Watch out for the BBC's next offensive

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 But the BBC has apparently withdrawn it for fear of causing distress to people in Scotland who have recently been suffering from the series of deaths from the E coli bug.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

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Nigel Farage has urged supporters to buy Mike Read's Ukip Calypso song and push it up to the No 1 spot  

Mike Read’s Ukip calypso is mesmerisingly atrocious — but it's not racist

Matthew Norman
Shirley Shackleton, wife of late journalist Gregory Shackleton, sits next to the grave of the 'Balibo Five' in Jakarta, in 2010  

Letter from Asia: The battle for the truth behind five journalists’ deaths in Indonesia

Andrew Buncombe
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London