BBC television and radio is saturated with left-wing comedians, a study has found.
Three-quarters of programming is taken up by anti-Brexit comics who revel in bashing conservative values.
The Campaign for Common Sense examined 364 broadcast slots and found that only four were given to right-leaning comedians, all two of them. By contrast, 99 comics with pro-Remain, woke views were spread across 268 appearances. Many of them have struggled to convince viewers of their comic credentials.
John Cleese: “I don’t know what a woke joke would be like…It might be heart-warming but it’s not going to be very funny.”
Much-loved sitcom, the Vicar of Dibley came under fire this week after revealing Dawn French’s character will be taking the knee in the upcoming Christmas special.
The BBC said: “We judge our comedy on it being funny, how popular it is and whether it reflects a range of different voices and views.”
In October, an episode of Scottish Comedian Frank Boyle’s discussion-based show, New World Order shocked viewers when black comic, Sophie Ducker giggled: “Kill Whitey”.
The show has received a barrage of criticism for not only being offensive and unfunny, but for also being extremely narrow-minded, reflecting very few voices, contrary to the BBC’s claims.
However, amid tumbling perceptions of BBC comedy set against a raging culture over the right to be offended, there’s little public debate about what counts as comedy and why its important for the nation to be allowed to laugh.
John Cleese has called for more open discussion, saying, “’I would love to debate this…The first question I would say is, ‘Can you tell me a woke joke?’”
“From the point of creativity, if you have to keep thinking which words you can use and which you can’t, then that will stifle creativity,” said the Monty Python legend.
“The main thing is to realise that words depend on their context. Very literal-minded people think a word is a word but it isn’t.”
New Director-General, Tim Davie has vowed to balance the BBC’s output, saying “partisan campaigners” should not work for the broadcaster.
But with more and more young people preferring YouTube and Netflix to the BBC, the corporation is known to have built its long-term business strategy on winning those viewers back with youthful, woke programming, while obliging elderly and increasingly estranged viewers to fork out for the hefty licence fee.
With a new BBC chairman to take up post in February, the strategy could be ditched in favour of more wholesome broadcasting as soon as next year.