Fear of offence makes BBC bland

Says comedy producer John Lloyd

Top comedy producer John Lloyd has accused the BBC of making ‘bland’ programmes as it is too scared of causing offence.

He said that any trace of ‘sauciness’ was exorcised from his show QI when it moved to a pre-watershed slot on BBC One by executives terrified of any backlash.

Writing in the Radio Times Lloyd said that although the move led to higher ratings, ‘there was a cost’.

‘It had to stop being what we had become – eclectic, uncompromising, slightly saucy.’ he said. ‘It wasn’t how QI was designed.

‘Sauciness is no longer allowed before 9pm anywhere on the BBC - particularly not on BBC One.

‘The Commissioning, Legal, Compliance and Editorial Policy police hover over the scripts and the recordings, alert to the merest potential offence. There are blanket proscriptions, passed down from on high, which reduce everything to a bland vichyssoise that suits comedy programmes not at all.

‘Heaven knows what they would have done to The Two Ronnies.’

QI is returning to a post-watershed BBC Two slot this autumn.

Published: 30 Aug 2011

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