Have I Got News For You: BBC dismisses complaints about Ian Hislop ‘absolutely lacerating’ Dominic Cummings

‘No one is exempt from satire,’ said the corporation in a statement

Ellie Harrison
Wednesday 03 June 2020 19:51 BST
Ian Hislop on Dominic Cummings: He gave an hour an half of utter twaddle

The BBC has dismissed complaints from viewers about a recent episode of Have I Got News For You, in which Ian Hislop strongly criticised Dominic Cummings.

The latest instalment of the comedy quiz show included a monologue from Hislop about Boris Johnson’s chief advisor and his rather loose interpretation of lockdown rules.

Hislop called Cummings’s press conference about the issue “utter twoddle” and “absolute nonsense”, adding: “I cannot understand why he hasn’t resigned.”

While many took to Twitter to praise Hislop for “absolutely lacerating” Cummings, the BBC also received complaints from viewers who felt that the programme was biased against him.

In response to complainants, the BBC released a statement arguing the story did not receive “disproportionate” coverage on the programme and that “no one in the public eye is exempt” from satire.

“HIGNFY has always covered the biggest news stories of the week and allegations that Dominic Cummings had broken lockdown guidelines had dominated headlines across many news outlets,” reads the statement.

“This was a fast moving story, with many layers. The BBC has a long tradition of satire and it isn’t unusual for public figures to have their actions scrutinised. No-one in the public eye is exempt.

“We don’t consider that this story received disproportionate coverage on the programme. It was certainly one of the biggest news stories of the week, and it was appropriate for it to be the focus of this episode as it reflected what much of the nation had been discussion and debating. The jokes and asides were intended to be funny and not expressions of fact.”

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