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The History of Swearing

Swearing on Amateur Radio always seems to evoke the strongest of feelings, in a test case, a local radio amateur called another operator a "Cunt". He was summoned to appear before Magistrates. This was when the BR68 was in force, and we were only allowed to do 2 things:-
  • Make transmissions relating to technical investigations
  • Make remarks of a personal character.

His solicitor put up such a good defence and insisted that calling someone a "Cunt" was indeed a "remark of a personal character"

The rules have once again been re-written to remove any reference to personal remarks!

Now legislation says that in any so-called "Grossly Offensive Message" It must be proved that the language used in any alleged offence MUST be worse than that encountered in everyday life.

So that might filter out Cunt, but nothing else as far as we can see, as ALL other swear words are regularly in use on free to air TV including the BBC.

WELL, things have recently changed:- Swearing on amateur radio has always been a contentious issue, some people think it's not allowed, BUT, the Terms & Conditions only say we can't use "Grossly Offensive" language. You may think that the gross offence is in the mind of the listener, but OFCOM, the licensing authority, do have a definitive description of bad language.
All broadcast radio and TV is licensed by OFCOM, and they require their license holders to warn viewers and listeners of potential "bad" language.
Films and TV shows containing the word fuck were referred to as containing STRONG language.
The edition of Have I Got News For You on Friday 15th May 2015 contained at least 2 uses of the word "CUNT" - what was the OFCOM warning before the show?
"The following programme contains extremely strong language", no mention of offensive or grossly offensive. Therefore, by their own descriptive criteria, cunt is NOT grossly offensive, and as such is acceptable for use on amateur radio.There is quite a lot of swearing on public domain broadcasters these days, Mock The Week and Have I Got News For You being prime examples of programmes containing swearing but not being preceded by any warning.

Politicians too are not unknown to swear whilst being broadcast:-

1993     Prime Minister John Major was recorded by ITV cameras calling 3 cabinet colleagues a "Shower of bastards".

2004     US democratic candidate John Kerry was interviewed, and when asked why he voted to allow the use of military force in Iraq said "I voted for what I thought was best for the country … Did I expect George Bush to fuck it up as badly as he did? I don't think anybody did"

2005     John Prescott on BBC TV was seen to mouth the words "Fucking Pillock" towards Nick Robinson

2009     David Cameron talks about Twitter on absolute Radio and says that "too many twits make a twat" he followed this by quoting someone who referred to his party as "effing Tories" and moments later suggest that the public in general were "Pissed off with politicians".

2112     Boris Johnson claimed on BBC television that rumours that he was being sponsored by News International were "Fucking Bollocks". Later he was accused of failing to keep public transport running during heavy snow, he responded "Nonsense, bollocks, nonsense",

2112     Tory Minister Nick Herbert used the term "Fuckwit" on BBC2's Daily Politics programme.

Anyway, here is a partially accurate history of swearing:-



Shot by an anarchist while standing on a Brussels railway station, The Prince of Wales utters the immortal words, “Fuck it, I’ve taken a bullet."


Music hall comedian Hector Thaxter becomes the first man to say “Arse” on the radio.


After cutting food rations as part of a new economic drive, Chancellor Hugh Dalton is accosted by a beggar in the street who says, “You bloody bastard! What am I meant to do, eat shit?”


Interviewed live on BBC News, a British teddy boy is asked his opinion of Bill Haley. He replies, “Haley? I wouldn't piss on him if he went up in flames. I’m an Elvis man meself.”


Appearing on a late night live satire programme called BBC3, Kenneth Tynan becomes the first man to say “Fuck” on TV. A national fit of apoplexy follows with one Tory MP suggesting that Tynan should hang!


After watching an episode of "Till Death Us Do Part" that includes 44 uses of the word “BLOODY”, Mary Whitehouse fumes, “This is the end of civilisation as we know it”


Buzz Aldrin becomes the first man to swear on the moon “Bloody hell,” he tells Neil Armstrong, “I’ve just taken a shit in my space suit”


Oxford English Dictionary includes the words “FUCK” and “CUNT” for the first time. The National Campaign for Real Swearing issues a statement which reads: “We’d be a bunch of lying cunts if we didn’t say that we were totally fucking delighted”


Originating from the Australian “Nasty as Fuck”, the word NAFF is introduced to the British public via Ronnie Barker in Porridge. As in “Naff off Godber!” However the expression looses its appeal when Princess Anne starts using it.


  1. On tour in Hong Kong and unaware that he is miked up, The Duke of Edinburgh tells a photographer  “Fuck off or I’ll have you shot.” 

  2. The moral majority get into a proper old lather after Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols appears on live TV and calls presenter Bill Grundy “A fucking rotter”.


A Bar steward at a Conservative Club in Middlesex is sacked after greeting a club member with the words, “All right, you fucking old bastard, we haven't seen you for fucking ages!” He is later ruled to have been unfairly dismissed on the grounds that his words “were just a form of greeting”.


British Leyland workers begin their so-called swearing strike after one of the top brass describes them as, “fucking bastards and fucking working-class pigs”.


Jools Holland lets slip with the phrase “Groovy fuckers” on a live broadcast of The Tube and is suspended for six weeks. 

A Pakistani umpire calls Mike Gatting “a fucking cheating bastard” during a Test Match.


Female golfer Muffin Spencer-Devlin is banned from a top ladies tournament after calling officials, “A fucking bunch of incontinent wankers!”.


Rev. Ian Gregory, secretary of The Polite Society, proposes that existing swear-words are banished and replaced with “nice words like 'breadstick' and 'cotton socks'”. A spokesman for The National Campaign for Real Swearing responds by saying “The good reverend can go and fuck himself!”.


  1. Pete Sampras, the world’s top male tennis player, shouts at the Wimbledon crowd, “Thank you very much, you mother fuckers!” 

  2. A Briton in Saudi Arabia is sentenced to 40 lashes after telling a member of his staff to, “Stuff it up your fat arse you old wanker”. 

  3. Boston grunge band, The Anal Cunts, release their first single.


As a private prosecution, the DTI took local radio amateur David Giles-Probert G7GDR, to court for allegedly calling a fellow radio amateur a "Cunt", to which they had replied "Cheerio mate", obviously grossly offended. In Dudley Magistrates Court the defence pointed out the terms of the BR68 rule book and showed the bench where it said we could only transmit "Messages related to technical investigations and remarks of a personal character", he received a conditional discharge.


Annoyed at the constant chattering of children during a performance of “Macbeth” at a Manchester theatre, actor Paul Higgins strides to the front of the stage and bellows, “Shut the fuck up or I’ll rip your fucking heads off!”


Students hackers tinker with the digital storage system at Britain's first talking bus stop in Leeds, with the result that a queue of passengers expecting a recorded timetable are greeted with the words, “Fuck off and walk you lazy bastards”.

Genuine press cutting!


With the advent of Channel 4's "Bremner, Bird, & Fortune" and "The Eleven O'clock Show", all known swear words are finally used openly, in entertainment television.
The National Campaign For Real Swearing comments "About fucking time too!"

March 2014

Four different forms of the word 'cunt' have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary, and they're all spectacular. But the crown jewels in the new additions (and the words I'm most likely to use in my day-to-day life) are the Four Cunts -- cunty, cuntish, cunted, and cunting.

Now BBC plans an 'I love the C-word' documentary

By JAMES TAPPER - 4th January 2007

The BBC came under new fire after it announced plans for a £200,000 TV documentary devoted to the most offensive word in the English language.

The programme - tentatively titled I love The C-Word - is billed as examining why the word has become more mainstream in recent years.

Contributors will include feminist academic Germaine Greer and Eve Ensler, the author of The Vagina Monologues, an acclaimed stage play which features women talking about their genitals.

Both the BBC and North One claimed it will not be sensationalist. A spokeswoman for the programme said: "It will look at how a word that was considered completely unacceptable has moved into the mainstream, particularly by younger people. The tone will be a serious exploration of the word."

And North One's head of factual entertainment John Quinn told the TV industry magazine Broadcast: "It will be a grown-up discussion about how we have got to where we are now with this word without being either sensationalist or po-faced.

"It is perhaps one of the last words that has the ability to stop someone in their tracks and it is fascinating to see how differently it is perceived around the world."

I Love The C-Word is the latest in a growing number of BBC programmes that have featured the word in recent years, despite internal BBC research showing that it is the one viewers hate the most.

Last year it featured 12 times in The Chatterley Affair, a BBC4 drama about the 1960 obscenity trial over D. H. Lawrence's book.

It has been used frequently in the award-winning BBC4 political sitcom The Thick Of It, starring Chris Langham as fictional Social Affairs Minister Hugh Abbot and Peter Capaldi as belligerent spin doctor Malcolm Tucker.

And Germaine Greer made a 10-minute film about the history of the word for the BBC2 series Balderdash And Piffle.

In 2004, the BBC received a record number of complaints about its decision to broadcast the controversial Jerry Springer: The Opera. It contained 8,000 obscenities including the use of the f-word 200 times and the c-word nine times

A kind website visitor sent me this audio clip of the use of the word "Cunt" in feature films.

Uses of the word FUCK in feature films:-

Film Year Fuck count Duration Fucks per minute
The Wolf of Wall Street 2013 569 180 3.16
Summer of Sam 1999 435 142 3.06
Nil by Mouth 1997 428 128 3.34
Casino 1995 422 178 2.40
Alpha Dog 2007 367 118 3.11
End of Watch 2012 326 109 2.99
Twin Town 1997 318 99 3.21
Running Scared 2006 315 122 2.58
Sweet Sixteen 2002 313 106 2.95
Goodfellas 1990 300 146 2.05
Narc 2002 297 105 2.82
Harsh Times 2006 296 120 2.46
Made 2001 291 94 3.09
Another Day in Paradise 1998 291 101 2.88
Pride and Glory 2008 291 125 2.32
Dirty 2005 280 97 2.88
I'm Still Here 2010 280 107 2.40
Jarhead 2005 278 123 2.26
Bully 2001 274 113 2.42
State Property 2 2005 271 94 2.88
Brooklyn's Finest 2010 270 140 1.93
Reservoir Dogs 1992 269 99 2.71
Pulp Fiction 1994 265 154 1.72
The Big Lebowski 1998 260 117 2.22
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back 2001 248 104 2.38
Do the Right Thing 1989 240 120 2.00
The Boondock Saints 1999 239 110 2.17
The Departed 2006 237 151 1.56
Empire 2002 236 90 2.62
True Romance 1993 234 121 1.93
Goon 2012 231 93 2.48
My Name Is Joe 1998 230 105 2.19
State of Grace 1990 230 134 1.71
Menace II Society 1993 228 97 2.35
Gridlock'd 1997 227 91 2.49
The Devil's Rejects 2005 224 109 2.06
Eddie Murphy Raw 1987 223 90 2.47
Suicide Kings 1997 222 106 2.09
Zack and Miri Make a Porno 2008 219 101 2.16
30 Minutes or Less 2011 218 83 2.17
Black and White 1999 215 98 2.19
American History X 1998 214 119 1.79
The Original Kings of Comedy 2000 213 115 1.85
Hot Tub Time Machine 2010 212 100 2.12
Layer Cake 2004 210 105 2.00
Monument Ave. 1998 210 93 2.25
Scarface 1983 207 170 1.21
Spun 2002 203 101 2.00
Dysfunktional Family 2003 200 89 2.24
Foolish 1999 200 97 2.06
This Is the End 2013 200 106 1.88
8 Mile 2002 200 110 1.81
A Bronx Tale 1993 200 122 1.63
I Got the Hook Up 1998 197 93 2.11
Sabotage 2014 196 109 1.80
Born on the Fourth of July 1989 196 145 1.35
Next Day Air 2009 193 84 2.23
Killing Them Softly 2012 193 97 1.99
Overnight 2003 191 82 2.32
Ten Benny 1996 190 108 1.75
Superbad 2007 190 118 1.61
Magnolia 1999 190 188 1.01
Monster 2003 187 110 1.70
Belly 1998 186 96 1.93
Hustle & Flow 2005 186 115 1.61
Get Rich or Die Tryin' 2005 185 134 1.38
Clockers 1995 185 128 1.44
The 51st State 2001 180 93 1.93
Flawless 1999 178 112 1.58
Slam 1998 176 100 1.76
Poetic Justice 1993 175 109 1.60
Pineapple Express 2008 175 111 1.57
Project X 2012 175 88 1.98
Human Traffic 1999 174 100 1.74
Bad Santa 2003 173 98 1.76
Tigerland 2000 173 100 1.73
Donnie Brasco 1997 172 127 1.35
Backstage 2000 170 86 1.97
The Commitments 1991 169 118 1.43
Grindhouse 2007 169 191 0.88
Four Rooms 1995 168 98 1.71
Death of a Dynasty 2003 167 93 1.79
Gang Related 1997 165 102 1.61
Crank: High Voltage 2009 164 96 1.71
Funny People 2009 164 153 1.01
Boogie Nights 1997 164 155 1.05
Blood In Blood Out 1993 163 190 0.85
21 and Over 2013 162 93 1.74
The Grey 2012 161 117 1.30
Lone Survivor 2013 161 121 1.33
Snatch 2000 159 102 1.55
Platoon 1986 159 120 1.32
Blue Collar 1978 158 114 1.39
The Heat 2013 158 117 1.35
Colors 1988 157 120 1.30
Dead Presidents 1995 157 119 1.32
That's My Boy 2012 156 116 1.35
Magic Mike 2012 156 110 1.42
The Town 2010 155 125 1.26
Intermission 2003 155 106 1.46
The Blair Witch Project 1999 154 86 1.79
Notorious 2009 154 123 1.25
Good Will Hunting 1997 154 126 1.22
Boiler Room 2000 153 118 1.29
Bad Boys II 2003 153 147 1.04
All About the Benjamins 2002 151 99 1.53
Ash Wednesday 2002 151 99 1.53
Soul Men 2008 151 103 1.46
Smokin' Stogies 2001 151 102 1.48
In the Name of the Father 1993 151 127 1.19
Hoffa 1992 150 140 1.07

Students, Journalists, etc. Please note this is a satirical website, PLEASE no more emails about the History Of Swearing, or requests to be put in touch with The National Campaign For Real Swearing. The vast majority of the above has been researched and is completely true, a couple of items have been made up, and the press cutting about "Piss Flaps" is real, but from VIZ Magazine.

      "Wicked" Willy Bodwen ex Sgt. 3116 (forced to retire & not a laughing policeman!)

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