Belfast Telegraph

BBC apology after Gerry Anderson plays 'explicit' Chisty Moore song

By Patrice Dougan

Veteran broadcaster Gerry Anderson is no stranger to a bit of controversy, but yesterday he put his foot in it again, forcing the BBC to apologise and pull a song from its playlist.

The quirky radio presenter landed himself in hot water after playing a song about a lads mini-break in Amsterdam, which featured drunken escapades, “rolling joints”, bar brawls and dancing with transvestites.

Listeners to Radio Ulster were shocked by the language in the song, which included uncensored swear words and graphic references to sex toys and drug taking.

The song, Weekend in Amsterdam by folk musician Christy Moore, led to complaints after Anderson played it on his show before lunchtime.

His programme, advertised as “quirky mid-morning entertainment for the family”, airs between 10.30am and 12pm.

The BBC has now removed the song from its playlist.

An angry Belfast Telegraph reader — who wished to remain anonymous — said they were “outraged” after hearing the song on a morning programme at a time when young children could have been listening.

The concerned reader said: “Surely this must be the most obscene song ever broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster.

“No bleeps either, mind.

“And at a time too when people were tuning in to hear about the health service reforms.”

The song details a madcap weekend in the Dutch capital, which begins in a cafe where they smoke hashish and go to a bar to listen to a band they criticise as being “s****”.

They then go to the red light district — where one of them dances with a transvestite — before getting into a fight and running from the local police.

The DUP’s Gregory Campbell said such lyrics should not be aired before the 9pm watershed.

“Given that this was a morning listening audience, hopefully the BBC will take fairly stringent action to put in place procedures to make sure that similar types of lyrics aren’t broadcast at that time of the day again,” said the East Londonderry MP.

Mr Campbell said while Anderson was a presenter who “hasn’t shied away from controversial issues”, he needed to explain his choice of song.

“I would like to hear straight from him as to whether he was aware of the entirety of the lyrics when he played it,” he said.

“It’s conceivable, though not likely, that he could have put a track on without knowing all of what was on the track. It would be helpful if he could explain that.

“It’s all very well for the BBC as a corporate body to take action, and that was the right thing to do, but it would be better if the person who carried out the action were to give an explanation.”

Mr Anderson declined to comment on his choice of song last night and referred this newspaper to the BBC Press Office.

A spokesperson for Radio Ulster said the song has now been removed from the playlist.

“We apologise for any offence caused,” she said.

Background

Gerry Anderson (67) began his radio career on BBC Radio Foyle in 1985.

Radio Ulster issued an apology in 2006 when the presenter said then US President George Bush could “rot in hell” for his birthday.

In 2007, the BBC was forced to pay damages and issue an on-air apology to George Jones, after the former presenter took legal action over comments made by Anderson.

In a 2008 interview, he defended paedophile Gary Glitter, saying “he was great” when he met him in the 1980s, and that “no-one is all bad”.

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