BBC Director-general, Mark Thompson had nothing to say about homophobic banter when he was interviewed by Steve Hewlett recently (see blog on 1 July 2009). In the interview Mr Thompson said: The majority of the people, and here we're talking - depending on the question - of anything between 60% and 75% of the audience recognise that there's a trade-off. That if you want original new comedy, if you want cutting edge drama, it's inevitable, if the BBC's to give the creative space for people to do interesting, bold new work there is a risk that some people are gonna be offended.
So does the BBC class Jonathan Ross's "jokey banter" as original comedy? Is it perhaps interesting, bold new work? Of course it isn't. The scripted introductions to Friday Night with Jonathan Ross are of no more comedic value than the homophobic banter/bullying heard in Britain's worst workplaces every day.
In March 2009 it was "the men who are regularly taken up the Dolomites" and in May this year it was "the men who are never happier than when they're being taken up the Urals .." So how much has Jonathan's comedy actually progressed over time? Not much, it would seem, because a couple of years ago Jonathan's house band were "never happier than when they're being taken up the Orinoco."
Martina Navratilova was one of the guests on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday. During the press review Martina commented on a Sunday Telegraph headline about Bishop Nazir Ali:- "Change and repent, bishop tells gays; Nazir-Ali reignites Church battle over homosexuality." Martina was very annoyed at the attitude of regarding lesbian and gay people only in terms of sex. "When you have a straight couple," Martina said "you don't automatically imagine Oh I wonder what they do behind closed doors."
In response Andrew Marr recalled Matthew Parris having said that equality will only be achieved when people are uninterested in a person's sexuality.
All-in-all, it seems clear that there is no reason whatsoever for Jonathan Ross's weekly homophobic banter. The BBC is doing a great disservice to the LGBT community, and the sooner the Corporation realises it the better.