BBC should ignore its psychotic critics

...says Channel 4 comedy chief

Channel 4’s comedy chief has urged the BBC to take more risks in comedy, and ignore the ‘psychotic’ anti-corporation bias of newspapers such as the Daily Mail.

Comedy and entertainment controller Andrew Newman said: ‘The Daily Mail has a psychotic agenda against the BBC. Whatever they do, they’re not going to like so they [the BBC] should do what they believe in.’

He told the Broadcast TV Comedy Forum he was often shocked at the negative reaction comedy shows prompted in the press, saying of some of the newspaper-generated hysteria about the BBC: ‘Just because you may think one book in a library is shit, you don’t think the whole place should be burnt down.’

Later at the same event, Jimmy Carr echoed the point, and also defended the BBC’s right to put out comedy programming that not everybody liked. ‘The people who complain, I just think they’re dicks,’ he said. ‘Are they saving the batteries in their remote controls? All they need do is click.

‘Even though Last Of The Summer Wine does nothing for me, the BBC should still make it. You can’t please everybody.’

And comedy producer Caryn Mandabach, whose credits include the Cosby Show and Roseanne, suggested that rows over taste were often manufactured by the press because it made good copy.

Newman also criticised those who post aggressively negative comments on internet boards about every new comedy.

He said: ‘When people don’t like something, they go beserk. It’s extraordinary. They go “Only what I like should be allowed on TV”, and that’s dangerous for new talent.

‘New comedy can be quite fragile, and people are quite unforgiving, and don’t give it enough space to develop.’

Published: 23 Sep 2009

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