Oh the horror, Rowan Atkinson did an archbishop of Canterbury routine as part of Comic Relief. Cue Outraged of Basingstoke!
The monologue, which was broadcast on BBC1 before the watershed at 7.45pm, was the subject of 2,133 complaints to the BBC – making up the bulk of the 2,819 complaints received about the show overall.
The Atkinson sketch featured his Archbishop of Canterbury character – or “Arch” as he styled himself – underlining that he was not gay, using the phrase “arsing about” and the word “shagging”, and comparing One Direction to Jesus’ disciples.
The skit was pre-recorded on a studio set but was played out to the live audience at BBC Television Centre, who audibly gasped at 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.”
The BBC is vewwy sowwy.
The BBC has not included the sketch in its iPlayer compilation of Comic Relief highlights, and has issued this statement: “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.”
I’m sure Rowan is very flattered by that endorsement.