Hardcore Profits Review: Penetrating The Issue

August 31, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

HARDCORE PROFITS: Monday 31st August, BBC2, 10pm Alert Me

It’s a double-edged sword, that internet.

As well as allowing us to download rare Steely Dan LPs, stalk our exes or share cauliflower cheese recipes (or read some second-to-none TV reviews), the information superhighway, it seems, is making perverts of us all.

A revolution in communication means pornography is becoming increasingly available. And deliciously profitable with it. But where is this profit going and what are the moral implications?

Investigative journalist du jour Tim Samuels attempts to find out in the first of this two-part documentary which traces the viral spread of adult entertainment through cyberspace, since the shame of carrying it through a bead curtain in a brown paper bag has been removed from the transaction.

He begins his investigation in Ardleigh, Essex, once home to the now legendary prude Mary Whitehouse. Ardleigh’s (seemingly solely elderly) residents are appalled by just how easy it is to access pornographic material, which Tim helpfully to illustrates for us as he logs onto a naughty website as he sits on a park bench outside a church.

It’s not just on the internet, it’s on our BSkyB packages and mobile phones. In fact, Tim tells us, mobile phone companies are the biggest high street purveyors of porn, and some even larger household names are funding it.

Having done Ardleigh, Tim travels to Hollywood, porno capital of the world, doing his duty to the licence fee-payer to see some X-rated entertainment being made first hand.

You can almost smell the KY jelly, but something is missing. The actors aren’t required to wear condoms during shooting, an oversight that led to an epidemic of HIV cases some years back. All this our Visa dollars go toward.

One of the most disturbing moments (but it gets far more so) is when Tim meets a porn hedge fund millionaire, who is all too happy to share the details of how he made his fortune with Tim, though tellingly shrinks away from the question of whether there is any aspect of pornography he would be opposed to investing in.

It’s a gripping documentary (and really difficult to comment on justly without descending into pun given the subject matter). Samuels meets some key players in the world of pornography, making some downright frightening revelations.

As it progresses, the reality of his subject becomes more and more sordid, and it might just alter your attitude (whatever that may be) toward porn.

And if you don’t want your attitude to porn altered, that’s another matter. Otherwise, well worth a gander.

Leonie Mercedes

Perhaps the yanks just need some wholesome British telly shows. Check out our Five British Shows That Americans Should Watch. Or have a look at our treatment of equally compelling documentary Mario and Nini.