Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tweenies air unexpected Savile tribute

Yesterday, as old episodes of the Tweenies were shovelled onto CBeebies, a 2001 episode in which Max did a Jimmy Savile impersonation went out.

A few people on Twitter raised amused eyebrows.

This, according to the Telegraph, means the BBC was "under fire":

Rachael Mills, from Bournemouth, tweeted: "Can't believe in tweenies on cbeebies today a character was impersonating saville in parody of totp!!! What is the bbc thinking?"
They even found a "concerned father" called Mark Roberts - there's no other context to explain who he is, or why his concern should concern us more than anyone else's - to express his concern at greater length:
Concerned father Mark Roberts said: "The complete lack of quality control the BBC have over their programming was absolutely sickening.

"The song he introduced just makes everything worse. Somebody at the BBC should get fired for this.

"The song title was just the icing on the cake of inappropriateness."
Concerned father Mark Roberts is right - the song Max-as-Jim introduced was called 'Ha! I Am Hiding My Sexual Offences In Plain Sight!'.

Hang on, no, it was One Finger, One Thumb, which I think only has sexual connotations if you want it to.

Now, clearly, it's a bit unfortunate that this went out. But anyone who thinks for a second or two will probably concede that it would have been very unlikely that anyone would think they'd need to double-check every ten year-old programme for preschool kids to make sure there's no impression of people who turned out to be sex offender - although that episode of Rosie And Jim where Jim pretends to be Cyril Smith might need a quick lookover from someone at ITV. And the paperwork for the episode would be unlikely to list every single joke - or, in this case, "joke" - featured.

Unfortunate, but... where exactly is the harm? Presumably anyone watching Cbeebies would be unlikely to see Max wearing the wig and think "that's the now-known paedophile Jimmy Savile, so presumably this programme is trying to make me think that people like that are okay to hang out with".

Come to that, even in 2001, it's unlikely that any of the target audience would have had a clue who Max was supposed to be. Savile's run on Top Of The Pops had ended in 1984 and Jim'll Fix It had stopped ten years later. Presumably the Savile impersonation was included solely as a little joke for any parents watching with their kids - although even some of the parents would have been too young to recall Savile as a Pops presenter.

In 2001, it was a reference which would have gone over the heads of the kids, and only been picked up by older people watching. It's no different in 2013, except what once would have been a small joke is now an ugly coincidence.

Yes, it probably shouldn't have gone out, but if you think the main child protection issue that has fallen out of the Savile story is making sure children never see any reference to the man, you might well be directing your concern in the wrong direction.

No comments:

Post a Comment

As a general rule, posts will only be deleted if they reek of spam.