Feeds

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

Only children who can spell properly could be offended

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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.” ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
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.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.