United Kingdom

BBC backlash over ‘woke’ warning on classic sitcom Porridge – ‘The nonsense has to stop!’

The broadcasting corporation has come under fire for pushing “woke” views as reruns of the 1970s comedy series on the iPlayer now start with a message about the show containing language some people may find offensive. Fans of the show, which follows the character Norman Stanley Fletcher, played by the late Ronnie Barker, while he was serving time HM Prison Slade in Cumberland, have lashed out over this “nonsense”. One person tweeted: “Porridge has a warning message now on BBCiPlayer – I give up.”

Another fan was critical of the language warning as they called the show one of “the greatest ever sitcoms”.

They added: “Why have the BBC put an advisory notice on Porridge? This nonsense has to stop.”

A third person said: “Warning. This programme is funnier than anything the BBC has produced in 25 years.”

One of the episodes that features a warning includes Mr Fletcher telling a prison escort “you’d have to be Sidney Poitier” to serve at Brixton Prison in London.

Another episode includes him another prisoner called McLaren a “p**f”.

The BBC stated on the iPlayer: “Porridge is a classic comedy which reflects the broadcast standards, language and attitudes of its time. Some viewers may find this content offensive.”

The broadcaster has already caused outrage with some viewers by giving the same warning to other popular British comedies including Blackadder and The Royle Family.

One episode of The Royle Family was slapped with a warning as it featured Ricky Tomlinson’s classic Jim Royle character watching DIY show Changing Rooms.

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“Someone needs to remind them that Britain is the birthplace of Parliamentary democracy and the licence-payers who pay their wages believe in free speech.”

Last year, BBC director-general Tim Davie vowed to crack down on bias with a stark warning to staff over sharing their views on social media.

He said people wanting to be an “opinionated columnist or a partisan campaigner on social media” should not be working at the BBC.

New impartiality guidelines were then brought in to tell all employees that they must “always behave professionally, treating others with respect and courtesy at all times: follow the BBC’s Values”.

The guidelines also stated staff have also been warned to “be wary of ‘revealed bias'”.

This could be through the use of likes or re-posting other posts, or “inferred bias” where a post is impartial but loose wording allows readers to infer a bias where there is none.

A BBC spokesperson told Express.co.uk the warning aims to alert viewers that the show they are about to watch could be “offensive”.

They said: “Attitudes and language change over time and our approach, just like other streaming services, is to tell viewers when a show includes something that may be offensive, inappropriate or outdated and because some people aren’t offended, it doesn’t mean that others aren’t.”


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