Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Atkinson archbishop sketch cleared

Rowan Atkinson played a fictional Archbishop of Canterbury in the sketch

A Comic Relief sketch starring Rowan Atkinson as a fictional Archbishop of Canterbury did not breach the broadcasting code, according to watchdog Ofcom.

The clip from the charity broadcast showed the Blackadder star telling viewers they should love their neighbour, but adding that ''doesn't mean s**g your neighbour''.

He also said praying ''doesn't work'' and compared the boyband One Direction to the disciples.

The regulator cleared the programme of breaching the code, with a spokesman saying the decision was made "after careful consideration".

He said: "In reaching this decision we took into consideration the context of the material. This included that Comic Relief is widely known for featuring irreverent and often absurd comedy sketches; the intention of the sketch was to create humour rather than seriously deride Christianity; and that the BBC took immediate action on the night of the broadcast, including issuing an apology for the tone of the sketch, removing it from BBC iPlayer and withdrawing a follow-up sketch due for broadcast later in the evening."

The BBC apologised after the broadcast which it said was "was problematic for a number of different reasons" and "did not translate as we had hoped".

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