Civics: Editing the Past at the BBC

Max Stephens:

The BBC has purged mentions of disgraced stars Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris along with a number of racist and misogynistic jokes used in several of its classic radio comedies.

An anonymous Radio 4 Extra listener discovered the BBC had been quietly editing repeats of shows over the past few years to be more in keeping with social mores, the Times reported.

Labelling them as “woke cuts,” the listener found edits had been made to old episodes of Dad’s Army, Steptoe and Son and I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again.

In some cases entire sketches had been removed.

For example, a repeat of a 1970 episode of I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again, starring John Cleese and Bill Oddie, had a joke about a scantily clad woman removed.

In the original broadcast, Cleese, impersonating a BBC spokesman, said: “We have noticed that it is possible to see right up to the girls’ knickers, owing to the shortness of their miniskirts, so we’ve asked the girls to drop them.”