Tim Davie – the incoming Director General of the BBC and one of a seemingly ever-increasing number of embarrassing blowhards I’m forced to share this already highly embarrassing name with – has caused something of a stir this week with comments about the need to tackle a perceived left-wing bias in BBC comedy shows. Or at least we’re told they’re his comments – like seemingly everything else these days, they’ve been delivered via a ‘source’, just in case they prove embarrassing and need to be backtracked on, and so that BBC-bashers can ‘win’ the argument by requesting ‘direct evidence’ that it was ‘actually said’, in the manner of someone denying there’s a thunderstorm because they are under an umbrella. How ironic that someone without the courage to present his own views in a forthright manner should be admonishing the art of satire.
I was asked by the political news site Left Foot Forward for my thoughts on whether satire is inherently biased, and whether the comedy shows under fire actually display any credible bias at all, and you can read my feature here. You may not agree with everything I say, but if you don’t, why not hit back with a witty topical gag? I’ll try not to accuse you of ‘bias’.
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You can find more of my thoughts on BBC comedy – and the numerous times it wound up getting everyone in trouble – in Fun At One – The Story Of Comedy At BBC Radio 1, available in paperback here or from the Kindle Store here.
Executive Producer: Belinda Carlisle is a feature on the making of Brass Eye which discusses how satire can and should pose difficult questions and how hard it should be to ascribe an ideological slant to it; you can find it here.
© Tim Worthington.
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