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TV chief criticised over Boyle joke

Channel 4's chief executive has been attacked by an MP for making the "appalling decision" to broadcast Frankie Boyle's joke about Katie Price's son Harvey.

Media watchdog Ofcom ruled in April that Channel 4 breached broadcasting guidelines in controversial TV series Tramadol Nights with a jibe about Harvey making sexual advances towards his mother.

Asked why he had not apologised for the broadcast, chief executive David Abraham told the House of Commons Culture Media and Sport select committee that the remark caused offence because it was taken "out of context".

He said: "We obviously recognise in that particular case, a piece of humour, that was contextualised in the programme late at night, was then passed on in the media and out of context, did cause a reaction which we had not intended. We only ever had satirical intent. We did not intend in any way to focus the humour on a disabled child in this instance."

Mr Abraham said the channel would "like to move on", adding "our commitment to disability issues has been shown across the board".

He admitted to MPs: "There are some lessons to be learned for us on this case. Maybe we won't got it right every single time. We are making hundreds of creative decisions a week."

Mr Abraham did not rule out working with the comedian again, saying: "He clearly works at the edge of taste but that is also the place where Channel 4 needs to be, but to be so in a responsible way."

Best-selling author and Conservative MP Louise Mensch repeated the joke before Mr Abraham, telling him: "This is a disabled little boy that we're talking about. Surely no cultural remit can ever possibly justify such a joke?"

Mr Abraham, who was paid a bonus of £123,000 last year on top of his salary, said the joke was set against the context of Price's own reality TV show.

Channel 4 chairman Lord Burns did apologise, telling the committee: "It was humour directed at his (Harvey's) mother but personally, if it has caused distress to the son, then obviously I'm very sorry."

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