BBC Defends Have I Got News For You After Jeremy Corbyn 'Bombing' Joke Sparks Complaints

Daniel Welsh
·Entertainment Reporter
·2-min read

The BBC has spoken out in defence of Have I Got News For You, following complaints over a joke in the most recent episode of the panel show.

Last week, comedian Fin Taylor appeared on the long-running BBC show as a guest panellist and discussed his opinions of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

“My relationship with Corbyn is like Bob Dylan, in that I only hate him so much because of his fans,” Fin said, going on to refer to certain Corbyn supporters as “fanatics”.

He added: “All you’ve got to do is, next year, bomb Glastonbury. Hopefully Dylan’s headlining. Two birds, one stone.”

The BBC has since revealed that their Executive Complaints Unit has received multiple complaints from viewers “who felt that a guest’s comment about bombing Glastonbury to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn supporters was inappropriate, and could incite violence”.

Fin Taylor on Have I Got News For You (Photo: BBC)
Fin Taylor on Have I Got News For You (Photo: BBC)

In response to these complaints, they said: “After more than 30 years on air, Have I Got News For You is a well-established comedy series that has built a reputation for irreverent humour and satire.

“Regular viewers expect the panellists to make jokes and understand that contributions are intended to be funny and amusing, and this edition was no exception.

“It was clear that comedian Fin Taylor was talking about an utterly absurd scenario, in which he compared Jeremy Corbyn to Bob Dylan, and was in no way whatsoever to be taken seriously.”

Regular Have I Got News For You panellist Ian Hislop with Fin Taylor (Photo: BBC)
Regular Have I Got News For You panellist Ian Hislop with Fin Taylor (Photo: BBC)

Earlier in the year, Have I Got News For You attracted complaints from viewers who felt the show was “biased against Dominic Cummings”, which were dismissed by the BBC at the time.

“We don’t consider that this story received disproportionate coverage on the programme,” they said.

“It was certainly one of the biggest news stories of the week, and it was appropriate for it to be the focus of this episode as it reflected what much of the nation had been discussing and debating. The jokes and asides were intended to be funny and not expressions of fact.”

READ MORE:

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Have I Got News For You: 15 Things You Didn't Know About The Show As It Celebrates 30 Years On Air

Ian Hislop Takes On Criticism That Have I Got News For You Is 'Too Left-Wing'

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.