Watch out for the BBC's next offensive

Share
Related Topics
Unlikely as it seems, I have been praying for the BBC. I have been praying that the BBC will come to its senses and not put out offensive material to poison our minds. And now it seems, after a period of despair, that my prayers have finally been answered. First of all, there was the glad tidings that Radio 4 had decided not to broadcast a new "comedy" programme called Eamonn, Elder Brother of Jesus, for fear that it might offend people. The controller of Radio 4, Mr James Boyle, did not say whom it might offend, but I think I can suggest who. Everyone! Elder brothers, Christians, Irish people, relations of Jesus, people called Eamonn, the Christian Brothers - almost everyone. James Boyle said his decision had nothing to do with his being a Catholic, but it was plain that Catholics would also be offended by the suggestion that Jesus had an Irish brother, so I think we can take it that James was telling a little white lie there. And if he wasn't, then he should have been.

Then, as if that wasn't enough of an answer to my prayer, comes the wonderful news that the BBC has decided to drop a comedy TV programme written by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman called Gobble, which depicts a Britain in the grip of a fictitious "mad turkey disease". The programme has already been made. It was due to go out. But the BBC has apparently withdrawn it for fear of causing distress to people in Scotland who have recently been suffering from the series of deaths from the E coli bug. (And, they might well have added, for fear of offending people who run turkey farms for a livelihood, people who are vegetarians, and people who have turkeys in the family, or indeed people who have Douglas Hogg in the family.) Excellent! At last the BBC has begun to see the light. At last a bit of sensitivity and good taste at BBC HQ. But there is a long way to go yet. In order to spare people's feelings, may I submit this list of offensive programmes which figure prominently in my nightly prayers and which should be dropped forthwith?

1. Grand Prix racing. Deeply distressing to anyone who has ever been involved in a road accident. For Damon Hill to be voted BBC sports personality of the year is adding insult to salt in the wound.

2. One Foot In The Grave. Very offensive to anyone who is likely to die soon, or is just thinking of dying, or who has actually recently died.

3. Absolutely Fabulous. Causes immense pain to anyone with a drinking problem, to anyone with a mother or daughter, or anyone who takes fashion seriously, if anyone still does. I gather, by the way, that this programme will not be returning to our screens. This will be excellent news for any empty-headed woman viewer who habitually tries to smoke, drink, talk and walk on high-heeled shoes simultaneously, as Joanna Lumley's character did so often, and who must have been humiliated beyond belief by the portrayal, if she could focus on it.

4. Woman's Hour. Absolutely mortifying for any man who habitually feels excluded.

5. The News. Deeply scarring for anyone who is a refugee, a war victim, a Palestinian, a politician, a member of the Royal Family, a Lanarkshire butcher, a farmer, a policeman, an Irish terrorist, a Catholic and so on. All these people? A policeman, for instance? Certainly. How often do we hear on the news statements such as: "Police have still made no progress in finding the killer of 18-year-old so-and-so"? How do you think the police feel when their failure is blazoned across the news? Humiliated. Suicidal. Every bit as bad as an E coli bacteria sufferer faced with a programme about "mad turkey disease", that's how bad. In fact, a lot, lot worse.

6. Derek Cooper's The Food Programme on Radio 4, which must cause perpetual pain to all those of us who cook badly, buy mass-produced foods and stick to a rotten diet. Especially in Scotland, which we all know has the worst eating habits in Britain, and where, if The Food Programme is to be believed, Scots are likely to die an earlier, fat-saturated death even if they don't go to an E coli-linked grave. What must it be like to live in Scotland and hear what The Food Programme has to say about your diet?

The list is endless.

I only pray that the BBC will continue to come to its senses and not risk offending anyone.

Do we want a BBC that takes risks? I think not.

Luckily, the way things are going, we are in no danger of having one.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The economy expanded by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014  

British economy: Government hails the latest GDP figures, but there is still room for skepticism over this 'glorious recovery'

Ben Chu
Comedy queen: Miranda Hart has said that she is excited about working on the new film  

There is no such thing as a middle-class laugh

David Lister
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears