2,200 complaints over Red Nose Day Archbishop sketch – Daily TV round-up

BBC angers some viewers over mocking religion and bad language pre-watershed

The BBC has received more than 2,200 complaints over its Red Nose Day sketch in which Rowan Atkinson played the new Archbishop of Canterbury.

In the sketch, Atkinson also used bad language pre-watershed, the segment being broadcast at 7.45pm last Friday evening.

Atkinson... complaints over Red Nose Day sketch (Copyright: BBC)

Among the remarks which caused offence was the claim that One Direction reminded Jesus of the disciples.

The line 'keep on praying – it doesn't work, but it's a good part of a getting-to-sleep routine if you've got insomnia' was also deemed offensive by some viewers.

A quarter of the complaints received concerned viewers' offence at the mockery of religion, while the majority were aimed at the bad language, which including the phrases 'arsing about' and 'shagging'.

[Related story: Big Brother the 'most-complained about' show of 2012]

The complaints made up the bulk of 2,819 complaints received over the Red Nose Day broadcast in all.

The sketch has now been removed from the BBC's iPlayer.

A statement from the BBC read: “Comic Relief night features seven hours of live television and is known for pushing at the boundaries of comedy alongside heartfelt appeal films.

“It is made for a varied and wide-ranging audience, so getting the language, tone and content of the evening is extremely important to us… to any viewers we may have offended, we apologise.

“Rowan is well known for his comedy characters and this was an affectionate portrayal of an Archbishop figure, which was intended to amuse and entertain. We did not mean to cause any offence.”

'Downton Abbey' star Hugh Bonneville tweeted his views on the sketch at the time.

"Had to go out after Rowan Atkinson’s 'shagging' sketch taking the p**s out of the CofE. Was there a funny one about Islam later on? #rnd," he said. [BBC/Radio Times]

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