Wogan crossed line with joke about Costa Concordia

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The Independent Online

Sir Terry Wogan's Radio 2 show breached broadcasting guidelines after the veteran presenter appeared to make light of the Costa Concordia tragedy nine days after the cruise ship ran aground in January, the BBC Trust said yesterday.

Listeners complained of "inappropriate and offensive" comments after the track "Rock The Boat" opened Weekend Wogan. Musing on whether this had been an appropriate song, Sir Terry joked about the ship's captain and wanting to be the first in the lifeboat if the BBC went down.

He chuckled: "Given the boating tragedy in Italy, I mightn't have picked that as an opening song" before telling his news reader: "I don't know about you but I'll be the last to leave the BBC." He later added: "Not sinking is it? Me first, never mind the women and children, I'm not even Italian." The BBC Trust said their guidelines had been breached as "there was a real risk of causing offence" but there will be no further sanction as the BBC had admitted their errors and apologised privately to listeners.