From the earliest days of television there has been concern about the portrayal of violence in programmes. This anxiety has led to calls for stricter controls over what is shown on the screen. The problem of what to control however is a practical one. What should be cut out or left in programmes? It is far from easy to produce a system of guidelines and controls which take full account of the values and tastes of the people who matter, namely the audience. In the long-running debate about TV violence, all too often the opinions of the viewers themselves are forgotten, ignored or oversimplified. This research monograph examines in detail what the viewers think about violence on television and reports on general opinions about TV violence as well as perceptions in eg drama and news programmes, and in named series. The surveys reveal that public opinion about TV violence is varied and much depends on how questions about the issue are put. Certain segments of the audience are concerned about TV violence but on balance British viewers do not express extremes of concern.
Overall, public opinion seemed to indicate support for a system of regulation which is sensitive to existing values and tastes rather than of strict censorship, one which operates within a climate of shared responsibility among both broadcasters and viewers with regard to what is televised and what is defined as acceptable.