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Tom Binned over Queen's speech gag

Ivan Brackenbury creator loses radio job

The comedian behind inept DJ Ivan Brackenbury has been fired from a genuine radio station – after interrupting the Queen’s speech with a gag.

Tom Binns was sacked by the Midlands-based Orion Media after pulling the plug on the royal Christmas broadcast and saying on air: ‘Two words: Bor-ing.’

A couple of listeners complained – including one who made a death threat – which was enough for bosses to give Binns the boot.

However, the group of stations, which includes BRMB in Birmingham and Mercia in Coventry, was never meant to broadcast the Queen’s message in the first place.

Binns told Chortle: ‘I was working on my own on Christmas Day; I’d even had to let myself into the studio. After the guy before me finished, we should have taken the news from Sky, and then my show would start.

‘But instead of the news, we got the Queen’s speech. I knew it shouldn’t be there, but having never heard it before, I didn’t know how long it was going to go on for.

‘I’m not trained to make editorial decisions, but I decided to get rid of it and make a joke. I said, “Two words: bor-ring”

‘I then went into an old riff about how people say the royal family are good for tourism, but the French beheaded theirs and people still visit France. The next record was George Michael’s Last Christmas, so I made some sort of comment about “going from one Queen to another” as a parody of a cheesy DJ.

‘One man got really angry, he sent me a message saying I should be sent to Basra and hoped I’d get killed by a roadside bomb. That was so nasty it really got to me, given that it was Christmas and I’ve seen in graphic detail the effects those bombs can do as I’ve worked with [forces’ radio] BFBS.

‘I rang him up – off-air – to give him a piece of my mind; but other than that almost all the texts we received were in support of what I’d done.

‘Nobody would have tuned in to hear the Queen’s speech; and I tried to deal with it in a funny way. After all, they employ comedians to make jokes.

‘But it seems a knee-jerk reaction to fire me. Broadcasters are scared to death of regulators since the Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand affair, and even though only a very few listeners objected to what I’d said, that was enough.

‘It’s got to the point where comedians aren’t allowed to say anything that could possibly offend anyone any more.’

The firing was the culmination of an eventful day for Binns, who got engaged on Christmas morning, before driving from Essex to Birmingham to host the fateful show.

David Lloyd, Orion Media Group's programme and marketing director, said: 'On Christmas Day, one of our presenters, Tom Binns, made some inappropriate comments surrounding the Queen's speech.

'We do not condone what he said in any way; whether said in jest or not. We are making contact with the small number of listeners who were offended by Tom’s comments and have complained to us to convey our apologies, and have also apologised on air.

'Tom will now not be featuring again on our radio stations.'

This is not the first time Binns has landed in hot water for his on-air comments. Ten years ago, he was fired from London-based XFM after he landed them with a £50,000 fine – the biggest imposed by regulators at Ofcom at the time – because he used ‘coarse sexual innuendo’ in a discussion about bestiality in his breakfast show.

Posted: 28 Dec 2009

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