Some of the BBC’s top comedy shows have faced criticism in recent years over perceived left-wing bias, while BBC comedians have also faced criticism over political comments and jokes.
Last year, comedian Jo Brand made a joke on BBC Radio Four’s comedy show Heresy about throwing battery acid over ‘unpleasant’ politicians.
She branded the throwing of milkshakes on politicians such as Nigel Farage as ‘pathetic’ and added: ‘Why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid?’
Comedian Jo Brand apologised after she made a joke on BBC Radio Four’s comedy show Heresy about throwing battery acid over ‘unpleasant’ politicians
She added: ‘I’m not going to do it, it’s purely a fantasy. But I think milkshakes are pathetic.’
Her quip, in June last year, was initially defended by the BBC, who later backtracked and admitted Ms Brand had ‘gone too far’ – while the 63-year-old also apologised.
Regulator Ofcom earlier this year said the star’s comments had the ‘potential to offend listeners’, but it was unlikely to encourage or incite the commission of a crime.
Last year, The BBC pulled an episode of its long-running satirical show Have I Got News For You just minutes before it was due to air over fears it would breach election impartiality rules by having Change UK leader Heidi Allen as a guest.
The programme was removed from the evening schedule because Heidi Allen, of Change UK/The Independent Group, was on the show.
Have I Got News For You, which features Ian Hislop and Paul Merton, has previously faced criticism by viewers claiming an anti-Conservative and anti-Brexit bias
BBC editorial guidelines around election periods do not allow programmes where ‘equal representation’ is not achieved.
Ms Allen took to Twitter to air her frustration, while Change UK wrote to the BBC following the decision, which came after Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage had been a panellist on political debate show BBC Question Time days earlier.
The long-running panel show, produced by Hat Trick productions for the BBC, has previously faced criticism by viewers claiming an anti-Conservative and anti-Brexit bias.
It received complaints earlier this year over a discussion on top Conservative aide Dominic Cummings’ trip from London to Durham in lockdown.
The BBC dismissed the complaints, arguing the story did not receive ‘disproportionate’ coverage.
BBC Two’s The Mash Report has also faced criticism, with satirical pieces poking fun at Brexit and the Conservatives.
BBC Two’s The Mash Report, pictured: host Nish Kumar, has also faced criticism, with satirical pieces poking fun at Brexit and the Conservatives
Panel show Mock the Week has also been criticised in the past over perceived anti-Conservative and anti-Brexit bias
In one piece, about the government’s Brexit advertising plan, headed up by Michael Gove, comedian Rachel Parris said: ‘He’s a good man,’ prompting host Nish Kumar to respond ‘Is he?’
The comedian then responds: ‘No,’ prompting laughter from the audience.
The BBC also provoked outrage earlier this year by screening an ‘anti-British’ children’s programme on Brexit Day.
Hosted by The Mash Report’s Mr Kumar, Horrible Histories Brexit suggested Britain had historically failed to produce anything of note, relying instead on imports.
Horrible Histories Brexit suggested Britain had historically failed to produce anything of note, relying instead on imports
Other comedians such as Russell Howard have also sparked claims of political bias, while last year he spoke to music magazine NME where he described politicians, including Nigel Farage, as ‘right-wing f**k-knuckles
Amid a chorus of protest, even one of the BBC’s broadcasters launched a stinging attack on the show.
Andrew Neil called it ‘anti-British drivel of a high order’ and asked: ‘Was any of the licence fee used to produce something purely designed to demean us?’
Mr Neil, a former editor of The Sunday Times and chairman of the group behind right-leaning magazine The Spectator, also hit out at the Mash Report as ‘self satisfied, self adulatory, unchallenged Left-wing propaganda,’ while describing the Now Show on Radio 4 as being ‘contrived ideological commentary’.
Other comedians such as Russell Howard have also sparked claims of political bias, while last year he spoke to music magazine NME where he described politicians, including Nigel Farage, as ‘right-wing f**k-knuckles’.