Feeds

Sandi Toksvig puts the 'n' into cuts - on the Beeb

Only children who can spell properly could be offended

The Power of One Infographic

The BBC has defended a joke by The News Quiz presenter Sandi Toksvig which, according to the Daily Mail, may have irreparably undermined the very bedrock of decency on which Middle England stands.

The quip in question was broadcast last October at 6.30pm, and once again the next day at 12.30pm. Discussing the Tories and child benefit cuts, Toksvig declared: "It’s the Tories who have put the 'n' into cuts."

Cue a complaint to the BBC and the BBC Trust from retired newspaper exec Colin Harrow, who insisted the obscenity-at-one-remove gag was "offensive and unacceptable".

Reponding for the BBC, Mayhew Archer wrote: “If my job was simply not to risk offending any listeners I could have cut it instantly. But that is not my job. My job here was to balance the offence it might cause some listeners against the delight it might give other listeners. For good or ill, the word does not seem to have quite the shock value it did.

"I am not saying this is a good thing. I am simply saying that I think attitudes shift.”

John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons culture, media and sport select committee, is unimpressed with this justification. He said: “That word is way out in front in terms of people finding it offensive, and I think to broadcast it on radio at 6.30pm is inappropriate. Even though they did it by implication, nobody was left in any doubt about what was meant.

“Perhaps it hasn’t occurred to the BBC that one of the reasons why this word has lost its shock value is that it is now being used on television and radio. But I would expect them to be aware of the risk that children might be listening, especially at such an early hour.

"I hope that the gentleman who made the complaint takes this matter to Ofcom because I think they are the appropriate people to rule on this, not the BBC Trust.”

While Ofcom has said it will indeed look into the matter if it receives a formal complaint, Auntie further defended yesterday: "The BBC has rigorous guidelines. The News Quiz is a long-running panel show aimed at an adult audience. Listeners are used to a certain level of robust humour.” ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.