Jo Brand

Jo Brand

Date of birth: 03-05-1957

Jo's first job was at Dr Barnardo's home - following in the footsteps of her social worker mother.

After this, she moved to London and famously became a psychiatric nurse - the daily parade of drug addicts, alcohol abuse and the clinically depressed, giving her the sense of humour and bravado to deal with any comedy audience.

A pioneer of the alternative comedy scene, she started performing at the age of 29, in 1987, under the name The Sea Monster and it only took her two years to be able to turn pro.

Her material, about her weight and men, made here a bete noire among those who despised the rise of alternative comedy, most notably tabloid TV critic Garry Bushell.

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Have we got complaints for you

Panel show causes most offence

Have I Got News for You has topped a list of complaints made to the BBC in the past two weeks

The contentious episode, in which host Jo Brand took the all-male panel to task for not taking allegations of sexual harassment seriously, received 234 complaints.

The scale of the outrage has been released after regulator Ofcom pressured the Corporation to release figures about complaints.

Brand was praised for her comments after team captain Ian Hislop said some of the allegations of harassment  emerging from Westminster were not ‘high-level crime’.

Brand responded: ‘If I can just say, as the only representative of the female gender here today – I know it’s not high-level, but it doesn’t have to be high-level for women to feel under siege in somewhere like the House of Commons.

‘ Actually, for women if you’re constantly being harassed, even in a small way, that builds up and that wears you down.’

In response to the complaints the BBC said the show ‘reflected the speculation around the biggest news story at the time…given the extensive coverage that arose from allegations of sexual misconduct in Westminster it would have been odd for Have I Got News For You to ignore this story.  

‘Guests are booked in advance, rather than for particular topics, and we try very hard to book guests from all areas of the political spectrum. This means there will sometimes be panel members with views that the audience and others on the show may disagree with. 

‘We do not necessarily share or endorse the views of the panellists and their material doesn’t reflect the opinions of the BBC. 

‘The host is also there to chair the show and to add perspective and balance when needs be – as we saw when Jo Brand made her points so eloquently in taking panel members to task in this edition. 

‘While most viewers know what to expect from the programme, it doesn’t set out to deliberately offend viewers.  Its purpose is to be entertaining and to maintain the standards the show has set over the last 27 years. 

‘That said, we accept that tastes vary enormously and that some viewers might have a different point of view.’

The second most complained about show in the period was the November 4 edition of Strictly Come Dancing, which received 206 complaints about a range of issues.

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Published: 16 Nov 2017

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