BBC suddenly pulls comedy show over ‘election bias’ about politician not running in election
The BBC confused viewers by suddenly pulling an episode of a popular news-based comedy show just 20 minutes before airing over impartiality concerns about the European elections, even though the MP on the show isn’t running.
The broadcaster said it was concerned the Have I Got News For You show was infringing on its impartiality for the upcoming European elections, because one of the guests was Change UK leader and MP Heidi Allen, who isn’t contesting the elections.
Sorry everyone. The BBC have pulled tonight’s edition of #HIGNFY - no, we didn’t book Danny Baker. We booked Heidi Allen, a member of a party no-one knows the name of (not even the people in it), because the Euro elections, which nobody wants, may or may not be happening.Sorry.— Have I Got News For You (@haveigotnews) May 10, 2019
Maybe I'm just not as funny as Nigel Farage eh #hignfy@haveigotnews !? He's so funny, he seems to be on the BBC all the time! An explanation would be appreciated, not least to acknowledge the hard work of the entire crew who worked diligently to put the show together. https://t.co/lV6ZDa90qr— Heidi Allen MP (@heidiallen75) May 10, 2019
Have I Got News For You appeared baffled by the decision, tweeting that the BBC had pulled the episode because they had booked “a member of a party no-one knows the name of (not even the people in it), because the Euro elections, which nobody wants, may or may not be happening.”
The current affairs comedy panel show even joked about the recently-fired BBC radio host Danny Baker, saying that he wasn’t a guest on the show.Also on rt.com BBC radio host fired for tweeting photo of royal baby as a chimp, sparking racism scandal
“The BBC has specific editorial guidelines that apply during election periods,” the broadcaster said in a statement. “Because of this it would be inappropriate to feature political party leaders on entertainment programmes during this short election period, which does not allow for equal representation to be achieved.”
Broadcasting regulator Ofcom states candidates in elections or representatives of those candidates cannot appear as “news presenters, interviewers or presenters of any type of programme during the election period.”
Tune in on Monday for Have I Got Less News For You.— Have I Got News For You (@haveigotnews) May 10, 2019
BBC issues urgent advice not to look at pictures of Heidi Allen in case she influences Euro election result.— Have I Got News For You (@haveigotnews) May 10, 2019
Have I Got News For You is made by an outside production company and is filmed in advance. Allen apparently checked with the show and was told her appearance wouldn’t be a problem.
Change UK leader @heidiallen75 tells me she "explicitly asked" @haveigotnews producers about whether her appearance would be compatible with election broadcast rules a few days ago. Says she was told "all was fine" #hignfy— Tom Rayner (@RaynerSkyNews) May 10, 2019
The BBC decision was met with confusion on Twitter. A number pointed out that MEP Nigel Farage of the Brexit party had appeared on Have I Got News For You before an election in 2014, and that he was recently on BBC’s Question Time.
The other day I was rooting through the lost property at my sons school and I only stumbled across the BBC’s Integrity. Apparently it had been there for about three years. The school had contacted the owners but apparently they no longer have any need for it.— @BunnyCorcoran (@FinbarSaunders6) May 10, 2019
If this *is* about political balance, how was Johnny Mercer (pro Brexit Tory MP) on #HIGNFY on 26 April, unopposed, also during the EU election period? Why is that ok if @heidiallen75 isn’t? https://t.co/x1HzSUJ19S— Jon Worth (@jonworth) May 10, 2019
Surely they knew that when filming, they only filmed the other day— Mr G Mackie (@grahameylagroin) May 10, 2019
So she's a member of Change-UK ? So what?Presumably if she was a member of the Brexit party that would be fine & dandy ?The @bbc really needs to explain this decision - I mean, really explain it!!— John Parr (@jamjar48) May 10, 2019
There were no other politicians on HIGNFY. At least on Question Time there's usually 3 or 4 opposing politicians. Having just one on a satire show could fall foul of election rules.— John Dunne ♿ (@safc4ever) May 10, 2019
Many were unimpressed by the program that was aired instead, Mrs Brown’s Boys, though one Twitter user joked its unpopularity could unite the country.
Almost as awful as this decision is that the replacement programme is the truly dreadful Mrs Brown's Boys! You have to think we must have done something horrific to be punished in this way.— Stephen Gill (@StephenGill55) May 10, 2019
BBC: "If you're expecting Have I Got News For You, sorry it's not on tonight but don't worry as we have an episode of Mrs Brown's Boys instead!"The BBC really does not know its audience. They would have been better putting the test card on for thirty minutes. #HIGNFY— WatcherMark (@WatcherMark) May 10, 2019
Things that unite the country-Sports.David Attenborough.The weather being garbage.An intense dislike of Mrs Brown's Boys.#hignfy— Ben Williams saw Endgame (@wenbbilliams) May 10, 2019
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