Good taste my arse!

Bryne's language lands C4 in trouble

Stand-up Jason Byrne has landed Channel 4 in hot water for repeatedly saying 'arse' on breakfast TV.

The Irish comic appeared on the doomed RI:SE programme on July 25 to plug his Edinburgh Fesival show.

He was asked whether he had "...ever taken it too far" on stage, and referred to an 'elephant's arse' in reply.

At the request of the producers, host Iain Lee gave Byrne a mild ticking off, saying: "Just to say we can't have any more of your swear words like we just had then. But carry on, we love you".

But, according to broadcasting watchdogs, "this well-intentioned attempt to advise him not to use any potentially inappropriate language backfired".

Byrne then proceeded to repeat the word a number of times, despite the efforts of the presenters to control him.

Lee told him: "Don't say that, we get in trouble, we've got to apologise for that, don't ... no, you can't say it ...".

Byrne asked to leave the studio after the 7.30am outburst, even though he had been booked for the duration of the show.

The incident attracted complaints to the Broadcasting Standards Commission, whose watchdogs conculded that "the repeated use of a swearword had been unacceptable for the time of transmission".

But it concluded: "Given the broadcaster's apology and subsequent action, it agreed that it would be inappropriate to proceed with further consideration of the complaints."

In the same report, the commission cleared Bernard Manning following similar complaints of bad language.

But they said the risque contents of the Channel 4 documentary charting his visit to India were sufficiently signposted, especially given Manning's foul-mouthed reputation.

Published: 5 Dec 2003

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