Monday, 26 August 2013

BBC: Defending The Indefensible

Appropriately for the man who used to present BBC Radio 5 Live show Fighting Talk, Colin Murray is in combative mood. Since transferred to 5 Live's commercial rival TalkSport, where he presents a three-hour weekday show, Murray says his new employer is a place where he can "be myself without every so often spasmodically having to deal with the shit of the outraged few".

This is a barely-veiled reference to his final episode of Fighting Talk, on 1 June this year, when the panel show was accused of "homophobic bullying" after a contestant was invited to advance reasons why if given "20 minutes with her, I'm pretty sure I could turn around Clare Balding".

It was intended as satire, a "mockery of idiot views" as Murray put it, in a round called Defend The Indefensible. But the punchline fell flat, prompting jeers in the Liverpool Echo Arena from where the show was broadcast live as part of a 5 Live Big Day Out, and 19 complaints to the BBC. The "outraged few", presumably...

He responded to a couple of complaints on Twitter before he was told to stop by the BBC which, after initially defending the programme, offered a full apology.

Murray insists it was not a "debate" about Balding's sexuality – "What neanderthal would have a debate on Clare Balding's sexuality?" – although some critics might struggle to detect a difference.

"The BBC has a policy, and they can stick to it if they want, of apologise to kill the story. What about the truth?" says Murray.

Media Guardian. 

This sorry episode became somewhat overblown.
It was part of a segment called 'Defending The Indefensible' FFS, so maybe it might end up insulting those joyless bores who get off on being insulted.
Though the BBC's unreserved apology may just possibly also have had much to do with Auntie not wanting to upset Clare Balding - the ratings-winning "national treasure" etc etc - who works for the corporation on a freelance basis and can bugger off to Channel 4 whenever she wants.
Although, admirably, Clare Balding is said to have been unbothered by the silly bloke-ish "ironic" banter.

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