Modern comics are plonkers...

David Jason hits out at bad language

It is a common cry from comedians of a certain vintage – now 71-year-old David Jason has joined the chorus of criticism against modern comedy for its bad language and offensiveness.

The Only Fools And Horses star said: ‘The trouble is now we have stand-up comedians who have forgotten about innuendo.

‘In music hall days, and especially at the BBC, you were never allowed swear words so they came up with brilliant wheezes in Beyond Our Ken, The Goon Show and Round The Horne — “Hello, I'm Jules and this is my friend Sandy”. Everyone knew what it was about and the audience filled in the gaps."

‘Today they push down the barriers. Take the F word. It's become commonplace. Language has implications and it's offensive if it's meant to denigrate something or someone. Only Fools had nothing unpleasant, really.’

But he admitted writer John Sullivan slipped Del Boy’s insult ‘dipstick’ passed BBC executives, saying: ‘Had they known the Cockney rhyming slang [prick], they might have taken it out.’

Sir David’s comments come in an interview with the Christmas edition of the Radio Times, out on Wednesday, to promote his first new sitcom for 20 years, The Royal Bodyguard.

He said: "It's a lovely piece of fun. OK, being an old fart, it's for viewers who want something safe as well.

‘The most important thing for me is I can sit back and watch it with my ten-year-old daughter Sophie without thinking, “Whoops, why did they say that? Oh, blimey” — and then unable to get to the “Off” knob fast enough.

‘There wasn't much on the telly the other night so with Sophie and her friend we watched Laurel and Hardy, made in the 1930s, and these kids laughed like drains. That's humour — doing what funny people have done since comedy began without being edgy and pushing boundaries.’

Published: 5 Dec 2011

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