C4 pulls Jackson gag

Revealed: Why TNT Show was cut short

Channel 4 pulled the plug on its new topical comedy programme The TNT Show last night – because it contained a gag about Michael Jackson.

The last few minutes of the show – hosted by Holly Walsh and Jack Whitehall – suddenly disappeared from the screen.

Channel 4 cut to a emergency logo saying: ‘this programme will continue in sound only,’ although no sound was heard, apart from an announcement apologising for the break in transmission.

But station bosses cut short the programme because it contained a joke about Jackson, whose death had been rumoured only minutes before the broadcast began.

It’s believed the show joked about rumours that Jackson used look-alikes for public appearances. Walsh and Whitehall then interviewed the ‘real’ Jackson – who had a strong Essex accent.

Channel 4 said: ‘In last night’s broadcast of The TNT Show, a sketch, that had been recorded two days earlier, covered a news story about Michael Jackson and his rumoured stand-ins.

‘In light of the breaking news of his death, C4 felt it was appropriate not to broadcast the sketch and advised viewers of the cut in transmission.’

Padraig Reidy of the Index On Censorship told Chortle: 'While one can understand pulling the joke on the grounds of it being very much out of date, it is important that comedy, and particularly topical satire, which is what the TNT Show is presented as, should not be subjected to pressures of taste and sensitivity.'

Published: 26 Jun 2009

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