Mash Report host Nish Kumar responds to news BBC is axing show over perceived ‘left-wing bias’

Series was cancelled to ‘make room for new comedy shows’

Annabel Nugent
Friday 12 March 2021 11:05 GMT
The Mash Report sees Rachel Parris teach men what sexual harassment is on BBC

Nish Kumar has reacted to the news that his show The Mash Report is being cancelled by the BBC.

It was confirmed today that The Mash Report would not return for a fifth series with a spokesperson for the BBC stating that the “difficult” decision was made in order to “make room for new comedy shows”.

The Mash Report, on which Rachel Parris also heavily featured, has became the subject of controversy concerning criticism that BBC’s comedy output is perceived as having a left-wing bias.

Responding to the news on Twitter, Kumar wrote: “A lot of people are asking me for a comment and here it is” – accompanied with an image of himself on the show pointing to a screen that reads: “Boris Johnson is a liar and a racist.”

Parris is yet to comment publicly on the announcement.

Nish Kumar on ‘The Mash Report’ in 2018
Nish Kumar on ‘The Mash Report’ in 2018 (BBC)

Many people on social media have expressed their disappointment at the news on Twitter. Radio presenter James O’Brien wrote that the move is a “stone cold example of what ‘cancel culture’ looks like”.

He wrote: “The Mash Report, a comedy program critical of the government has been axed by the state broadcaster, reportedly for political reasons, and at the behest of a director general appointed by the government.”

Others, however, have welcomed the decision, with some users stating that the programme “just wasn’t that funny”.

The comedy news show, which aired its first episode on BBC Two in 2017, covered a range of political topics, including Brexit.

Former BBC presenter Andrew Neil has previously condemned The Mash Report as “self-satisfied, self-adulatory, unchallenged left-wing propaganda”. 

Tim Davie, who became the BBC’s director general last year, had pledged in September to enforce a “radical shift” at the broadcaster to better represent the UK.

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Reports also emerged that the newly appointed director general – who took over from Lord Tony Hall – was set to tackle “perceived left-wing comedy bias”.

The Telegraph reported that Davie believed the corporation’s comedy output was seen as too one-sided. Senior sources told the publication that he planned for a “radical overhaul” for the sector.

Davie, however, later dismissed the reports as “nonsense” and “ridiculous” speculation, claiming that he had “no idea where that came from”.

READ MORE: Relax, the BBC has a long history of right-wing comedy. I should know, I’ve been on the receiving end of it

“Reading some of the commentary is ridiculous,” he said in an interview obtained by Chortle. “Comedy has always been poking at authority. And by the way, I want good satire on the BBC. I like being adventurous.”

The director general went on to speak about the importance of impartiality for the network, which has been dogged by complaints of bias from viewers.

He said: “What I do think though, is the same as my framework for overall impartiality. The BBC should not come from a platform from when there’s an assumed point of view. It’s not just about left and right, it’s different people.”

‘I would like a multitude of flavours in our comedy. It’s not about stopping one [side]… that’s just nonsense.”

BBC director general Tim Davie dismissed reports of a ‘radical overhaul’ as ‘nonsense’
BBC director general Tim Davie dismissed reports of a ‘radical overhaul’ as ‘nonsense’ (AFP via Getty Images)

Some viewers have taken the cancellation of The Mash Project as a sign that BBC may be taking action against its “perceived left-wing bias”.

In December 2019, Kumar made headlines after he was jeered at and hit by a flying piece of bread after making a Brexit joke at a charity gig in London.

The comedian was performing at the Lord’s Taverners annual cricket lunch in December where he was escorted off stage amid boos.

At the time, Kumar joked on Twitter: “In my defence, it was only one bread roll and it missed me.”

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