Jack Dee hasn’t a Clue why BBC dislikes ‘Samantha’ jokes

 

Comedian Jack Dee has allegedly threatened to quit as chairman of long-running Radio 4 panel show I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, after the BBC told him to tone down his notoriously smutty jokes about the fictional Samantha.

The revelation came in an interview with regular panellist Tim Brooke-Taylor, who accused the “pathetic” BBC of having a sense of humour failure over the gags.

A row reportedly broke out after a listener complained that the outrageous jokes made at the expense of Samantha, a silent fictional character who has served as a scorer and a record researcher – were demeaning to women.

Brooke-Taylor, 73, said: “We’ve had terrible trouble with the BBC about the show. Someone complained about Samantha – that it was being rude to women – and told us we had to be careful about this and to not do that.

“The writer who does Jack Dee’s links said, ‘Well, in that case, I’m leaving’, and Jack said, ‘Well, I’m leaving, too’. It’s just so pathetic, as so many things are double entendre that kids don’t realise what we’re on about,” he told Cotswold Life magazine.

The character of Samantha was introduced in 1985 by the panel show’s original chairman Humphrey Lyttelton. Taking the helm in 2009 after Lyttelton’s death, Dee, 52, continued the tradition.

The audience are told that Samantha’s job is made all the easier as no points are given during the show. She instead serves as a target for double entendres and innuendos about her sexual exploits.

First broadcast in 1972, the programme regularly attracts 2.5 million listeners. Introduced as ‘the antidote to panel games’ it features two teams of comedians, including Graeme Garden and Barry Cryer, who are given “silly things to do”.

However, Jack Dee’s agent has denied Brooke-Taylor’s version of events, saying: “There had been a discussion about some of the show’s more risqué content following a particular complaint but this certainly didn’t result in Jack threatening to resign. The discussion was completely amicable and the Clue team felt supported by the BBC as a result.”

The BBC confirmed it has received four complaints about Samantha since 2013. A spokesman said: “We have regular discussions with production teams and contributors of all long-running Radio 4 programmes on how we can best keep the much-loved shows clever, relevant and fresh to listeners.”

A new series of the show will begin on 30 June.

Wax on, wax off: the gags they want to gag

“Samantha has to nip out to spend time with her new gentleman friend. They’re off on a driving tour of Wales. She says he’s looking forward to showing her Cardiff and Cardigan Bay, before going on to Bangor in the back of his van.”

“Samantha spent many hours with the BBC gramophone library research staff for this round, deliberating over the fine old seven-inchers they presented for inspection. She says she had to think about each one long and hard.”

“Samantha and her new gentleman friend have been restoring an old chest of drawers. Samantha is in charge of polishing, while he scrapes the varnish and wax off next to her.”

...and former presenter Humphrey Lyttelton’s final joke on the show, recorded shortly before his death in April 2008:

“Samantha’s been detained in the city’s Latin Quarter. An Italian gentleman friend has promised to take her out for an ice cream, and she likes nothing better than to spend an evening licking the nuts off a large Neapolitan.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Advertisement Sales Manager

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A publishing company based in F...

Guru Careers: Product Design Engineer / UX Designer

£20 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a tech savvy Product Design Engineer /...

Guru Careers: German Speaking Account Manager

£24-30K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: German speaking Account Manager / ...

Guru Careers: System Administrator / Sys Admin

£23 - 30K (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a System Ad...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor