Tag Archives: Rowan Atkinson

Ofcom clear Rowan Atkinson sketch for Comic Relief

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Ofcom Statement clearing Comic relief sketch of Atkinson as a fictional Archbishop:

“In reaching this decision we took into consideration the context of the material.

“This included that Comic Relief is widely known for featuring irreverent and often absurd comedy sketches; the intention of the sketch was to create humour rather than seriously deride Christianity; and that the BBC took immediate action on the night of the broadcast, including issuing an apology for the tone of the sketch, removing it from BBC iPlayer and withdrawing a follow-up sketch due for broadcast later in the evening.” [BBC News emphasis added]

When the Archbishop Sketch for comic relief was pulled from BBC iPlayer I made this comment (where incidentally you can still see video):

    The context is a BBC that has had serious problems with comedy (think Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand prank phone call on Radio) and with pulling documentary on Jimmy Saville as a serial pedophile, but still running a tribute programme to him. Having lost a Governor over all this with the final straw being a news programme slandering someone as a pedophile implies a corporation running scared about it’s future in austerity Britain. We can also add that with media outlets, that see the BBC as unfair public competition, out to get them and overshadowing what was a great night for philanthropy, BBC decided to reduce impact of the story by reducing possible viewing so complaint numbers may be even less significant. None of these things justify the action – the sketch was funny and tongue in cheek parody satire. [Emphasise added]

Sadly it seems that pulling the sketch from BBC iPlayer was taken into consideration when deciding, along with the apology.

So while we may welcome the regulator saying the broadcasting code was not breached, that they took into account the actions of the BBC in pulling the sketch suggests this is not quite the victory we may have wanted.

Had the BBC not pulled the sketch from the highlights show, and kept on BBC iPlayer for Internet viewing, would the decision have been different?

That needs to be asked.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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BBC pull Archbishop Rowan Atkinson Sketch from iPlayer

Whilst I agree with the blog, more to this than just religious sensibilities. The context is a BBC that has had serious problems with comedy (think Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand prank phone call on Radio) and with pulling documentary on Jimmy Saville as a serial pedophile, but still running a tribute programme to him. Having lost a Governor over all this with the final straw being a news programme slandering someone as a pedophile implies a corporation running scared about it’s future in austerity Britain.

We can also add that with media outlets, that see the BBC as unfair public competition, out to get them and overshadowing what was a great night for philanthropy, BBC decided to reduce impact of the story by reducing possible viewing so complaint numbers may be even less significant.

None of these things justify the action – the sketch was funny and tongue in cheek parody satire. Do not like it then do not tune in. As I do not for “Thought for the Day” on Radio 4. BBC has got this wrong but can understand why they have. Thought the context may explain more.

My previous blog on (video has been pulled).

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Red Nose Day (Comic Relief) is a biennial UK telethon event, which aims to raise money for charity.  The hook is on the promise of entertainment in the form of famous faces ‘doing something funny for money’. It is hoped that this will attract viewers, and hopefully donations along with it.  (Our team raised over 10k! Just saying)

Over the years, some incredibly talented, hilarious performers and Lenny Henry have appeared during the TV event to participate in various skits, some live, some pre-recorded, some funny, some cringe-worthy. It doesn’t matter, it’s all for a good cause.

This year, Rowan Atkinson of Blackadder and Mr. Bean notoriety gave his time to appear via a pre-recorded sketch.  In the sketch, he appears in character (tongue firmly in cheek) as the ‘New Archbishop of Canterbury’.  Rather than provide an exhaustive description of the, in my view, rather tame contents, you can…

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Video: Rowan Atkinson New Archbishop Sketch

A brilliant sketch by Rowan Atkinson parodying New Archbishop of Canterbury, during Comic Relief. There have been 2,200 complaints, three quarters concerned with language. Though arsing about and shagging I would not consider offensive words pre watershed. The remainder of complaints were making the C of E look like well meaning buffoons trying to use popular culture to get with it.

Doubt complaints will be upheld for that. With over £75 million raised this was not just a good night for comedy.

Enjoy!

Donate Comic Relief

UPDATE: comic relief have had clip pulled for copyright infringement – yet BBC iPlayer have taken away legal means to watch due to complaints.

Have put up another youtube link. Watch till they pull again.

I suppose you could always love your neighbour instead …

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Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Welcome to Hell

Rowan Atkinson’s sketch “Welcome to Hell”.

Full blog on hell can be found here.

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Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Insulting our intelligence – reform section 5 now

When a diverse group, the Christian Institute, The National Secular Society (NSS) and the Peter Tatchell Foundation among others get together to reform the law, gives you pause to think what is at stake. Rowan Atkinson explains in the video:

Listing freedom of speech as “a permanent fixture for me in the number two slot” went over the peoples’ heads methinks 😉

The demo that the NSS and others are taking part in will be in London this Monday 10 December morning, concerns Section 5 of the Public Order Act:

“Insulting words or behaviour” are outlawed by Section 5, and this is having a chilling effect on free speech right across our country, in a wide range of communities. The law rightly protects us against unjust discrimination, incitement and violence. It should not be used to protect us from having our feelings hurt. It’s time to reform Section 5.

The police and the courts, under this provision, can decide how you feel or someone feels about you. Thought and the expression of has been made subject to the law. This explains the plurality of groups for reform.

Join our fun RS5 demo on Monday 10 December. 10am till 11:15am. Central London. Email simon@reformsection5.org.uk for more info.

More on the reform section 5 website here.

The House of Lords will be voting on removing the word “insult” next Wednesday.

UPDATE 12/12: House of Lords passed amendment 150 – 54. Result!

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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