C4 to repeat Big Fat Quiz despite Daily Mail's disgust
Few viewers complained about James Corden's and Jack Whitehall's rude jokes – but it didn't stop the Mail
HAS the Daily Mail lost its touch? Despite a slew of articles this week complaining about the "vulgar", "puerile", "vile" and "crass" jokes broadcast by Channel 4 on The Big Fat Quiz of the Year last Sunday, only 80 people had complained to Ofcom by yesterday lunchtime (according to The Times). And to make matters worse, C4 has responded by announcing it will re-broadcast the offending show this Friday night.
This will infuriate the paper which managed in 2008 to force Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross out of the BBC because of a jokey message they left on the answer-machine of Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs during a Radio 2 wheeze-that-went-over-the-top.
Although it emerged that only two people had actually phoned the BBC switchboard to complain, the Mail never let up with its coverage of what became known as Sachsgate, getting MPs to support its campaign that "something must be done".
The number of complaints to Ofcom finally hit 45,000. Never mind that most of them had never actually heard the show – they were "appalled" and "angered" by what they might have heard had they been listening.
This time, the Mail appears determined to make life difficult for comedians Jack Whitehall and James Corden, the main culprits on The Big Fat Quiz of the Year, hosted by "controversial comic" Jimmy Carr. Not only did they make fun of the Queen and Prince Philip, Usain Bolt and Susan Boyle, but they drank wine and ate pizza on camera while doing so.
Just as in 2008, the Mail has conjured a mountain of publicity out of a molehill of complaints – but this time with far less impressive results. Five people complained to Ofcom immediately after the broadcast last Sunday. Following the Mail campaign, that number rose to only 80 yesterday.
As TV viewers contemplate what the world would be like if all television programming had to be cleared by the Daily Mail – remember editor-in-chief Paul Dacre's sour demeanour when he appeared before the Leveson Inquiry last year? – it looks as if the paper's campaign needs a reboot.
The repeat of The Big Fat Quiz of the Year is scheduled for 11.35pm this Friday night, way past bedtime for Daily Mail executives who like to be on the golf course bright and early on a Saturday.
But their sister paper the Mail on Sunday will doubtless be on full alert, columnists' pens dipped in vitriol, rent-a-quote MPs doing their best to stay awake, all ready to ignore C4's "appropriate warnings about strong language and adult humour" and give the dastardly Jack Whitehall and James Corden one last going-over.