Red faces: Not everyone sees the funny side of 'lewd' Comic Relief

It has raised over £800m in all, but this year's pre-watershed language wasn't funny, say furious viewers

Jemma Crew
Sunday 17 March 2013 01:00
2013's red nose - Comic Relief has raised £75m so far
2013's red nose - Comic Relief has raised £75m so far

More than 12 million Brits tuned in to watch the likes of Lenny Henry, Simon Cowell, Jessie J, Peter Kay, and boy band One Direction mark Comic Relief's 25th-anniversary telethon on Friday. But not all of them saw the funny side.

The BBC is thought to have received scores of complaints from people offended by lewd language before the 9pm watershed. Rowan Atkinson talked about "shagging", a "vajazzle" was referenced in the Call the Midwife sketch, while Peter Kay sat on his "arse" for charity.

Viewers turned to Facebook and Twitter to vent; a disapproving thread was posted on Mumsnet; others went straight to the BBC to complain.

Trisha Telfer, from Edinburgh, was watching with her younger brother, seven, and his friend. When the s-word was broadcast, she decided to make a complaint: "The little girl asked me, "what's shagging?" – I shouldn't have to explain this to a seven-year-old."

Lindsay Bruce, from Middlesbrough, was watching the show with her two children – Micah, five, and Corban, one. She said: "It saddened me that I had to switch off."

Despite the chorus of disapproval, the charity raised £75m (a record for the night, with an estimated £25m more to come), taking its 25-year total to over £800m. Fiona Mactaggart MP made a personal donation of £14,268, after promising her Twitter followers she would donate £1 for every retweet. She said her budget had been £10,000. "It was pretty scary," she added. "But I can afford it."

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