Did Carol Thatcher know that the BBC’s taste and decency guidelines apply off air as well as on air?
And that any ill-judged, politically incorrect comments that may fall from her lips at any moment could cost her her job? We don’t know the full context or exactly what she said, only that she used the term ‘golliwog’ to describe a tennis player in the green room at the BBC and that presenter Adrian Chiles challenged her on her remarks.
Golliwog is a derogatory, racist term and even though Thatcher claims it was a joke, her uninhibited use of the word places her clearly in a certain generation — with a striking insensitivity and lack of awareness. Yet the problem with BBC management’s response to Thatcher’s comments is that it extends the broadcaster’s expectation of its contributors to unacceptable lengths.
Does this now mean that if someone catches Jonathan Ross making a tasteless comment in the local pub, and reports it, that the BBC will censure him? Or does this only apply when presenters are on BBC premises? If the Beeb wants to ensure that its presenters are gaffe free, it’s not only going to have to police them, but vet them for their political and personal views on sex, race and religion. That’s the implication of their decision to remove Carol Thatcher from The One Show.