Benefits Street: One Show viewers complain after Paul O'Grady calls cast 'sacrificial lambs'
Viewers complained the comedian's strong opinions were not challenged
Viewers of The One Show have complained to the BBC that Paul O'Grady’s strong opinions on benefit reform were "not adequately challenged" when he appeared on the programme.
The Lily Savage comedian, 58, railed against controversial Channel 4 documentary Benefits Street earlier this week, arguing the programme fuelled a myth that people on benefits are 'state scroungers'.
“It’s one of those programmes to get middle England ‘up in arms’," O'Grady told presenters Matt Baker and Alex Jones.
"These people are the sacrificial lambs on the altar of light entertainment and they have gone willingly: a smart tongue has got them to say all sorts and it is a very unfair representation of unemployment in this country.
"A lot of people do not choose to be on benefits and this is portraying everyone on benefits as doing it because they want to, not because they have to - it's shocking.”
An open Labour supporter, O'Grady was then asked how he would reduce the benefits bill. Resident Fungi and his dog in Channel 4's 'Benefits Street'
“Create more jobs for a start and raise the basic wage - it's appalling," he said. "You’ll get people saying ‘Why should I come off benefits and go and do that job, lose an extra £30 a week and work myself to death 11 hours a day?’ so raise the basic wage. Iain Duncan Smith was born with a silver spoon in his mouth (...) this government really annoy me.”
Viewers in Merseyside were asked to share their opinions about benefits in vox-pops to the camera before O'Grady spoke on the show.
The BBC argued that a "variety of opinions were heard from all sides of the debate" on the episode of The One Show.
"We have received complaints about Paul O'Grady's appearance on The One Show on 14 January. Some viewers felt that his views on benefit reform were not adequately challenged," a statement read.
"Paul was clearly identified as a Labour supporter and he was challenged on how he would reduce the benefits bill," it continued. "Paul’s views were forthright, and on reflection more could have been done to put them into context, but it is important to note that balance can be achieved across a number of programmes.
“This is a subject that The One Show has covered before and hopes to revisit again in the future.”
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Autistic adults could take pure MDMA to 'reduce social anxiety'
- 2 Before you complain about your GP, this is what you need to know about actually doing the job
- 3 Father of 12 accused of raping, beating, starving and abusing his own children in US 'cult'
- 4 Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: not a Mexican demon being summoned — it's gravity
Stolen Instagram photo sells for $90,000
Suicide Squad: Leaked footage shows first look at Batmobile chasing Joker through city streets
Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
ASAP Rocky gives nauseating response to explicit Rita Ora rap: 'I'm not saying she's a terrible person'
ASAP Rocky sparks outrage with misogynistic lyrics about Rita Ora in new song 'Better Things'
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'