Channel 4 and the sick show they call comedy
By Keith Gladdis and Claire Ellicott Mail
Comedians guzzle wine and egg each other on to trade obscene jokes about the Queen, Philip and Susan Boyle
Big Fat Quiz of 2012 featured countless vile sexual jokes just after 9pm
• Most made by James Corden and Jack Whitehall who drank bottle of wine each during pre-recorded show
• Channel 4 accused of failing to learn from Sachsgate scandal
• Television watchdog Ofcom says it has received complaints
A primetime Channel 4 quiz in which drunken comedians made obscene jokes about the Queen has outraged viewers.
The Big Fat Quiz Of 2012, which featured countless vile sexual jokes, was broadcast on Sunday only seconds after the 9pm watershed.
The pre-recorded show, presented by controversial comedian Jimmy Carr, also featured puerile remarks about sprinter Usain Bolt, President Obama and singer Susan Boyle.
Crude: Big Fat Quiz of the Year featured guests including Richard Ayoade, Russell Howard, Jonathan Ross, Jimmy Carr, Jack Whitehall, James Cordon, Gaby Logan
Last night TV watchdog Ofcom confirmed it had already received complaints. Most of the crass humor came from Gavin And Stacey star James Corden, 34, and comedian Jack Whitehall, 24, who were seen to drink a bottle of wine each on screen.
They were egged on by Jonathan Ross – who lost his job with the BBC after making an abusive phone call to the veteran actor Andrew Sachs during a radio show.
Channel 4 last night stood accused of failing to learn from the Sachsgate scandal, which was also a pre-recorded broadcast.
Margaret Morrissey, founder of campaign group Parentsoutloud.com , said: ‘It is amazing this programme was ever broadcast. This was not live television, someone made the decision to allow this to go out at 9pm during the holidays when young children will still be up and watching television.
‘It’s as if broadcasters have learned nothing from the Sachsgate scandal. This is proof that we need a clean-up of television.’
Within minutes of the annual quiz show starting guests began to make infantile jokes about the Queen and the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Marlborough-educated Whitehall said he ‘had a theory’ about why the Queen had stood up throughout the jubilee pageant on the Thames.
He then made a crude joke linking it to the fact that Prince Philip was taken ill with a bladder infection soon afterwards.
He justified his offensive remarks by saying: ‘I’m just saying what everyone’s thinking.’
Soon afterwards he said Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt could ‘rake it in’ by going to stud like the retired racehorse Frankel.
His vulgar language appeared to draw gasps from the audience, but the remarks were eagerly followed up with a disgusting comment by 52-year-old Ross.
Halfway through the two-hour show Corden took a bottle of red wine and two glasses from beneath his desk and poured himself and Whitehall a drink, then started eating pizza.
The pair were soon visibly drunk and Corden was slurring his words.
He then started to make crude comments about Britain’s Got Talent star Susan Boyle after he was asked what slogan was used to promote her album on Twitter. His answer was: ‘Subo loves it in the a***.’
He then laughed as he said: ‘This is where I do myself in and I forget we are recording this and this is going to be on TV’, before repeating: ‘She clearly loves it in the a***.’
Corden and Whitehall continued to get drunk and host Carr later pointed out that the pair had drunk a bottle of wine each. Afterwards Whitehall told his Twitter followers: ‘We got so drunk.’
Viewers took to Twitter and television forums to vent their dismay even as the programme was being broadcast.
Targets: The comics made crude jokes about gold medal sprinter Usain Bolt, left, and singer Susan Boyle, right
Bad taste: Comedian Jack Whitehall made rude comments about the Queen, left, and the recent illness of her husband Prince Philip, right
One wrote on the Digital Spy entertainment website: ‘Forgive me for not laughing at people being immature idiots. But how is that comedy? It’s just inane, immature stupidity. I haven’t laughed once.’
Another added: ‘Glad Jimmy is seeing the funny side of things – as I ain’t.’
A third wrote: ‘A lot of canned laughter overlaid over the (probably) barely laughing audience. It’s a chore watching this.’
As the programme approached its conclusion Corden and Whitehall made crass jokes about Mr Obama.
Asked what the President did in the Oval Office when he was pretending to work, they responded by writing down: ‘Put a condom on and had a posh w***.’
Fellow guests sports presenter Gabby Logan, 39, and actor Richard Ayoade, 35, looked increasingly awkward as the jokes continued.
On Twitter, viewers were commenting on how drunk Whitehall and Corden were. And on the Mumsnet website one user wrote: ‘Jack and James were really annoying me with their drunken childishness. When Jonathan Ross seems like the most grown-up person there you know it’s time to edit them out.’
Ofcom had received five complaints by last night, but that number could quickly grow – in Sachsgate, an initial two complaints rose to nearly 45,000.
Former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe said: ‘Nothing Jimmy Carr does surprises me. This programme is in extremely poor taste and I’m amazed it was ever broadcast.
‘Most people would consider it to be in very bad taste to poke fun at someone in their eighties who’s served the country devotedly for 60 years.’
Mrs Morrissey of Parentsoutloud.com added: ‘No doubt there’ll be a storm of outrage and then the comedians will turn around and be all contrite. ‘But they could have avoided offending people and corrupting young minds. Even if their parents stop them, children can still watch it on their iPads and iPhones. The nation’s television now serves the lowest common denominator.’
A spokesman for Susan Boyle would not comment, but a source close to the singer said: ‘Their comments were inappropriate.’
A spokesman for Corden said: ‘James would never want to offend anyone and is sorry if his comments have been taken out of the context they were made in.’
A Channel 4 spokesman said: ‘Big Fat Quiz Of The Year is a well-established comedic and satirical review of the year’s events with well-known guests and is broadcast after the watershed with appropriate warnings.’
Channel 4 has often been at the centre of controversy. In 2007 tens of thousands complained that Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty was the victim of racist bullying on Celebrity Big brother.
Viewers also protested about a ‘dramatised documentary’ about Prince Harry in 2010 in which an actor playing the prince was shown being subjected to a mock execution in Afghanistan.
Also in 2010 the broadcaster showed comedian Frankie Boyle making ‘highly offensive’ jokes about the disabled son of model Katie Price.
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