A TCW reader has written to tell of a traumatic experience as he sat down to sip his americano in a coffee shop.
He tuned in to listen to BBC Radio 4 Extra via his earpiece and heard a warning that the programme he was about to hear would feature ‘dated language and attitudes’.
Intrigued, he waited. Would he hear an analysis of Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech? Or maybe interviews with National Front activists?
Er, no. The potentially offensive programme was … All Gas and Gaiters.
He immediately recalled it as the gentle ecclesiastical sitcom featuring Derek Nimmo as a bishop’s chaplain which ran on BBC television and radio from 1966 to 1971.
‘All Gas and Gaiters!’ said our exasperated reader. ‘Possibly the least offensive comedy ever written. Watching the increasingly awkward spectacle of footballers “taking the knee” is bad enough, but being warned about All Gas and Gaiters …’
As a riposte to such nonsense, he suggested withholding the licence fee unless the BBC prefaces its current trendy, right-on Leftist output with the warning: ‘This programme contains woke attitudes that many viewers may find highly embarrassing.’
It’s a great idea, so let’s take it a little further with some specific warnings that might be appropriate …
Strictly Come Dancing. ‘Warning: This programme features a couple who right now must have Peter West, the original presenter of Come Dancing in 1952, doing a double reverse spin in his grave.’
Blue Planet. ‘Warning: This programme portrays Man-made climate change as being settled science when it is nothing of the kind and thousands of scientists worldwide have rejected the notion.’
Match of the Day. ‘Warning: This programme contains disturbing scenes of a smug £1.3million-per-year potato crisp salesman doing a job any competent journalist could do for one-tenth of the pay.’
The Great British Bake-Off. ‘Warning: This programme features cakes that viewers haven’t a cat in hell’s chance of making in their own kitchens and they may have to seek a substitute at Marks and Spencer.’
The BBC News. ‘Warning: This programme contains scenes indicating that Brexit is the worst disaster ever to befall Britain; Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter protesters are like genteel guests at a vicar’s tea party; Greta Thunberg is God, Donald Trump is the Devil incarnate and the British Government actually has some idea what it is doing in its response to coronavirus.’
And if All Gas and Gaiters merits a woke warning about its content, other vintage BBC comedies may be in for the same treatment …
Till Death Do Us Part: ‘Warning: This programme was made when people could tell the difference between real prejudice and fictional comic parody, so viewers of a po-faced disposition may find it disturbing.’
’Allo ’Allo! ‘Warning: This programme may give viewers the impression that the Germans in Occupied France were amusing characters and we have been asked to make clear that in fact they were real bastards.’
Up Pompeii. ‘Warning: This programme portrays the city of Pompeii, which was destroyed by a volcano in 79 AD. Anyone affected by this event should ring our helpline.’
Porridge. ‘Warning: This programme shows dated attitudes towards criminals when they were cruelly jailed instead of being recognised as victims of state oppression.’
The Good Life. ‘Warning: This programme features domestic animals now known as possible sources of coronavirus and viewers should be aware that lack of PPE by the two main characters contradicts current advice from the Department of Health.’
Open All Hours. ‘Warning: This programme depicts the sale of galvanised buckets, yard brushes and bars of carbolic soap which are non-essential under current Covid-19 regulations.’