Belfast Telegraph

BBC deny banning Dictator coverage

The BBC has denied Sacha Baron Cohen's claims that it has banned coverage of his new film The Dictator.

The Ali G star told The Sun he had asked to appear in character as Admiral General Aladeen, the star of his new spoof film, and had been turned down by The Graham Norton Show, The One Show, Newsnight, The Andrew Marr Show, and for interviews with Radio 4 and Radio 1.

But a BBC spokesman told the Mail Online there is no ban, and that Sacha's claim was 'tongue-in-cheek'.

The comedian gave a statement in character as Aladeen, saying: "While I am a huge admirer of state-sponsored censorship, the BBC banning me from their meagre channels is an outrage. Why are they victimising little old me?"

The BBC spokesman said that some of the news-based shows such as The Andrew Marr Show would not be suitable for Sacha's controversial new character to appear in, and that some were also pre-watershed and so would be inappropriate to feature an interview with the fictional dictator.

He added: "The Graham Norton Show said it is about personalities. Appearances in character are normally scripted, which might not work if he was on the sofa beside other guests.

"Any of our chat shows would be interested in interviewing Sacha as himself."

The Dictator - which features cameos from Megan Fox and Sir Ben Kingsley - tells the story of a leader of fictitious Middle Eastern country, the Republic of Wadiya, inspired by former dictators such as Saddam Hussein, Colonel Gaddafi and Kim Jong-il.

Earlier this year Sacha attended the Oscars in character as the Admiral General Aladeen and spilled what he claimed to be the ashes of Kim Jong-il on presenter Ryan Seacrest during a red carpet interview.

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