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Controversial Radio Comedy Axed

Thursday, August 24th, 2006 at 18:33 by Sarah Malaise

The BBC have chickened out of broadcasting a new radio comedy on BBC Radio Scotland due to its irreverent content. Given that this includes a song about the Taliban and sketches about the Arab/Israeli conflict, this is somewhat unsurprising.

The fact that The Franz Kafka Big Band has been pulled means that listeners will be deprived of the chance to hear Rolf Harris‚?? Blasphemous Cartoon Time¬† which spoofs the Australian artist scribbling caricatures of Buddha and Mohammed, though how this would have worked on radio is not clear.

With those notorious Danish cartoons still fresh in the media‚??s collective memory, it‚??s understandable that¬†the BBC want to tread carefully, but having commissioned the Glasgow troupe of the same name as the show to ‚??surprise even the most unshockable”, the decision to withdraw the series on the grounds of political correctness is disappointing.

According to executive producer Nick Low:

‚??The Franz Kafka Big Band has always been about not compromising what it does. The BBC has been very supportive, it is just whether we can thrash things out and whether a compromise can be made.‚?Ě

Writer and performer Craig Stobo echoed this frustration. He said that due to the 10pm time slot, the team had been given a lot of freedom with their material, and the BBC knew what to expect.  His colleague Colin Edwards, who also produces the show, believed the realistic tone of the programme was the problem, telling The Scotsman newspaper

‚??Because of the post production work and sound effects, something that seems relatively innocuous on paper goes from being relatively funny to something quite potent.”

A BBC spokesman reassured audiences that it was a matter of fine tuning, and that a toned-down version of the show would hopefully be ready for broadcast later this year. It will be interesting to see whether the team manage to bring their material in line with the corporation‚??s anti-fatwa policy without compromising their ‘no sacred cows’ motto.

The good news for the team, as fans of controversial 80s pop stars Frankie Goes to Hollywood may remember, is that censorship by Auntie Beeb practically guarantees them a massive hit.

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3 Comments on “Controversial Radio Comedy Axed”

  1. Mister Innes Smith Says:

    Dear Miss Malaise,
    It’s not a BBC Radio 4 comedy, it’s a BBC Radio Scotland comedy.
    For further enlightenment - go see



  2. Simon Kimber Says:

    Hi Innes,

    Thank you for the info! I’ve updated the story accordingly



  3. Sarah Malaise Says:

    My apologies, Mister Smith. It was wishful thinking on our part, I’m afraid, we would have liked to have heard FKBB south of the border.

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