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Comedian hits out as ITV axes song

Award-winning songwriter Tim Minchin has blasted ITV bosses after he claimed a specially written track was pulled from the Jonathan Ross Show for fear of upsetting Christians.

Minchin - who is behind West End hit Matilda - has written a furious blog pointing the finger at the network's director of programmes Peter Fincham, suggesting he was nervous about a backlash.

But ITV said the axing of the song was simply because it did not work "editorially".

Satirist Minchin said he took on the commission at a particularly busy period because of the exposure of such a high profile show, spending three "stressed" days on it.

He said "compliance" staff and lawyers had given the go-ahead to his lyrics long before the recording of the programme, which features Tom Cruise as a guest.

But he said the humorous song - which drew parallels between Woody Allen and Jesus - was pulled when Mr Fincham watched the show.

Minchin said on his blog: "It's 2011. The appropriate reaction to people who think Jesus is a supernatural being is mild embarrassment, sighing tolerance and patient education. And anger when they're being bigots. Oh, and satire. There's always satire."

However, an ITV source said the decision was less about religious sensitivity and more that "tonally, it wasn't right for the show". An ITV spokesman said: "We often make changes to programmes before transmission and on this occasion we felt that the song didn't quite work editorially."

The Ross programme is to be screened on Friday evening on ITV1 at 9pm.

Almost seven years ago BBC executives received threats after the broadcast of Jerry Springer: The Opera, which upset some right-wing Christian groups. The broadcast was said to have generated more than 50,000 complaints.

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