BBC faces fresh criticism over offensive remarks about Baroness Thatcher
The BBC is facing fresh criticism after two comedians made offensive remarks about Baroness Thatcher on a prime time quiz show.
By Laura Roberts and Richard Edwards
In The Telegraph
09 Feb 2009
Senior Tory figures have condemned the broadcast.
In Friday night's episode of QI, Jo Brand, who was caught up in the Carol Thatcher "golliwog" controversy, and Phil Jupitus both made comments which have led to complaints being lodged and further anger from viewers.
When a picture of the former prime minister was shown with her eyes and mouth deliberately altered, Jupitus pointed at it and shouted: "Burn the witch!"
Brand had earlier made a joke comparing Lady Thatcher with an Epilady hair remover.
She said: "It was great, actually, when she became Lady Thatcher, because then she sounded like a device for removing pubic hair".
The host, Stephen Fry, laughed and said: "It's true! Absolutely. The Brazilian Lady Thatcher".
Brand added as an aside: "Eliminate straggly pubic hairs with the lady thatcher".
The BBC said on Sunday it was too early to say how many complaints have been received about the show, which was broadcast at 9pm on BBC One. A spokesman added that it was filmed in June last year and "bears no relation to current events".
But senior Tory figures condemned the broadcast and some viewers said they were "astounded" and "disgusted" by the remarks.
Lord Tebbit told The Daily Telegraph: "It is another depressing episode. Lady Thatcher has been treated like this by the BBC for the past 30 years. It's no good asking them for an apology. It's like trying to stop a dog from barking.
"If we have a Conservative government then we can do something about it. The BBC is another part of the destruction of Great Britain.
"The truth is that the BBC doesn't know that it is biased. It thinks that Guardian reading champagne socialists are the norm."
In online forums, several people said that they had lodged formal complaints.
On the My Telegraph website, a member called Roger, in Winchester, wrote: "I was disgusted to hear Jo Brand's remarks about Margaret Thatcher ... which both Stephen Fry and the rest of the participants seemed to find highly amusing.
"This is typical of the sort of arrogance we have come to expect from foul-mouthed, left leaning "comedians" and the double standards to which they adhere.
"It also illustrates to double standards being applied by the BBC who, at the very least, should sack Brand and issue an apology. I have formally complained to the BBC."
A comment on another forum said: "This is such double standards by the BBC. Is it OK to ridicule and be nasty about Mrs Thatcher on national TV, but not OK for someone to say something in private? Jo Brand obviously has a real issue with the Thatchers."
Another viewer added: "Ms Brand's comments about Lady Thatcher were astounding. Does she really think that it is perfectly fine to talk about Thatcher, an elderly, largely defenceless and somewhat unwell lady, in that particularly disgusting manner? Doubtless she would speak of her own mother that way.
"Has the BBC any understanding at all of the public's disgust? Ms Brand should never be employed again by the BBC. Why should the license fee payer be obliged to fund her?"
Brand stormed out after Carol Thatcher likened a black tennis player to a "golliwog" during a private conversation in a green room at the BBC.
The corporation has received 3,300 complaints about its decision to sack Thatcher, with 60 calls and emails in favour of its action.
She is understood to be considering suing the BBC over her dismissal from The One Show.
The BBC was further embroiled in controversy on Friday when Jeremy Clarkson referred to Gordon Brown as a "one-eyed Scottish idiot" during a radio interview in Australia.
Clarkson was forced to apologise, via the BBC, after being condemned by MPs and disability charities for the remark.
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