Friday, 31 October 2008

Ross and Brand debate continues if the Daily Mail has their way

First published at

You’d be forgiven for thinking that "Satanic Slut-Gate" (coined that myself, hopefully before the Sun had chance to) was all but forgotten.

A brilliant, alternative comedian, Russell Brand has given up his show. Jonathan Ross has been suspended without pay for three months without pay. And Lesley Douglas, the BBC Radio 2 Controller credited with saving the station with her edgy ideas and devotion to the BBC and music, has stepped down.

That’s a whole lot of fall out. And you might think the neo-Mary Whitehouses would be happy with that. A radio show they don’t listen to, taken away from 2million people who do, along with a new understanding that an apology is no longer enough.

But apparently someone is baying for blood. The Daily Mail has turned its attentions to Mock the Week, and any other comedy aired by the BBC in a story entitled:

The BBC fills our living rooms with more smutty and degrading obscenities

…anyone feel a moral panic coming on?

Other offenders listed by the Mail included Chris Moyles, Graham Norton, David Mitchell and Webb. Where is this all going to end? You can’t sack all of them!

The very words smutty, degrading and obscenity are fluid. To whose standards? Who decides? Who is degraded (surely someone involved in the process, and therefore someone who has given their consent)?

One joke the Mail took offence to was by Hugh Dennis as he wiped his lips and said: ‘Yum yum, I’ve just eaten a swan’ after being asked to perform ‘things that you would not hear the Queen say in her Christmas message’.

To claim offence at joke- a work of fiction- is one thing, but a horse becomes much less high when you find a report in the Daily Mail- a presumed work of fact, and truth, in a publication with a responsibility to its audience- that claimed that the Luton Angling Club felt moved to produce a sign which communicated the message, “The swans are not for eating” in pictographic form to stop Eastern European immigrants from eating the swans.

There is no evidence that an eastern European has ever eaten a British swan, or indeed that these signs were ever posted anywhere.

Whether this article was maliciously aimed at immigrants or not, the facts should have been checked first, and it wasn’t going to do much for race relations if the right (right-wing) people had gotten their hands on it.

The Mock the Week shown last night, to which the Daily Mail was so shocked about that it had to give it it’s very own scornful article was actually a re-run.

So easily such a programme slips past the first time, when the hawk-eyed yet easy-to-blush licence payers amongst us aren’t staying up past their bedtimes looking for other things they don’t understand, wouldn’t usually watch, but definitely are not happy with.

Mock the Week, judging by its popularity, is liked by at least some bill payers- yes, those smut-loving, but equally tax-paying- and up to now silent bill payers.

Who, if they aren’t careful are going to be paying for a channel with a weekly line-up of Points of View, Songs of Praise and the Antiques Road Show on a loop. With repeats of Last of the Summer Wine and Birds of a Feather- just like in the old days!

This is utter lunacy! Fortunately many Daily Mail readers agreed with these sentiments in the comments at the bottom of the articles.

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