Media in the Press 5.4.11

Post-graduate Journalism student, Claudie Qumsieh, reviews the media stories in today’s press…

A ruling from broadcasting regulators, Ofcom, has found that a Channel 4 episode of Scots comedian, Frankie Boyle’s Tramadol Night was in breach of the Broadcasting Code. The ruling, however, did not think there was a fundamental failure of compliance and did not ask Channel 4 to issue an apology – concerning remarks he made about former glamour model and TV personality, Katie Price, and her eight year-old son, Harvey, who has learning difficulties and other medical conditions.

As reported in The Herald (page 9): “Boyle had joked that Price married cage-fighter Alex Reid because she needed someone strong enough to protect her from her son’s sexual advances.”

Price is reported to have reacted: “I am amazed Ofcom have not required, at the least, an apology to be broadcast. This strikes me as a further insult to my wonderful son and another series of failures in this sordid affair.”

Ofcom had said, as reported in The Scotsman (page 12), that Price, Alex Reid and Price's ex partner, Peter Andre, “have consciously exposed their children’s lives to the media” but this did not justify the comments aimed at the eight year-old who “has a number of disabilities which are specifically focused on as the target of that intended humour”. Ofcom is reported to have said that the broadcast was an “erroneous decision on a matter of editorial judgement on the broadcaster’s part”.

Channel 4 is reported as saying it “acknowledges Ofcom’s findings in relation to Frankie Boyle’s Tramadol Nights and his comments about Katie Price. We welcome their findings that we were not in breach of the Code regarding an other sketches or jokes within the series”.

The Daily Record (page 17) runs with the headline, 'Mock the Weak. The story is also reported in Scottish Daily Mail (page 20) and the Scottish Daily Express (page 5).

Boyle is a columnist in the Scottish Sun. He used to have a column in the Record. 

Remaining with Ofcom, as reported in The Scotsman (page 12) the BBC car show, Top Gear, has been cleared by the regulator following controversial jokes made by its presenters about Mexicans. Ofcom had received 157 complaints but said the show was known for its “irreverent style and sometimes outspoken humour”. The Daily Record (page 17) reports Ofcom as saying viewers were likely to be aware that Top Gear “frequently uses national stereotypes [and that] few, if any, nationalities had not at some point been the subject of the presenters’ mockery”.

The controversial comments included saying Mexicans were “lazy”, “feckless” and “flatulent”.

Moving on, Glasgow-born former GMTV presenter, Jenni Falconer, is to step in for ITV presenter, Holly Willoughby, on the This Morning show. Willoughby is due to go on maternity leave from the 14th of this month. As reported in the Scottish Daily Mail (page 3), Falconer is expecting her first child and is reported to have said: “I have been a fan of This Morning since it first aired in 1988, so to work on the programme is a real pleasure. Not only do I get to co-present a show I watch religiously but I also get to work with Phillip [Schofield], one of my favourite presenters. I cannot wait.”

The story is also reported in The Scotsman (page 12). .

Blue Peter presenters are mourning the death of Lucy the Golden Retriever who has appeared on the show over the past 12 years and worked with 12 of the hosts. She was 13 and died of cancer. As reported in The Herald (page 7), presenter, Helen Skelton, said: “When you join Blue Peter you join a family and Lucy was a loyal and loving member of that family unit. I know the viewers will miss her as much as we already do.”

The story is also reported in The Daily Record (page 3).

Comedian and actor, Greg Hemphill, appears to have had a Twit rant aimed at the BBC. His reported comments relate to the comedy sketch show, Burnistoun, which is only being shown on BBC 1 Scotland. Says the Daily Record (page 3), Hemphill – co-star of BBC Scotland's Still Game – is understood to have tweeted: “Looking forward to Burnistoun tonight. In case you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of it, its because the BBC is run by ***holes.” A spokesperson for BBC Scotland is quoted by the Daily Record as responding: “Burnistoun, like all our comedies, is commissioned for Scottish audiences. However, the advent of digital television and the iPlayer means vast swathes of the audience south of the Border who want to watch it can.”

The Scottish Daily Mail (page 5) reports that the BBC has replaced children’s programming with repeats on the re-branded BBC Radio 7, which became, on Saturday, Radio 4 Extra. A CBeebies Radio slot at breakfast time is said to have has been replaced by comedy shows and spin-offs from The Archers and Desert Island Discs.

Staying with Desert Island Discs, the Scottish Sun (page 20) reports on presenter Kirsty Young’s admission that David Dimbleby “chatted her up on air” during the show. She is quoted as saying: “I asked him for his luxury and he said, ‘I’ll take you’. I nearly fell off my bloody seat.” The comments were made in an interview Young did for the Radio Times magazine, as reported in the Sun. She is quoted, adding: “There are moments where it’s as close to being an intimate conversation as having dinner with them. It feels like just the two of you. The best type of programme is when I have a plan in my head and I end up abandoning it.”