channel 4 are the preferred bidder, and WWFE completes the contract, thinking that the transition will be seamless (i.e., the coverage will be of the same quality as provided by BSkyB) The Rumble is shown with ads, and the combined influence of the ITC and C4 force the WWF (under the duress of having to sanction the editing and delay of Backlash or else face the event being blacked out in the UK) to let tonight's shambles occur.

To recap, NEITHER party was contracting for what they thought they were (kiddie-friendly wrasslin': C4 and the same artistic freedom as granted by BSkyB: WWF). Therefore, under the laws of contract, in Scotland at least, there is NO consensus, and the contract can be AVOIDED, or torn up, in layman's terms.

Depending upon the wording of the contract, which I am obviously not privvy to, the issue of Channel 4 being in BREACH of contract could be a relevant one, and if this were the case, that would allow the WWF ANOTHER opportunity to escape from this deal from hell.

Richard Craig
(A Scotsman protesting at)
Earls Court, London, ENG
Bedfordshire, ENG, UK
[slash] wrestling

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