Monday, April 22, 2024
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Nick Booth: Swearing on children’s TV – a cynical way to get ahead?


Have you noticed how many TV  presenters use the C-word on telly? By ‘accident’, of course!

Even on children’s TV, like this bloke.

It is a bit offensive to some old-fashioned types. No doubt they will complain, but not to worry, the BBC and Channel 4 bosses despise those sorts anyway.

The complainant, in their view, is probably some God-fearing Women’s Institute type – not one of them. So they can be ignored.

There is a massive plus side to these ‘events’. It gains the hapless presenter ‘victim’ massive publicity. Which is what it is all about.

It is a great way of moving your career on to the next stage. I believe in the Groucho Club they call these verbal slips ‘stunting up’. Or a phrase that rhymes with it. It is a risk-free strategy and great for raising your profile.

I hope the children at home are taking notice of this example.  I jest of course.  But getting noticed is – frighteningly  – massively important in the social media age.

Quite a few have done it now. Can you see a pattern emerging, children?

Let’s see, there was the occasional Telegraph columnist Cathy Newman on her regular Channel 4 News programme. She says “you can follow us on Shitter” then corrects herself “Twitter even”. Jon Snow doesn’t look impressed .

Thing is, it’s not easy to make a “Shi” consonant when you mean to say “twi”. It’s hard to mix them up accidentally! The she tweeted it too. “OH my god, I just said Shitter instead of Twitter”

Was she hoping it would go viral or something? It didn’t.

Even James Naughtie, the former Radio 4 Today presenter, managed to substitute a hard C for the aitch in Jeremy Hunt. (It’s not easy to get those two sounds mixed up but he managed it ). His effort was massively publicised too, with the sound of McNaughtie cackling away in the background, like a teenager who’s got uppity on Snakebites trying not to giggle in the sixth form common room. What a Manchild. He claimed to be mortified later.

So have you worked out what is happening yet, children? Can you see the rewards they are reaping?

Readers at home: How many other attention-seeking TV presenters have managed to smuggle the C-word under the radar, claiming it was a mistake?

Answers in the comments section below, please!

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Nick Booth
Nick Booth
Nick Booth is a freelance writer.

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