Sunday 28 December 2014

The Unbelievable Lie

It contains a sarcastic passage on the subject of BBC bias, from which it's probably safe to assume that he doesn't believe it exists and that the BBC is just super.

His own experiences of working for the BBC must have helped him reach that conclusion, for if there's one thing you can say about topical BBC comedy programmes, it's that they're always studiously balanced and politically neutral. 

You never find David Mitchell, for example, mocking the Daily Mail, UKIP, posh Tories and Christians without also sneering at the Guardian, Labour Party, Greens and Muslims. 

And for every Marcus Brigstocke, Mark Steel, Jeremy Hardy, Russell Howard, Andy Parsons, Stewart Lee, Mark Thomas, Rufus Hound or Shappi Khorsandi there's a...there's Count Arthur Strong count? (ed - No, he's not real).

The thing about satire is that it should have the ring of truth to it. David Mitchell's satire is ruined here by its closing punchline, which has absolutely no ring of truth to it whatsoever because the BBC never, ever apologies.

Left and right unite to condemn BBC bias
It was a British political consensus not seen since the second world war. All 47 parties represented in the House of Commons came together to condemn the public service broadcaster’s relentless and shameful partiality.
“They just advance the views of a blinkered and unaccountable media elite,” said the prime minister. The leader of the opposition agreed: “The British public have a right to expect balanced reporting, not the editorialising of TV insiders.” They were among 500 MPs who signed an open letter to the director general, who responded by asking: “In whose favour do you think we’re biased?” This was condemned as a divisive and trouble-making response.
“What’s clear is that we’ve agreed to differ over that issue,” retorted David Cameron, “but over the key issue, the issue of bias, we’re completely united.”
The BBC apologised. 

UPDATE: Curiously, as I was writing this post I was also catching up with this morning's Broadcasting House on Radio 4. Just as I was pressing the 'Publish' button, Paddy's panel began their contribution to the programme. First up came a veteran Radio 4 comedian. The immediate butt of his humour? UKIP. 

That veteran comedian was Barry Cryer though, so I'll forgive him, especially as he was soon doing what we want from Barry Cryer - making us laugh.

This is him recycling a very funny old David Frost anecdote:
There was a wonderful story of the late Denis Thatcher arriving at Paddington in a rush, and he had a ticket but not a reservation. So he got on this train. It was packed from front to back, and he wandered all down the train looking for a seat.
Suddenly he came to some empty seats and he thought, 'What's this?'. And on the window was a sticker that said, 'Reserved. Reading Psychiatric Hospital'. So he thought, 'I'm all right till Reading' and read his paper.
The train stopped at Reading and people got on and sat round him, the party from the hospital. And the man in charge said, 'Hang on, we've got one too many here. I must do a headcount' and he went '1,2,3,4...who are you?' And Denis said, 'I'm the husband of the Prime Minister', and the man said, '4,5,6.7...'!


  1. Ah, the old "complaints from both sides" canard has finally gone mainstream. I wonder if he saw Harry and Paul's panel show segment from "The Twos"? That was proper satire which, as you say, has the ring of truth. Nearly as many bells going off as in the intro to Pink Floyd's "Time", in fact. He probably thinks it's totally wrong, will claim to have no idea what they were on about. Would these defenders of the indefensible ever try this argument out with those who think the BBC is a Zionist shill or pro-Tory? Most likely not, because, as with Paul Mason, they probably agree with that charge of bias.

    Mitchell is part of the BBC establishment, Oxbridge elite now. His words have no meaning. We do not hear him.

    1. I wonder what David Mitchell would say about a politician's wife who made a porno film in her 20s, obtained million pounds tax free winnings through gambling and squeezed herself into tight dresses as a quiz show compere? Just wondering, Victoria...

    2. Someone pretending to be Lee Mack28 December 2014 at 18:16

      Do you by any chance know were one might obtain this film of Mrs Mitchell?

    3. "Made" not "appeared in"...ha-ha! :)

  2. I've actually clicked through and read it now. Bashing Fox News, any leader of UKIP will be a bigot, and his book is published by the Guardian, while out of the other side of his ass he sneers about complaints of BBC Left-wing bias. The only thing missing is a mention of the Daily Mail (perhaps he did have one in the original draft, but saw the Harry and Paul bit and removed it). No mirrors in the Mitchell-Coren household, apparently.

    1. What, he didn't say "Oh my God, the Daily Mail!" for once?

      (Sneakily - and just between us, David), from behind the Times paywall comes something much, much funnier and subversive than David Mitchell's predictable efforts.

      This is the sort of thing that should be on Radio 4:

      ROD LIDDLE My 2015 predictions: Ed is PM and even the turkeys flee Britain

      Rod Liddle Published: 28 December 2014

      The UN decrees 2015 to be International Year of Solidarity with the exciting Nigerian Muslim organisation Boko Haram — following on from the previous year, which was dedicated to Palestine.

      A Ukip candidate is heard referring to black people as “jungle bunnies”, but the party’s press office insists he meant it in a nice way, bunnies being agreeable creatures and jungles being eco-friendly.

      A geographical survey discovers that the north of England has sunk 1½ inches and may soon be inundated with water, as a consequence of its morbidly obese inhabitants.

      Rosetta’s Philae probe at last awakes and leaves comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for somewhere still more remote and unpleasant, many light years distant.

      Richard Dawkins announces that, contrary to his previous belief, God does indeed exist, but that he is an idiot.

      The royal family comes under fire for a fancy dress party at which Prince George is dressed as the late Cambodian politician, Pol Pot.

      The leader of the Scottish National party, Nicola Sturgeon, and the former leader, Alex Salmond, push through an act that confines future leaders of Scotland to people whose names sound a bit like a fish.

      George Osborne, the chancellor, says that the British economy is on course to eclipse those of China and America.

      The Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, delivers a stirring denunciation of homosexuality, while dressed in a leather basque, wrestling a bear and listening to a CD of Judy Garland’s greatest hits.

      The BBC’s last remaining disc jockey is arrested by Operation Yewtree.

      A Ukip candidate is filmed narrowing his eyes and screaming “Banzai! Banzai!” when he is introduced to a Japanese dignitary. He then attempts to disembowel himself with a butter knife. A party spokesman says it was all meant in good fun and anyway, remember the Burma Road!

      One of the surprise contestants in I’m a Celebrity . . . Get Me out of Here! is named as Jihadi John, from Isis.

      Immigration to the UK stands at 750,000 so far this year. In an effort to wrest back the anti-immigration agenda from Ukip, the home secretary, Theresa May, is filmed howling abuse at Poles and setting light to Roma encampments.

      The Philae probe at last touches down on Ed Miliband’s cranium, whereupon the signal is immediately lost.

      The general election results in a Labour-Lib Dem coalition, with Ed Miliband as prime minister and Nick Clegg as his deputy. It is the first time in British history that an election has been won by parties led by people who have favourability ratings of –476%. A Mori poll, taken the day after the count, suggests that only two people in the country wanted Miliband to be prime minister — Mr and Mrs Graham Stokes, of Sunderland.

      There are terrible queues at Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester.

      Jihadi John decapitates the singer Peter Andre on I’m a Celebrity . . . and is now the favourite to win.

    2. June
      A signal from Philae! It reports that its latest destination is devoid not merely of life but also even of a vacuum. This defies the current paradigms of physics. What could be less than a vacuum?

      Britain’s fattest woman is taken to hospital after her house, in Mansfield, is demolished to get her out. She persuades the driver of the pantechnicon conveying her to stop so she can have a snack at the Little Chef in Doncaster.

      It is revealed that Tony Blair is advising the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, on stuff such as haircuts and how to smirk.

      Jihadi John wins I’m a Celebrity . . . and in triumph decapitates Ant and Dec.

      The Lab-Lib coalition outlaws injurious eco-unfriendly habits such as central heating, driving a car, cooking etc.

      The Philae probe gets the hell out of Ed Miliband, tweeting its immense relief.

      An unusually hot month brings claims of “climate change” from climate change scientists and BBC weather forecasters. The stunningly mediocre July was likewise described by the same people.

      A US company has begun exploratory fracking on the Duchess of York’s thorax, provoking fury from green protesters.

      The ebola virus makes it into the UK, having lied to border officials and worn a cunning disguise for its passport photo.

      Ed Miliband is hospitalised after trying to eat a triangle of Toblerone and getting terribly confused in the process.

      There are now a total of 87 people left in Britain who were born in Britain, and 76m people who weren’t. But they’re not happy either, according to the polls.

      The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams insists that the ebola virus has a right to live a free life in the UK as a member of “God’s kingdom”.

      Jihadi John is now hosting a chat show on ITV under the name “Choppy Man”.

      The Lab-Lib coalition demands that women who don’t do any work should be paid as much as men. “And arguably more,” says Rachel Reeves, the new home secretary.

      The ebola virus is discovered, by the Daily Mail, to be living in a small flat in Keighley and claiming benefits for its exponentially expanding offspring, currently numbering several trillion.

      Hackers based in North Korea have disrupted the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year. Christmas, too, is disrupted, because all the turkeys have fled the country.

    3. And while I'm quoting Rod Liddle, this is very funny too:


      Say what you like about the KGB — and people are always unfairly knocking them, in my opinion — but their judgment is pretty sound. The Soviet Union’s secret service decided not even to bother recruiting the late Tony Benn as an agent, because they considered him “too stupid” and an “unnecessary simpleton” who “told left-wing fairy tales” and “falsified stories”.

      Da, tovarich — that would be about right.

      Mr Benn in later years became a sort of national treasure, typifying our country’s enormous delight in unnecessary simpletons (once they are no longer anywhere near the levers of power).

      He died in March this year and left his vast mansions and huge wealth not to the Labour party, or to radical causes, but to his children — having first taken steps to ensure they would pay a minimum of tax on the fortune.

      Maybe brighter than you comrades thought, then.

    4. I'm so stealing "unnecessary simpleton".

      Although Liddle really ought to keep his mouth shut about someone being accused of making a racist remark about black people.

  3. A newspaper recently ( can't remember which one ) published a summary of the BBC's own report of complaints received in 2014. Some people said "too left-wing", others "too right-wing ", "pro-Israel", "anti-Israel", "anti-UKIP ", " pro-UKIP" and so on.

    All proving that the BBC must be balanced and "getting it about right ". So no problem, then.

    1. It's a numbers game to them. So dishonest.


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