The BBC has received 266 complaints about a scene in The Vicar Of Dibley , referencing the Black Lives Matter movement.
In last week's Christmas episode, Dawn French's character, Reverend Geraldine Granger, kneeled to Black Lives Matter and
delivered a sermon preaching about racism.
The BBC said in a statement it was in keeping with the character and the theme of the show. French's character is shown being filmed by parishioner and farmer Owen Newitt as she tells the audience she has
been preoccupied with the horror show of the death of George Floyd. In the scene, the vicar noted that Dibley, the fictional Oxfordshire village, is not the most diverse community, and encouraged its residents to get behind the anti-racism campaign.
The BBC has issued new guidance on social media usage, which will force staff to maintain impartiality. Employees will be told not to express a personal opinion on matters of public policy, politics, or controversial subjects. Staff will also be told
they must not bring the BBC into disrepute or criticise colleagues in public.
The new guidance on social media will apply to staff whether they are using online platforms professionally or personally.
The announcement follows new director
general Tim Davie's pledge last month to impose new social media rules.
The BBC said it had considered impartiality in the context of public expressions of opinion, taking part in campaigns and participating in marches or protests.
also be issued on avoiding bias through follows, likes, retweeting or other forms of sharing. The BBC said there would be tougher guidelines for some staff in news, current affairs, factual journalism, senior leadership, and a small number of presenters
who have a significant public profile.
The guidance states staff should avoid using disclaimers such as My views, not the BBC's in their biographies and profiles, as they provide no defence against personal expressions of opinion. It also advises
staff against using emojis which could reveal an opinion and undercut an otherwise impartial post, and to always assume they are posting publicly even if they have tight security settings.
The guidance states employees should avoid virtue signalling
and adds: Remember that your personal brand on social media is always secondary to your responsibility to the BBC.
The Jam's anti-racism anthem Down in the Tube Station at Midnight was a song released with a message in 1978. It had a powerful message, too strong for the BBC who thought that the track wasn't acceptable to play on the radio and, subsequently,
chose to ban it.
The track was met by hostility, eg when BBC Radio 1 DJ Tony Blackburn complained that it was disgusting the way punks sing about violence: Why can't they sing about trees and flowers?
Blackburn was not alone in the BBC
as a figure who hated everything about the song and the broadcaster decided, at the time, that they had no choice but to ban the track from receiving airplay due to its disturbing nature.
The Jam knew that making Down in the Tube Station at
Midnight as a single would be a bold move, one which would anger some quarters who simply wanted the music to be lovey-dovey and, in truth, not to reflect back at societal issues--a pivotal reason why they released it.
The Jam were three albums in and
had become an unstoppable force of nature so, if the BBC thought that there ban would nullify the message, they were wrong as it became their second UK Top 20 hit, much to the delight of Tony Blackburn no doubt.
The BBC has issued staff new guidance on the use of racist language in the wake of the controversy provoked by the use of a racial slur in a news report.
Use of the strongest racist language, as defined by broadcasting regulator Ofcom, must be
personally approved by the corporation's divisional directors. There must be exceptional editorial reasons to use the strongest racist terms, the updated guidance reads.
The new guidance says the use of racist language must be editorially
justified, and signposted, to ensure it meets audience expectations, wherever it appears.
It says the editorial justification test would now carry a presumption that such language will not normally be used unless a judgement at divisional director
level had ruled otherwise.
The BBC received complaints about a joke on Frankie Boyle's New World Order where a black comedian, Sophie Duker, jokingly supported the idea of 'killing whitey'.
In a segment where the panelists discuss if the movement glosses over the complexities
of a world where we all need to come together and kill whitey, Boyle played a clip of black author James Baldwin talking about black power in an interview on the Dick Cavett Show in the 1970s.
Responding to the clip, Duker said white power is
Trump Tower - a nod to Left-wing allegations that the US President is a racist.
She continued: But when we say we want to kill whitey, we don't really mean we want to kill whitey. Duker then quips to the panelists we do to roars of
The BBC has now responded on its website to the complaints, as always without explaining what the complaints were about. The BBC wrote:
We received complaints from people who felt comments made during
the programme were offensive.
Frankie Boyle's New World Order was shown after 10pm and its content is within audience expectations for a post-watershed, topical, satirical programme from a comedian whose style and tone are well-established.
Every week on the
show Frankie puts forward a number of topics for debate, this episode was no different. The panellists' comments were in response to a motion that was written and presented in line with the programme's tone and style.
is a talented comedian and a regular panellist on Frankie Boyle's New World Order, and we look forward to continue working with her at the BBC.
We've received complaints from some viewers about a same-sex pairing on the programme.
Dancing is an inclusive show and is proud to have featured same sex dancing amongst the professional dancers in group numbers in previous series.
We have stated, in the past, that we are open to the prospect of including same sex
pairings between our celebrities and professional dancers, should the opportunity arise.
Nicola Adams requested an all-female pairing, which we are happy to facilitate. The show is first and foremost about dance, the sex of each
partner within a coupling should have no bearing on their routine.
The BBC has published it consideration of complaints about an anti-government rant by Emily Maitlis on Newsnight. The BBC writes:
Newsnight, BBC Two, 26 May 2020 03 September 2020
A number of viewers complained that the opening section of the programme showed bias against the Government, and/or its Chief Advisor Dominic Cummings and that the programme was inaccurate to state that Mr Cummings had broken the
rules on lockdown. The ECU considered the complaint in the light of the BBC's editorial standards of impartiality and accuracy.
This edition of Newsnight was broadcast at the height of the
controversy over a journey taken by Mr Cummings with his family to Durham, and a subsequent trip to the nearby town of Barnard Castle. It sought to examine in detail the available evidence and assess the political fall-out from the decision by the Prime
Minister to defend his Chief Advisor. The opening remarks, by the presenter Emily Maitlis, set the scene.
At the beginning of the programme:
Tonight, the public can see that Dominic Cummings
broke the rules, so why is the Government tying itself in knots to defend him?
Dominic Cummings broke the rules. The country can see that and it's shocked the Government cannot. The longer ministers and the PM tell us he worked
within them, the more angry the response to the scandal is likely to be. He was the man, you may remember, who always got the public mood who tagged the lazy label of elite on those who disagreed. He should understand that public mood now; one of fury,
contempt and anguish. He made those who struggle to keep to the rules feel like fools and has allowed many more to assume that they can flout them. The Prime Minister knows all this, but despite the resignation of one minister, growing unease from his
backbenchers, and dramatic early warning from the polls and a deep national disquiet, Boris Johnson has chosen to ignore it. Tonight we consider what this blind loyalty tells us about the workings of Number 10. We do not expect to be joined by a
Government minister but that won't stop us asking the questions.
Section 4 of the Editorial Guidelines demand due, rather than absolute impartiality, defined as adequate and appropriate to the output, taking account
of the subject and nature of the content . Presenters may not give their opinion on controversial subjects but are allowed to offer their professional judgements, provided they are rooted in evidence. It is against this guideline that the complaints have
Some complainants have also argued that it was inaccurate to state Mr Cummings had broken the rules. To the extent that Ms Maitlis offered this as a statement of fact it would potentially engage Section 3 of the
guidelines on accuracy. However in the ECU's view, given the question of accuracy is in this case inextricably intertwined with that of impartiality, the latter is the pre-eminent test against which this broadcast must be judged.
In the ECU's view there was clear evidence at the time to support the assertion that many, though not all, voters felt anger at Mr Cummings' behaviour. The story had run prominently in the media for several days, and a petition calling on him to resign had gathered a large number of signatures - reaching one million shortly after the Newsnight broadcast. A number of Conservative MPs had also expressed disquiet, and the unhappy mood on the backbenchers was reflected in a later contribution from the programme's Political Editor Nick Watt. To that extent Emily Maitlis's opening remarks in relation to the public and political mood of the country were rooted in evidence and a legitimate professional, rather than personal, opinion. The ECU also took into account the fact that a programme like Newsnight is designed to provoke debate and discussion. Viewers expect presenters to ask difficult and challenging questions on their behalf and there is more latitude to play devil's advocate under such circumstances than in a conventional news bulletin.
BBC News say that the remarks were intended to explain the questions Newsnight planned to raise about Mr Cummings' trips. In the ECU's view however they went beyond an attempt to set out the programme agenda. The definitive and at
times critical nature of the language -- asserting without qualification that Mr Cummings broke the rules, that the country could see that , and that the Prime Minister was guilty of blind loyalty in refusing to sack him, placed the presenter closer to
one side of the debate over his behaviour. At the time of broadcast a statement from Durham Police had yet to be published and arguments over Mr Cummings' behaviour were largely based on varying interpretation of rules which lacked an agreed arbiter, and
concerned laws yet to be tested in the Courts. In the ECU's view the opening remarks did not sufficiently acknowledge such uncertainties.
BBC News has conceded that the introduction did not meet the required standards on accuracy
or impartiality. In earlier responses it accepted that more should have been done to explain the purpose of the piece, and that the script risked giving the perception that the BBC was taking sides and voicing an opinion on a controversial matter. Whilst
some complainants believe BBC News should have gone further, in the ECU's view this is sufficient to judge the editorial matter resolved. This means that although a breach of standards has been identified, no further action is required.
Some complainants also expressed concern at the managerial response to the breach of standards. However the ECU's remit does not extend to judging whether disciplinary action against individual members of staff is warranted or what it
should consist of, as that is a matter for BBC News and not the complaints process.
Tim Davie officially takes over from previous BBC Director-General Tony Hall today.
Davie thinks comedy broadcast by the BBC is perceived as targeting the Conservative party more often than it does the left. He strangely omits to mention a similar
bias in the BBC's anti-government news shows, notably Emily Maitlis and Newsnight.
The corporation's new director-general is due to outline the issue in his first speech on Thursday. Advance news releases say the BBC will commit to producing
material that is more inclusive of beliefs across the political spectrum.
Davie hopes this will help restore trust and confidence in the public broadcaster as it faces questions over the future of its publicly-funded model.
said no firm decisions have been made on how the BBC will tackle perceptions of left-wing bias, though they did say some shows would be axed, hopefully this includes Newsnight. In addition, comedy panel shows will be expected to include guests with a
broader range of views.
The BBC has
reversed its PC decision not to have Rule, Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory sung at The Last Night of the Proms. References to slaves were the reason for the ban, but the BBC spouted some unlikely bollox about coronavirus and singing.
follows fierce criticism from the prime minister, the British people and much of the press. The original ban had prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to intervene:
I cannot believe... that the BBC is saying that
they will not sing the words of Land of Hope And Glory or Rule Britannia! as they traditionally do at the end of The Last Night of The Proms.
I think it's time we stopped our cringing embarrassment about our history, about our
traditions, and about our culture, and we stopped this general bout of self-recrimination and wetness.
I do think this country is going through an orgy of national embarrassment about some of the things that other people around
the world love most about us. People love our traditions and our history with all its imperfections. It's crazy for us to go around trying to censor it. It's absolutely absurd and I think we should speak out loud and proud for the UK and our history.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
Confident forward-looking nations don't erase their history, they add to it.
Now a select group of singers will now perform the songs after all.
The BBC's change of heart seems related to a change of boss with the incoming Tim Davie promising to be less woke than the outgoing Tony Hall.
John Wilkes Booth's hatred of Lincoln grew as the Confederacy's cause collapsed. On April 11, 1865, he heard Abraham Lincoln address a crowd outside the White House. Lincoln advocated extending the
vote to educated African Americans and all black veterans. Booth turned to his companion Lewis Powell and exclaimed, That means nigger citizenship. That is the last speech he will ever make.
On April 14, 1865, the Lincolns and
their two guests, Clara Harris and Maj. Henry Rathbone, arrived late to Ford's Theatre for a production of Our American Cousin. As the president entered the theater, the crowd wildly cheered and the orchestra played Hail to the Chief. Lincoln set his
silk hat on the floor, and the actors resumed where they had left off.
At about 10:15 p.m., John Wilkes Booth entered the presidential box, pointed a derringer pistol at the back of the president's head and fired. Booth then
pulled out a knife, slashed Rathbone, and jumped onto the stage, declaring Sic semper tyrannis -- Thus always to tyrants, the Virginia state motto. Despite breaking his leg as he hit the stage, Booth escaped backstage and onto a waiting horse.
And this rather important slice of history was factually retold in a BBC history programme, American History's Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley , BBC Two, 1 August 2020:
And of course the BBC received complaints about the factually
important explainer of the motivation behind the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
The BBC reported that it had received 158 complaints and responded:
The BBC posted the following response on its website (without explaining what the complaints were about):
Firstly we understand and we are sorry for any distress caused to any of our audience by language included in the programme.
We recognise it is an offensive term and one that is rarely included in our output. We assess all content we broadcast on a case by case basis taking into consideration a range of factors including the programme and the context.
This film was the second episode of a history series originally shown on BBC FOUR last year and it explored the American Civil War, featuring contributions from a number of African American scholars. This episode included a John Wilkes Booth quote uttered in reaction to President Abraham Lincoln's 1865 speech in which Lincoln declared that people, regardless of colour, should have equal rights to vote. The language used in Wilkes Booth's statement was included to indicate the strength of his views and his attitude towards African Americans -- racist views shared by many at that period in America's history. A continuity announcement at the start of the programme flagged to viewers the nature of the content; this was reinforced by the presenter who alerted the audience before reading from the Wilkes Booth statement.
We have listened to audience concerns and have re-edited the programme on BBC iPlayer. If we were making this programme today we would not have included the word.
The BBC Director-General has issued the
following statement which, whilst primarily about a recent BBC News report, also states that the BBC will be strengthening guidance on offensive language across our output.
The BBC has issued a statement after a news reporter used the word 'nigger' when relaying how the word word used in a racially motivated crime.
Social Affairs correspondent Fiona Lamdin was fronting a segment about a black NHS worker who was hit by a
car in a suspected racially aggravated assault, when she said the word whilst recalling racist language shouted at the victim by the attackers.
Viewers of the BBC report took to Twitter to criticise the reporter's use of the word, with one user
writing : A white reporter just said the N word on BBC News...am I hearing this correctly? Another wrote about how they were absolutely flabbergasted at the news reporter's choice of language, adding: Have they apologised for this disgusting
The BBC is also receiving complaints about the broadcast. Ofcom reported that it had received 280 complaints about the issue.
In a statement about the broadcast, the BBC wrote on its website:
we would never want our reporting to become the focus of such an important story. We have listened to what people have had to say about the use of the word and we accept that this has caused offence but we would like people to understand why we took the
decision we did.
This story was an important piece of journalism about a shocking incident. It was originally reported by some as a hit and run, but investigations indicated that racist language was used at the scene and it was
then treated by the police as a racially aggravated attack.
The victim's family were anxious the incident should be seen and understood by the wider public. It's for this reason they asked us specifically to show the photos of
this man's injuries and were also determined that we should report the racist language, in full, alleged to have been spoken by the occupants of the car.
Notwithstanding the family's wishes, we independently considered whether the
use of the word was editorially justified given the context. The word is used on air rarely, and in this case, as with all cases, the decision to use it in full was made by a team of people including a number of senior editorial figures.
You are, of course, right that the word is highly offensive and we completely accept and understand why people have been upset by its use. The decision to use the word was not taken lightly and without considerable detailed thought:
we were aware that it would cause offence. But, in this specific context we felt the need to explain, and report, not just the injuries but, given their alleged extreme nature, the words alleged to have been used - a position which, as we have said, was
supported by the family and the victim.
These are difficult judgements but the context is very important in this particular case.
We believe we gave adequate warnings that upsetting images and language
would be used and we will continue to pursue this story.
The BBC has received more than 18,600 complaints about the factual use of the word 'nigger' in a TV news report.
Broadcast regulator Ofcom said it received 384 complaints about the same report.
In its fortnightly bulletin, the
BBC said it had received 18,656 complaints about the incident by Sunday 2 August. That makes it the second-most complained about incident since the BBC began using its current system in 2017. Only Newsnight's biased opening monologue about Dominic
Cummings in May received more, with 23,674.
Update: The left eats itself and so the BBC has to offer grovelling apology
BBC director general Tony Hall has
apologised and said a mistake was made after a news report containing a factual use of the word 'nigger' was broadcast last month.
The BBC initially defended the use of the slur after more than 18,600 complaints were made.
Hall said he now
accepts the BBC should have taken a different approach. In an email, sent to all BBC staff, Hall said:
I recognise that we have ended up creating distress amongst many people.
In his message, Hall
emphasised it was the BBC's intention was to highlight an alleged racist attack. He said:
This is important journalism which the BBC should be reporting on and we will continue to do so. Yet despite these good intentions,
I recognise that we have ended up creating distress amongst many people.
The BBC now accepts that we should have taken a different approach at the time of broadcast and we are very sorry for that. We will now be strengthening our
guidance on offensive language across our output.
Every organisation should be able to acknowledge when it has made a mistake. We made one here.
The BBC has defended itself following complaints about airing a teenage same-sex kiss in a CBBC show.
About 100 viewers objected to a scene in which two girls share a kiss following a dance. It was shown in an episode of Canadian kids' TV show The Next Step
which was broadcast in July.
The BBC confirmed online that complaints had been received about the storyline. The BBC explained that the kiss was part of its morality campaign to 'educate' kids in its progressive values. The BBC said:
This is an important part of our mission to make sure that every child feels like they belong, that they are safe, and that they can be who they want to be,
We believe that the storyline, and the kiss, was
handled with sensitivity and without sensationalism, following as it did the portrayal of Jude and Cleo's developing relationship. And I'm afraid we do not agree that it was inappropriate for the audience age.
CBBC regularly portrays heterosexual young people dating, falling in love, and kissing. And it is an important way of showing children what respectful, kind and loving relationships look like.
relationships have already featured in other CBBC shows such as Jamie Johnson, 4 O Clock Club, Dixie and Marrying Mum and Dad, and the first same-sex kiss on CBBC was in fact in Byker Grove, many years ago.
No Country For Young Women BBC Sounds, 30 June 2020 16 July 2020
Summary of complaint
We received some complaints about the content of the podcast, No Country For Young Women, and a
BBC social media post which promoted it.
The comments which prompted a reaction were not part of the podcast, and featured only in a short social media clip, which we've removed. The
podcast episode itself is an in-depth and broad discussion on racism, class, feminism and stereotypes.
No Country For Young Women is a long running podcast series which predominantly explores the experiences of young black and
Asian women in the UK. It features in-depth discussions with a wide variety of guests, who share views on important and complex topics in a way that is relevant to the conversations of many young people.
Some listeners felt that
opposing views should have been included in the same discussion in the interest of balance, but this isn't required as a matter of course. Due impartiality takes into account the context of the series. It allows for a range of input to be heard over a
period of time too, rather than within each and every edition. With No Country For Young Women, each topic is handled through the lens of the hosts, Sadia Azmat & Monty Onanuga, and their guests' experiences and backgrounds. Some of these themes have
had very recent developments and the discussion is sure to evolve -- we may return to similar topics at a later date.
An episode of sitcom Fawlty Towers has been taken off UKTV's streaming service because it contains racial jokes. The BBC-owned platform said it had made The Germans unavailable while it carries out a review.
In the 1975 episode,
Basil Fawlty declares don't mention the war around German guests, while the Major uses the dated term 'wogs' about the West Indies cricket team.
Actor and creator John Cleese attacked the 'cowardly' BBC describing the move as stupid. Speaking to
The Age newspaper, he said the episode was clearly a critique of racist attitudes:
One of the things I've learned in the last 180 years is that people have very different senses of humour. Some of them understand that
if you put nonsense words into the mouth of someone you want to make fun of, you're not broadcasting their views, you're making fun of them.
A UKTV spokesman said:
UKTV has temporarily removed an
episode of Fawlty Towers The Germans from Gold's Box Set. The episode contains racial slurs so we are taking the episode down while we review it. We regularly review older content to ensure it meets audience expectations and are particularly aware of the
impact of outdated language. Some shows carry warnings and others are edited. We want to take time to consider our options for this episode.
The Germans is still available to view on Britbox, which is part-owned by the BBC, with a
message saying it contains some offensive racial language of the time and upsetting scenes. It is also on Netflix, carrying a warning about language, [and] discrimination.
Else where there have been a few similar complaints about jokes on ITV's Ant
& Dec's Saturday Takeaway and the BBC's Gavin and Stacey.
Update: Reinstated. Maybe it was the BBC censorship that caused the most offence.
A classic episode
of the comedy Fawlty Towers will be reinstated to streaming service UKTV but with a warning about offensive content and language. A UKTV statement said:
We already offer guidance to viewers across some of our classic
comedy titles, but we recognise that more contextual information can be required on our archive comedy, so we will be adding extra guidance and warnings to the front of programmes to highlight potentially offensive content and language.
We will reinstate Fawlty Towers once that extra guidance has been added, which we expect will be in the coming days.
We will continue to look at what content is on offer as we always have done.
Offsite Comment: Now even Fawlty Towers is being erased
Netflix , BBC iPlayer and BritBox have removed comedy series Little Britain from their platforms amid PC concerns about its use of blackface.
Netflix pulled the BBC series on Friday. Netflix has also dropped the comedians' airport
mockumentary Come Fly With Me . BBC iPlayer and BritBox have also ditched Little Britain from their platforms this week.
A BBC spokesman told Variety:
There's a lot of historical programming available on
BBC iPlayer which we regularly review. Times have changed since 'Little Britain' first aired, so it is not currently available on BBC iPlayer.
BritBox also confirmed that Little Britain was no longer on the service, adding that Come
Fly With Me had not been available for six months.
Little Britain first aired in 2003, while Come Fly With Me debuted in 2010. Both series saw the comedians play characters from different ethnic backgrounds with the use of make-up. In Come Fly
With Me, Lucas and Walliams wore make up for characters including airport worker Taaj, passenger liaison officer Moses Beacon, and airline boss Omar Baba while Walliams also starred as health-spa guest Desiree Devere in Little Britain.
Newsnight has taken an extraordinarily aggressive stance against the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis. The majority of its reports are aimed at rubbishing government decisions.
Emily Maitlis opened the programme on 26th May:
Dominic Cummings broke the rules, the country can see that, and it's shocked the government cannot.
The longer ministers and prime minister tell us he worked within them, the more angry the response
to this scandal is likely to be.
He was the man, remember, who always got the public mood, he tagged the lazy label of "elite" on those who disagreed.
He should understand that public mood now.
One of fury, contempt, and anguish.
He made those who struggled to keep to the rules feel like fools, and has allowed many more to assume they can now flout them.
The prime minister knows all this, but
despite the resignation of one minister, growing unease from his backbenchers, a dramatic early warning from the polls, and a deep national disquiet, Boris Johnson has chosen to ignore it.
Tonight, we consider what this blind
loyalty tells us about the workings of Number 10. We do not expect to be joined by a government minister, but that won't stop us asking the question.'
This kicked off a lively debate resulting an official response from the BBC:
Summary of complaint
We received complaints about the introduction to the programme.
The BBC must uphold the highest standards of due impartiality in its
news output. We've reviewed the entirety of last night's Newsnight, including the opening section, and while we believe the programme contained fair, reasonable and rigorous journalism, we feel that we should have done more to make clear the introduction
was a summary of the questions we would examine, with all the accompanying evidence, in the rest of the programme. As it was, we believe the introduction we broadcast did not meet our standards of due impartiality. Our staff have been reminded of the
Ofcom has revealed that Emily Maitlis'
Newsnight monologue about Dominic Cummings and the blind loyalty of his boss Boris Johnson has sparked 247 complaints. Ofcom has noted that the BBC will consider the complaints in the first instance and that Ofcom may investigate thereafter.
is claimed to have had ten times as many complaints from viewers than the UK's broadcasting regulator but is refusing to release any figures for up to a fortnight. The Guido Fawkes blog has claimed the corporation has received 18,158 complaints in 24
hours and the figure is still going up, although that number could also include complaints sent in by Ms Maitlis' supporters who have rushed to slam the bosses who censured her.
Offsite Comment: It was Emily Maitlis who broke the rules
We received complaints about the dance routine of The Pussycat Dolls.
The Pussycat Dolls are well known for their dance routines and outfits and we announced at the start of the show that they would be appearing. Their performance then came towards the end of the programme, just before 8pm
As with all performers, we worked with the band to ensure their performance was suitable for the programme. We felt it was appropriate for the time slot and wouldn't fall outside the expectations of most viewers. However, we
appreciate that some viewers didn't agree.
The programme also included a film which looked at cosmetic procedures which are being purchased by children, without the need for parental consent or appropriate checks. We believe this
film highlighted an important issue. We have noted that some viewers felt that these two items shouldn't have been included in the same programme.
We have received complaints from viewers who felt that a member of the audience was allowed to make unchallenged racist
comments, and that a clip should not have been posted to the programme's Twitter page.
Question Time is a topical discussion programme where the audience place a key role in the debate.
We always seek out a range of opinions and views on every topic and it is therefore inevitable that from time to time there will be comments made that you may disagree with. This edition of the programme included a debate about immigration which featured
a broad range of views from the audience members and panellists.
After the audience member in question finished speaking, Fiona offered the panel the opportunity to respond to the points raised. Ash Sarkar strongly refuted the
audience member's claims before the debate continued and we heard from other members of the panel and our audience on this issue. We recognise that some of our viewers would have preferred that Fiona interrupted this particular audience member more
quickly but we are satisfied that in the generality of the debate we ensured that different perspectives and viewpoints were heard. As a programme we are a forum for discussion and therefore never take a view on the comments made by our panellists or
audience members. We do want to assure you, however, that all content that we publish adheres to the BBC's editorial and legal guidelines.
In regards to the Tweet, Question Time posted five clips of people expressing their
different views on the issue, which included the contributions of two panel members and two other audience contributions. We note that some of these posts have also been widely discussed and shared in keeping with our core obligation around ensuring that
our audiences on social and digital as well as television and radio get a balanced summary of the debate in question.
There seems to be a bit of a backlash building against the general PC denigration of British people and their culture. In particular the BBC is being seen as a major institution that has taken to belittling Britishness.
A good example has been
provided by a Horrible Histories Brexit special. The programme itself is a musical comedy aimed at kids, but its core purpose seems to be teach kids that British history is horrible and that the nation has contributed nothing of note to mankind.
BBC ran a short skit on Brexit day that depicts Queen Victoria of not realising that her British tea is not actually British, but is imported from India. The clip was presented by comedian Nish Kumar who introduced the video with a reference to Britain's
The clip has been viewed three million times on Twitter, largely as a result of the controversy it attracted.
Andrew Neil, of the BBC, was a notable voice attacking the clip on Twitter. He commented:
This is anti-British drivel of a high order. Was any of the licence fee used to produce something purely designed to demean us?
It was reported that TV censor Ofcom has received 300 complaints about the issue.
Update: The BBC says that the Anti-British skit was not meant to be anti-British
This 9 minute long special, available on iPlayer, was a montage of old clips taken from previous series. Some viewers may only have seen the CBBC tweet which linked to the full episode, but only included the final clip from the programme -- a song about
British Things which was first broadcast on CBBC in June 2009.
The programme was intended as a light-hearted and fun acknowledgement of a momentous day in Britain's modern history, i.e. leaving the European Union and included
sketches about the Norman Invasion, the German origins of the Royal Family, and 15th century Italian fashion. Regular viewers of the programme -- now into its eighth series -- will be familiar with the tone of these comic sketches. None of them were
meant to be anti-British or anti-European.
The song British Things, from 2009 , was intended to reflect that we are a nation, like many others, that enjoys a patchwork of traditions and culture from other countries as well as our
own. The song accurately reflects the fact that many goods common in Britain during the Victorian era were harvested or produced by slaves in other countries. The contribution Britain made to ending the slave trade prior to this period has been featured
in other Horrible Histories episodes.
In numerous sketches over many years Horrible Histories has extolled great British achievements, British ingenuity, inventions in science and agriculture, the genius of our writers and
artists, culture and great British achievements. Indeed, the most recent series included a whole episode highlighting Queen Victoria's role in supporting the pioneers of early film technology. Other specials have celebrated the 800-year anniversary of
Magna Carta, and the work of William Shakespeare.
The introduction to the full programme states that ....the UK is leaving the European Union and at the end that Britain in the European Union is now history. We feel it is clear to
viewers that the reference to leaving Europe means the European Union.
In an episode of the comedy programme Heresy , broadcast on BBC Radio 4, the comedian Jo Brand made comments about milkshakes being thrown at politicians, suggesting battery acid could be used instead.
The BBC assessed
complaints it received under the BBC First process that the comments were highly offensive and likely to incite violence. The BBC upheld the complaints about offence, but not those about incitement.
Ofcom then received six
complaints which had completed the BBC First process. We carefully assessed these complaints against the Broadcasting Code, taking into account the broadcasterís and the audienceís rights to freedom of expression without undue interference.
We concluded that Ms Brandís comments had clear potential to offend listeners. However, we considered a range of contextual factors, including the likely audience expectations of this well-known comedian, and long-running comedy
programme, which aims to challenge generally accepted ideas through satire. We also took into account that Ms Brand immediately qualified her comments, making it clear they should not be taken seriously or acted on. For these and other reasons set out
below, we have concluded that the complaints do not warrant further investigation by Ofcom.
Gavin and Stacey will be performing their own rendition of the Pogues' Fairytale of New York in the Christmas Special.
In the anticipated upcoming episode, a singalong down the Dolphin with the gang will see the fan favourites sing along to the
controversial Christmas anthem, including its use of the word 'faggot' instead of working around it.
Peter Tatchell, LGBT rights campaigner is urging the BBC to reconsider and edit the word out.Hhe told The Times:
would send completely the wrong signal. It will give comfort to homophobes everywhere. The BBC would not screen a Christmas song with the n-word in it. It would be deemed deeply prejudiced and unacceptable. So why the double standards when it comes to
A BBC spokesperson responded:
Fairytale of New York is a very popular, much loved Christmas song played widely throughout the festive season, and the lyrics are well established with the
The BBC has reportedly received 866
complaints for the use of a homophobic slur in the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special. The one-off episode was watched by 11.6million viewers when it aired, but some were upset when 'fagott' was not omitted from Nessa and Bryn's rendition of Fairytale
on New York .
The BBC has now published an official response:
Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special, BBC One, 25th December 2019
We were contacted by viewers who were unhappy that a certain lyric from the song Fairytale of New York was sung during the programme.
Fairytale of New York is a well-established,
much-loved Christmas song which tells the story of a troubled couple in 1940s New York. The descent of their relationship is reflected in the increasingly abusive and offensive terms they use to address each other; insults which are intended to reflect
the language that such characters might have used in that era. The origin of the word includes a definition which describes it as a contemptuous and antiquated word for laziness, and the author of the song has cited this inference behind his inclusion of
While the word faggot is now widely acknowledged as having the potential to offend, the song never suggests or implies that this is, or was ever, an appropriate way to address another person, nor does it link it to
Nessa and Bryn were seen singing the original lines and we can assure you there was no intention to offend viewers. We understand that some people will find it offensive in any context but we also recognise that the
song is widely played and enjoyed in its original form. Ofcom have previously stated that they feel it is unlikely that audiences would widely perceive [the song] as a serious attempt to denigrate the homosexual community.
Have I Got News For You, BBC One, 20 December 2019
Presenter Charlie Brooker joked about allegations of anti-Semitism:
According to many commentators the Labour Party is on a state of denial...but at
least it's not about the Holocaust
The BBC responded to complaints:
We've received complaints from people who were offended by Charlie Brooker's joke which referenced the Holocaust.
HIGNFY looks at the biggest news stories each week and in this episode that included the General Election. Charlie Brooker's comment was a reference to the allegations of anti-Semitism which have plagued the Labour party since
2016. It was in no way directed at victims of the Holocaust or their families, however, we have noted that some people felt it was inappropriate.
We received complaints from viewers who had concerns about some of the content featured in the Phil Mitchell/Jack Branning storyline.
We're aware that any scenes of violence and unpleasantness can sometimes be upsetting for some of our audience but occasionally it's necessary to the narrative. EastEnders has a long established relationship with its audience who have
come to expect big dramatic moments such as these. Our regular viewers will know that Phil and Jack share a very turbulent history and that the scenes in question were part of an ongoing storyline where Phil learned that he was not the father of wife
Sharon's baby, and wrongly believed that Jack was.
We are always extremely mindful of the content within an episode and the time slot in which it is shown. All of our content must be editorially justified and we're always careful
to film and edit scenes in such a way that they do not exceed reasonable expectations for the programme.
It's also important to note that EastEnders is a fictional drama but, like society, it's made up of many different character
types. We feel the scenes in question are crucial aspects of the overall storyline and Phil's intent on seeking revenge whatever the cost over this betrayal, and that they were not included gratuitously.
The content and placing of
EastEnders has been carefully considered at a senior level, and although we know that children do watch, it isn't aimed at them. We believe that the general tone and content of EastEnders is now widely recognised, and that parents can make an informed
decision as to whether they want their children to watch it.