Christian group takes BBC action

London, England - A Christian group has applied for a judicial review of the BBC's broadcast of Jerry Springer - The Opera.

The broadcast of the hit London stage show caused outrage among Christian groups, with 47,000 people complaining before it was aired in January.

The Christian Institute says the programme breached the BBC's charter and broke the Human Rights Act by discriminating against Christians.

The BBC said the matter was being dealt with by its legal department.

A spokesman said it had received legal papers on 3 March.

A High Court judge must now decide if the BBC has a case to answer over its screening of the programme.

'Offensive and spiteful'

The Christian Institute, based in Newcastle, has no connection to Christian Voice, the organisation which co-ordinated many of the earlier protests against the broadcast.

It says the BBC broke its charter, which oblige it to uphold standards of taste and follow broadcasting standards guidelines.

Christian Institute director Colin Hart has called Jerry Springer - The Opera "the most offensive and spiteful show ever broadcast by the BBC".

"There may be many shows running in West End theatres that I find offensive, but I am not paying for them to be pumped into my living room," he said when the group first announced its plan to take legal action against the corporation.

"I am appalled that a publicly-funded body should be so contemptuous of the people who pay for its upkeep. The BBC has a duty to respect the religious beliefs of its viewers."