The Queen Is Dead…All Hail The Queen!


Another case of ridiculous knee-jerk reaction by BBC bosses has reared its ugly head…and once again it is because of a harmless joke about the Queen (bow, scrape head along floor, hand over all personal freedoms and await the mighty one’s permission to breathe!).  Here’s the story from the BBC website today:

BBC ‘sorry’ for WM presenter Queen death joke

The BBC has apologised after a radio presenter said the Queen had died.

(c) BBC

(c) BBC

Danny Kelly who works for BBC WM in the West Midlands, played the national anthem as he made the joke during his Birmingham-based afternoon show.

A BBC spokesman said it had been a reference to an item on one of his internet pages.

Mr Kelly will not present his show for the remainder of the week and a formal apology was made at the start of Tuesday’s show at 1400 BST.

A BBC spokesman said presenter Mollie Green would take over the afternoon show until next Tuesday.

The apology on BBC WM at the start of the programme said: “Yesterday afternoon Danny Kelly made an inappropriate remark about the Queen during his radio show here on BBC WM.

“The BBC apologises unreservedly for it.

“BBC WM takes these comments very seriously and due action has been taken.”

Earlier, a spokesman said the comment had been made during a “light-hearted piece about social media friends” and that it had been corrected on-air immediately after it was made.

Danny is a superb broadcaster, contributes across the BBC’s local and national networks, and has spent many years learning his art and perfecting his craft.  Why oh why does a simple joke about the Queen being dead, which was in context, and even (outrageously) apologised for on-air at the time, in any way requiring the removal of this talented individual from his post for a week?

We live in a Parliamentary Democracy, not a Monarchial Dictatorship. Why does the BBC insist on these disgusting punishments for gags about our Queen?  Where does it say in law, or even in broadcasting regulations (or the increasingly pointless BBC Royal Charter) that her Maj is sacrosanct? I understand issues of good taste, of potentially upsetting weak-willed and lilly-livered punters, even of the fear of the Daily Fail reaction.  So yes, require the presenter to apologise where necessary, but to remove them from air?!  Such punitive action smacks of institutionalised grovelling and pandering.

So come on BBC…grow a pair and start standing up for your talent.  The Queen is fair target for comedy.  And if you don’t want to risk such humour, then stop hiring talented, comedic presenters.  Then you can be like the iPods you so fear are taking away your audience!

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About hokusbloke
30-something radio producer/director/writer, owner & MD of Ladbroke Productions (the UK's oldest independent radio production company). Lover of far fetched fiction, scifi and fantasy, my cats and all thinks tech. I am also the Chair of the Radio Independents Group, a former Trustee of the Radio Academy, and a Fellow of the RSA. I co-wrote, produced and directed Robert Rankin's "The Brightonomicon" audio series, produce Dr Who audiobooks for the BBC, and directed several sci-fi radio plays for BBC Radio 4 in 2009. I am a strong advocate for more SF audio and radio...keep watching this space for upcoming news!

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