Anglican Samizdat

February 3, 2009

How to shock the BBC

Filed under: The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 7:33 pm

The “f” word was first used live on BBC television on November 13th 1965 by Kenneth Tynan, l’enfant terrible, sadomasochist, alcoholic and misogynist who made a living writing bad play reviews and saying jolting things in the 60s. After his débuting of the forbidden word, there was shocked outrage throughout Britain – except, of course, at the BBC who heralded it as a breakthrough in free expression.

At the fateful moment, the cameraman tactfully panned to the table and zoomed in on Tynan’s drink, attempting to imply that it was the whiskey talking. In spite of this valiant effort, the BBC was compelled to issue a public apology; they didn’t mean it.

Even though it seemed likely that no word in the English language could cause any amount of consternation at the BBC now – the “f” word is de rigueur in every drama and no-one cares – Carol Thatcher has found a way to shock even the BBC:Add an Image

Carol Thatcher banned from BBC’s The One Show for ‘golliwog’ comment.

A BBC source said: “There were a number of complaints from people in the room about this particular remark, it did cause offence. A number of people were quite taken aback by the language.”

Thatcher, a journalist and writer, made a name for herself by winning the ITV reality programme I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! in 2005.

Her spokesman told The Times that her client never intended to cause any offence and it was “meant as a joke”.

“She made a light aside about this tennis player and his similarity to the golliwog on the jampot when she was growing up,” he said.

I had a golliwog doll when I was growing up: I was quite fond of it. Golliwogs were, until 1983, emblazoned on Robertson’s jam jars. I can’t help wondering whether the fact that the perpetrator of the “g” word was Margaret Thatcher’s daughter had anything to do with the the howls of outrage.

One thing I do know: if I am ever interviewed by the BBC, I am going to say “golliwog”.


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