Morris goes from the ridiculous to the subliminal

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The Independent Online
Chris Morris, creator of Channel 4's satire Brass Eye, took another swipe at the media's concepts of truth and reality this week - this time by setting himself up.

It was almost certainly Morris (right) who leaked to the press the story of an obscene subliminal message about Channel 4 chief executive Michael Grade, contained in the last episode of the series .

The message, "Grade is a c***," was virtually undetectable without sophisticated equipment, and such is the uncertainty that the notorious hoaxer causes at Channel 4 that at first there was even some doubt whether the message had actually been broadcast.

The story of the subliminal message originally surfaced at the beginning of the week in an anonymous fax to a Time Out journalist who Morris - famous for never giving on-the-record interviews - had used as a conduit in the past. At the same time, Channel 4's Internet site received an E- mail telling the channel to look for the obscene message. The story was then picked up by the Sun.

"It has been like this since day one," said the harassed Channel 4 press officer who had to deal with the show. "He weaves reality like a spell and turns everything into ironic media language. The series has finished now but he won't go away, he seems to lurk in the air."

Morris himself doesn't help, refusing to deny or confirm if he was responsible for the message, saying only "I deal in lies." The rationale for the message is supposed to be Morris' ire at Channel 4 pulling a sketch about Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe from the final episode. Paul McCann