Wednesday 22 November 2017

BBC attacked over 'posh' jibes

Programmes such as Radio Four's The News Quiz, starring Jo Brand, were said to be hostile towards
Programmes such as Radio Four's The News Quiz, starring Jo Brand, were said to be hostile towards "posh" people. Photo: Getty Images

Nick Collins

The BBC has compiled a "lexicon of abuse" against people from privileged backgrounds and turned terms such as "public school" into dirty words, a magazine has claimed.

The editorial, in the magazine Country Life, attacks the corporation for allegedly having a "family size bucket of chips" on its shoulder that leads it to rail against the middle class.

Words such as "Oxbridge" and "Old Etonian" have been transformed into insults while terms including "toff" and "posh" have reinforced the prejudice, it said.

The magazine criticised the BBC for the weight it placed on David Cameron's upbringing during the election. One web poll asked readers "Do You Want A Posh Prime Minister?"

It also claimed the "bigotry" shown on programmes such as Radio Four's The News Quiz, which features comedians such as Jo Brand and Mark Steel, would be considered unacceptable in any other part of British society.

Responding to a Channel Four news piece in which state school pupils implied that government politicians did not understand the public's concerns due to their upbringing, the magazine said: "These students were merely repeating the mantra of the moment.

"The BBC, for example, has acquired a new lexicon of abuse, the only one it still permits itself. Milder terms include 'Old Etonian', 'Oxbridge', 'public school', 'upper class', 'toff', 'aristo', and the unspeakable 'posh'".

The editorial continued: "Even in lighter contexts, such as Radio Four's The News Quiz, 'toff' is a cue for bigotry of a kind no longer acceptable in any other area of British life."

It added that the jokes are often delivered "in a parody of received pronunciation" involving "scenarios such as having one's fag stuff a fox with caviar."

It concluded: "They might almost be funny if they weren't so clearly motivated by insecurity, by the family-size bucket of chips on the broadcaster's shoulder.

"Why so is a mystery: more of these satirists earned their spurs with the Footlights than on the working men's club circuit."

The BBC told the Daily Mail: "British comedy has a long history of satirising all sections of society and this kind of comedy is instantly recognisable to audiences."


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