While I do not disagree with the principle of engaging in this sort of education, would not my right hon. Friend agree that it is rather strange that the B.B.C. did not see fit either to consult with or to take the advice of the Department before deciding to put on these programmes?
It is not usual for the B.B.C. to seek our advice in this sort of matter, although, as my hon. Friend may know, representatives of the Department sit on the Schools Broadcasting Council. I believe that the B.B.C. has been very good about this and has at all stages consulted parents in the pilot areas where the films have been shown.
Would the right hon. Lady disregard a lot of the ill-informed criticism that has been made both of these broadcasts and of some of the other excellent sex education that is being given to primary school children in our schools and try to work more closely with the B.B.C. in future to coordinate the work?
Accompanied by other Ministers, my right hon. Friend and I saw these films a short time ago and we felt that they did a very good job indeed. I believe that this view was shared by hon. Members who also saw the films. There is a good working arrangement with the B.B.C., but, strictly speaking, neither were we consulted nor are we ever called on to approve films made by the B.B.C.
Does the right hon. Lady realise that some people, including myself, do not approve of the idea of the B.B.C. showing films of this type? Should not the Government take an attitude on this issue and express their feelings, as I did, about whether this is the correct kind of film to be shown on television to children aged under 10?
I appreciate that there are differences of opinion, but I believe it is right that where schools wish to show these films to children as part of their general education, they should first ask parents to see the films and then obtain their consent.