Saturday, 13 October 2012
Have I Got News For You has long passed its sale-by-date of biting commentary on current news (if it ever was that), largely resembling a tired format where the hosts turn up, go through the motions and go home. That said, last night - the start of a new series - was intriguing in how they would confront the current storm swirling around the BBC over Jimmy Savile. He was a guest on the programme a couple of times and the programme was the feature of a notorious (and faked) internet account of an alleged outtake regarding Savile.
You can see the Savile segment in the above clip which is taken from last night's show and the result is nothing short of a major rearguard action in defence of the BBC. To summarise, according to the show, it's all the Daily Mail's fault. Apparently it's merely a symptom of 'BBC bashing'. Even the old standby of "it's Margaret Thatcher's fault" makes an appearance.
Now it is true newspapers are not exempt from hypocrisy in this matter, but printing pictures of a 15 year old Charlotte Church in a bikini is one thing, employing and knowingly covering up for the actions of a paedophile, rapist and serial sex offender over decades is quite another.
What you can hear is the unmistakable sound of closing ranks and (if you'll excuse the pun) covering arses particularly by Hislop and Merton. Reassuringly the audience (who are fans of the show - applying for free tickets as they do) would appear to beg to differ. A few times where one would have expected laughter or applause after the team captain's had said their piece, there was silence. If they think attacking the Daily Mail is going get the BBC off the hook then they have sorely misjuged the mood.
As commented on the show Jimmy Savile hid in plain view, one could say the same about BBC bias.