Rowan Atkinson's brother slams 'adolescent' comic relief sketch


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The Independent Culture

Rowan Atkinson’s Archbishop of Canterbury sketch for Comic Relief has received another complaint-this time from his own brother.

Rowan’s older brother Rodney Atkinson, an economic and political commentator, called the parody “pure adolescent” and “pathetic”.

Rodney, who ran as a Ukip MEP in 1999, told The Telegraph: “I was appalled by Rowan’s sketch portraying the Archbishop of Canterbury demanding ‘wonga’ from the masses glued to Red Nose Day."

“The language was pure adolescent Richard Curtis/ Ben Elton at their worst- language which Rowan, in his youth, was not too keen on, and which his family always found rather pathetic."

He continued: “I thought at first it was a comment on the grasping nature of a Church, with many palaces taking from the poor- but, no, it was a bunch of wealthy comedians doing it.”

Rowan Atkinson’s sketch received over 2,200 complaints to the BBC, and 438 to broadcasting regulator Ofcom.

In the pre-watershed broadcast, Rowan Atkinson dressed up as Justin Welby said that prayer “doesn’t work” and talked about “shagging your neighbour”.

“Jesus said love your neighbour and let’s be perfectly clear, because there’s a lot of misunderstanding about it, it doesn’t mean shag your neighbour. He hates that, he absolutely hates that,” he said to camera.

Rodney Atkinson, who is Rowan’s older brother of 6 years, told the Daily Mail: “The performance could be seen as insulting to Christians as a whole… I was appalled by it.

On his official website Rodney describes himself as an “author, political economist, occasional ministerial adviser, parliamentary candidate and businessman”. In a speech given in parliament in 2008 he claimed that the EU was founded by “former” Nazis and fascists.

Rodney said he has not spoken to his brother Rowan about the sketch.