Do you need a strong stomach to watch TV dramas these days? 10 of TV’s most goriest moments
- Credit: BBC / Kudos
TV Editor Stacia Briggs looks at 10 sickening moments from the small screen ahead of BBC1's final episode of gore-fest Gunpowder.
Sick buckets at the ready, it's almost time for the last episode of Gunpowder which airs on BBC1 at 9.10pm.
Viewers claimed they had been moved – to the bathroom – by execution scenes shown in the first episode of the Kit Harington epic Gunpowder, which put the horrible into history.
Post-watershed scenes included a priest being hanged, then drawn, and quartered alive before his hands, feet and head were chopped off (he was later reassembled, like a messy jigsaw, by heroic Robert Catesby – Kit Harington – for a Catholic burial).
Another queasy scene involved a man being dropped from the gallows and then sliced open so that his intestines spilled in front of him forming a gruesome buffet.
And poor old Lady Dibdale was executed for treason after harbouring a Catholic priest in a chest (there were others in the wall, but the priest-spotter missed them) – first she was stripped naked and then placed under a slab of stone which then had huge weights placed on it until she was crushed to death.
Kit Harington defended the realistic scenes, saying: 'I think it's wrong when showing a torture scene or execution to shy too far away from the reality of it. You need to feel the reasons, to know why they go and do the things they do.
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'Audiences will accept a great level of violence as long as it's justified.'
The scenes were aired after 9.30pm and a warning was given to viewers before the episode started. Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom received a handful of complaints about the episode in question, the BBC has not revealed how many viewers complained directly to them.
10 of TV's most shocking moments (WARNING: Potential TV spoilers ahead).
• Breaking Bad: Disposing of Emilio's body in an acid bath. Jesse's rudimental chemistry fail leads to the kind of catastrophic ceiling leak that could be straight out of Nightmare on Elm Street.
• The Walking Dead: Never one to stint on the body count, but vying for 'worst WD death of all time' surely has to be Noah's demise in the revolving door of doom. Trapped in the doors, Noah was eaten alive by walkers while was alive. Don't ask us what happened to his face.
• Spooks: Eating too much fried food can be bad for your health, but being plunged into a boiling hot deep fat fryer is fatal, as Lisa Faulkner's character found out in a 2002 episode. The BBC switchboard was on fire that night.
• Hannibal: As one might expect of a series about a psychiatrist-by-day, cannibalistic-serial-killer-by-night, there was plenty to make the gorge rise here (is it wrong to admit that I am rather partial to Mads Mikkelsen, who played Lecter? Probably). But I think The Human Mural takes the biscuit for turn-away telly – Lecter sews naked people together to make his own handmade collage. Most of them are dead. Some of them aren't.
• Game of Thrones: Perhaps this is where Kit Harington became resistant to gore. Just when we felt confident that The Red Viper had got the upper hand over nasty Gregor Clegane, he ended up having his skull crushed by the Mountain. The explosion is a hard image to shift.
• Ren and Stimpy: As someone who is far from immune from the lure of cosmetic dentistry (a pursuit otherwise known as the Send a Dentist on Safari charity), the cartoon in which Ren removed bloody nerve endings from his own mouth with tweezers has me running for the back of the sofa.
• The Sopranos: There's a teeth theme emerging here – Tony Soprano takes exception to the way Salvatore 'Coco' Cogliano has treated his daughter and gives him a lesson he won't forget: a good old-fashioned pistol-whipping and curb-stomping.
• Twin Peaks: There are a few contenders for most shocking moment, but there are two that take a tie for me – terrifying psychopath Bob looking as if he's about to crawl through the TV screen and Agent Dale Cooper possessed by evil and smashing his head into a mirror over and over shudder.
• Black Mirror: Charlie Brooker's Dead Set was definitely not one to enjoy while eating dinner. The worst moment is when the Big Brother producer (Andy Nyman) cuts the meat from the bones of a former housemate in order to have a quick snack
• Six Feet Under: One of my favourite TV shows of all time, this cult classic often dealt with the deaths it featured in a warm, loving and everyday way. And then there was the one where a lift got stuck between floors and a man tried to crawl through the parted doors to get help and was, instead, cut clean in half. To quote Jamie Lawson – I wasn't expecting that.