Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 29 January 2015

Ruling on elephant man impression

Ross Noble
Ross Noble

Ross Noble's impression of "elephant man" John Merrick in an edition of Have I Got News For You has been ruled to be "at the margins of acceptability" by the BBC Trust.

But the Trust's editorial standards committee said the comic was making a reference to the screen portrayal of the disfigured Merrick by actor John Hurt, rather than mocking people with disabilities.

The committee said the show did not breach editorial guidelines by screening the footage.

Noble did his impersonation as he bantered with panellist Paul Merton and made a gag that actors in a fast food advert had trained at the John Merrick Academy of Drama, as he jokingly performed the famous line "I am not an animal" from the The Elephant Man in a slurred voice.

The committee did not uphold a complaint about the show, screened in June, but added that it "considered that the impersonation of John Merrick's speech and physical disability, in particular, was at the margins of acceptability".

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Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant

Aquarius:

You long to have some fun, but responsibilities require your attention. Set some reasonable goals and then reward yourself when you finish them in the allotted time. Having incentives will keep you focused and productive. Fortunately, a loved one is offering lots of support. Lean on this friend when you feel discouraged. With their encouragement, you'll be able to finish work in record time. After hours, you'll be able to share a good meal together. Do your best to balance work with play.More