"Nudity on screen is normal... why does Joanna Lumley dislike it so much?" asks George Icke

Image: Edge Media Group

"Joanna Lumley says she thinks nude scenes are "rude and horrible" but surely we have bigger problems in our on-screen depictions?" writes George Icke.

We've all watched films and TV shows where the stars are getting their kit off, whether it's in the bedroom or as we've seen more recently when they're dancing around a 170-bedroom mansion - so why does Joanna Lumley dislike nudity on screen so much?

I'm a firm believer in everyone being entitled to their opinion, but in a blinding occupational hazard as a journalist, I think you need to be able to fully rationalise why you think that. 

The 'Fool Me Once' and 'Absolutely Fabulous' actor says she thinks it detracts from the actor's ability to do their job, when the audience knows what they look like *ahem* down there.

It's a valid point, but arguably so many incredible actors have demonstrated they can still do their job, be taken seriously, and remain in character that I wonder whether it's just her personal preference - rather than a sweeping generalisation of the industry.

I can still remember what I think is the first time I saw nudity in a film and that was thanks to some very careful babysitting of me, probably aged around 9 or 10, by my Aunty Helen and 'Love Actually' being on TV.

Given the success of the recent viral film 'Saltburn', and you can admit you've seen it - this is a safe space, I think that Joanna Lumley may well be in the minority with her views on nudity on the big screen.

If you haven't seen 'Saltburn', firstly simply where have you been for the last few months, it all begins to go wrong when Oxford student Felix invites coursemate Oliver to stay at his family estate, but little do they know what he is capable of when everyone suddenly begins to die.

There's a scene when (spoiler alert) just after Felix has died Barry Keoghan, who plays Oliver, strips down naked on top of his grave.

This is a slightly bizarre extremity, yet given the success of the film with more than 3 billion posts using #saltburn on TikTok, perhaps the rest of us are slightly more at ease with nudity than Lumley?

You might be asking yourself: "Well does it really add anything?" because when I saw Joanna's quote that was the first thing that went through my mind. I kept drawing the same conclusion though, it really does.

I think that nude scenes in film and TV go beyond those frivolous bedroom scenes. They show vulnerability and communicate intimacy in that moment.

The UK isn't very good at having open conversations about sex, and I think our prudish nature might have got us to where we are with this possibly Pulitzer-winning article.

Now I'm not going to sit here and pretend that in the past, and possibly even today, there isn't an ethical issue surrounding the treatment of women who have been told to film nude scenes. Notably, Maria Schneider has previously spoken about how she wasn't given details of the famous butter scene in "Last Tango in Paris." 

But, assuming everyone is happy and willing - surely there's got to be much worse things to see on screen than a bit of nudity?

I'd argue that given we have a drug and knife crime epidemic, with spiraling figures of young people carrying knives because it's the only time they feel safe - perhaps we should be thinking more about the display of violence, weapons, and bags of drugs on our screens.

I recently watched the hit Netflix series Top Boy and thoroughly enjoyed it, but it left me asking myself do young people head into the world thinking this is normal to walk out the door with a knife in your joggers?

If you haven't seen the show it's a collection of young people living in London who are involved in drug dealing - I'm sure you're getting the picture: fast cars, lots of money, designer clothes and jewellery and... you guessed it guns, knives, and unmatchable violence but worst of all they get away with it for a long time.

I've spent time reporting in courtrooms in Manchester, Nottingham, and Leicester before now and seen the devastating consequences of carrying knives and guns - so why are the legends of the TV and Film industry, like Lumley, so bothered about nudity when we have got a vast array of shows that are blatantly encouraging young people to carry weapons and administer their own justice?

I think it's high time we focused on real problems that we're facing rather than the stuff that just makes us 'uncomfortable'.

In 2021 & 2022 45% of people who died in Scotland were killed by a knife or a sharp object and in just 2022 alone more than 1,000 people died in a drug-related death.

Ultimately, I have no issues with seeing nudity on screen - but I think it's down to each actor to be consulted as to whether they are happy to shoot a nude scene. 

This is an opinion piece written by George Icke, Edge 1 & 2 Presenter - You can leave a comment below with your thoughts.

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