Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Compare the comedies

I actually remember tuning into BBC’s comedy panel show Mock The Week back in August 2008.
I don’t normally have such good recall of the pap that passes as entertainment on television, but this time I did as I was shocked and outraged by panellist Frankie Boyle's personal comments about Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington.
As a media pundit and aficionado I had been missing the brilliant and always amusing Have I Got News For You. In its absence I thought I would try out Mock The Week.
It is billed as satire, but I found the whole programme little more than juvenile insults about people who had no chance to answer back or defend themselves.
Well it seems that I wasn’t the only one. The BBC received 75 complaints from viewers. I am surprised there weren’t more.
Now, finally, the BBC Trust has ruled that the game show breached guidelines over the comments broadcast on Adlington.
Panellist Frankie Boyle's remarks were branded "humiliating" and "risked offending the audience" by the body. Too little and too late is the phrase that comes to mind.
It followed the Olympic champion's success at the Beijing Olympics.
The ruling repeats the remarks, which I won’t except to say that Boyle said that Adlington looks pretty weird. Worse, because Boyle judged that her boyfriend was really attractive, he, Boyle that is, made completely unfounded assumptions about Adlington’s behaviour.
Mock the Week’s producer has apologised, admitting: "The ribbing may have gone a tad too far on this occasion".
That just isn’t good enough. Apologies don’t come much more grudging than that.
Well it may have taken the BBC Trust more than a year to come to the obvious conclusion. I acted a mite faster.
I switched off and never again have I bothered to tune in.
Regulation of the Media is always a complex and contentious issue, with Freedom of Speech, sense of humour, defamation, and people’s sensibilities and privacy just some of the conflicting factors in constant tension.
The off switch, however, and to quote a certain Meerkat, is simples.

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