Comedian reveals surprising list of words that couldn’t be said on TV in the Eighties

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Smith in 2020 (Dan Wooller/Shutterstock)
Smith in 2020 (Dan Wooller/Shutterstock)

Comedian Arthur Smith has shared a list of the surprising words participants were not allowed to say on TV in the 1980s.

In a viral tweet shared earlier this week, Smith – who was a regular on the alternative comedy scene at the time – posted a picture to Twitter detailing the “obscenities” that could not be said while appearing on television.

“Discovered these old lists of words you could/ couldn’t say on TV in the 80s,” he wrote. “Like 3 rude poems.”

The words are separated into three lists, marked: “No way,” “If you absolutely have to” and “OK”.

While the definite “no” list contains many standard swear words, such as “f***”, “c***” and “t***”, other unusual additions include the phrases “spunk”, “smegma” and “Jesus Christ”.

The middle list consists of “b***er”, “b*****d”, “bloody”, “sod”, “b*****s”, “bleeding”, “prat”, “d***head”, “prick”, “Oh God” and “Jesus”.

More surprisingly, “s***”, “d***”, “a***”, “nob” and “tits” all make the “OK” pile, along with “bums” and “git”.

The list given to Smith in the 1980s (Arthur Smith/Twitter)
The list given to Smith in the 1980s (Arthur Smith/Twitter)

Notes below say that anyone on TV should be “careful of defamatory remarks” about named products or public figures”. It also adds that “royalty and MPs [are] generally OK – but be extremely careful when it comes to homosexuality or fraud”.

Social media users were left fascinated by the list, with one joking: “This is why I have Twitter”.

Others were shocked by the placing of certain words, with one tweet reading: “Smeg is on the “No Way!” list?!”

“So s*** was okay but Jesus Christ wasn’t?!” another questioned.

“Having just learnt that ‘s***’ was officially a more acceptable swear word than ‘bleeding’ I no longer harbour any confusion about how f***ed the world is today. It’s obviously always been this way,” one Twitter user commented.

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