BBC Question Time sometimes ‘unbalanced’ admits Sharp
Viewers hoping to watch an episode of Blackadder on BBC iPlayer are now greeted with a “discriminatory” and “offensive” language disclaimer. Before the start of series one, episode two, BBC viewers are met with a message which reads: “Contains discriminatory language and content that some viewers may find offensive.”
In the 1983 episode titled “Born to be King”, Captain Edmond Blackadder played by Rowan Atkinson is involved in a heated exchange with Dougal McAngus, Duke Of Argyll, who is played by Alex Norton.
The pair clash after the Scot is awarded land belonging to Blackadder following his work in the battle against the Crusades.
In an outburst, the title character can be heard using the racist slur “Chocos”.
Blackadder now joins a series of comedy favourites hit by a language warning on the BBC.
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Campaign group Defund The BBC – which calls for the £157.50 TV licence fee to be scrapped – lashed out at the decision.
In a post on Twitter, the group said: “The BBC’s comedy witch trials continue.”
In the past year, episodes of Fawlty Towers, Dad’s Army and Allo! Allo! have also been issued with a prior warning to viewers.
Meanwhile, comedy sketch show Little Britain, which features some scenes of characters in “black face”, has been taken down from the BBC’s streaming platform.
Most recently, the Manchester-based comedy show The Royle Family was issued with a language warning.
In one episode broadcast in 1999, Jim Royle, played by Ricky Tomlinson, can be heard using the term “nancy boy”, when watching a scene from home improvement show Changing Rooms.
Toby Young, General Secretary of the Free Speech Union, described the broadcaster as “woke” and condemned the decision.
He said: “The BBC has been been taken over by the ‘woke’ cult.
“Its managers are like 17th Century Witchfinder Generals, constantly on the look out for heretics.
“Any programmes that depart from their narrow ideological dogma are immediately slapped with a moral health warning.
“Someone needs to remind them that Britain is the birthplace of Parliamentary democracy and the licence-payers who pay their wages believe in free speech.”
A spokesman for the BBC said: “Some older programmes on occasion contain language that some viewers find offensive, inappropriate or which have now fallen out of use, and for that reason, we do make that clear on BBC iPlayer and elsewhere.”
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Last week, the BBC’s incoming chairman Richard Sharp admitted the BBC’s culture needed to be “rebuilt”.
Appearing before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, he said: “Clearly some of the problems [the BBC] has had recently are really quite terrible and reflect a culture that needs to be rebuilt so everyone that works at the BBC and cherishes the BBC feels proud to work there.
“Then in my view that would produce a better output inevitably.”
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