The BBC effectively banned comics from making Jimmy Savile jokes on Mock The Week, host Dara O Briain has claimed.
Last night’s episode featured only one passing reference to one of the biggest stories of the week – and even then it was to comment on BBC censorship.
However, a BBC spokeswoman said there was no such ban, but added that ‘productions are asked to be sensitive’ given the nature of the allegations.
The corporation has been under fire for for suppressing a Newsnight report that would have raised allegations that Savile abused teenage girls, along with claims that bosses turned a blind eye to his behaviour in the Seventies and Eighties.
O Briain told The Sun that Savile was off-limits, saying: ‘The BBC were very cautious about that. I don’t think they wanted anything about that on Mock The Week.’
Instead of Savile, the topical subjects raised on yesterday’s show were the Tory Party conference, patients being asked to rate hospitals, David Blaine’s latest stunt and England football manager Roy Hodgson traveling on the Tube.
But Andy Parsons slipped one comment in which made the final edit. When asked what question might have the answer 10 billion, he said: ‘What are the chances against a joke about Jim’ll Fix It on the BBC?’
O Briain then said: ‘OK, moving on...’
Yesterday, gossip newsletter Popbitch reported that writers on Russell Howard's Good News had always been told to steer clear of Savile gags.
The BBC has ordered an inquiry into the Jimmy Savile case, but senior executives have said they were not aware of any complaints or even rumours that he was abusing underage girls while working for them.