Prior to the Serota Review’s publication, Tim Davie took to the pages of the Telegraph to warn against any watering-down of the BBC’s comedy content.
“We need to ensure that genres such as comedy are not neutered by a desire to play things safe,” the Director General wrote.
“We all know there are limits, and that a routine fuelled by gratuitous unpleasantness is unfunny,” he continued.
“But we should not be fenced into limited creative spaces where no one can take any offence.”
Panel shows like BBC One’s Have I Got News For You have faced criticism in recent years for jokes that have been deemed by some to be beyond the pale.
In 2019 the BBC ruled that comedian Jo Brand “went beyond what was appropriate” by making a controversial joke about throwing battery acid on a Radio 4 comedy show.
The corporation said comedy “will always push boundaries” but said it regretted any offence the edition of satirical show Heresy had caused.
Earlier this year it said comedy was “one of the most subjective areas of programming” while defending a quip Katherine Ryan made on All That Glitters: Britain’s Next Jewellery Star.29th November 2023