June 11, 2011 · 10:12 am
A week ago, I wrote a blog blatantly plugging the fact that Sit-Down Comedy, the 2003 anthology written by 19 comedians which I edited with the late Malcolm Hardee, is now available as an iBook from iTunes and in a Kindle edition.
I said two of the Sit-Down Comedy contributors were considering publishing print-on-demand books. Now a third tells me he, too, is doing the same thing. He is currently checking the proofs.
Dave Thompson co-wrote a very quirky short story for Sit-Down Comedy with Jim Tavare and tells me: “I am about to publish my novel The Sex Life of a Comedian via Lulu.com after having fallen out with a ‘proper’ publisher.”
Dave explains: “It was what I witnessed at the London book launch of another comedian’s book that made me realise what a shambles I’d got involved with. And then I bought a copy of a book by another comedian I knew and it was bursting with errors. There were so many mistakes, it looked like it hadn’t been proof read…
“From what I hear from other people who get involved in publishing books, publishers rival comedy promoters for incompetence and greed.”
Dave is highly-original. He has written for Ben Elton (they have been friends since schooldays); ITV’s BAFTA Award winning series The Sketch Show with Jim Tavare; Harry Hill’s TV Burp; and, uncredited, for many other Big Name comics. He has even amazingly written for the newly-enobled (as-of today) Sir Bruce Forsyth. Time Out called Dave “one of the finest joke writers in the country”. But, to the public, he is mostly known for the Tinky Winky incident in 1997.
He played Tinky Winky (the purple one) in the world-famous children’s television show Teletubbies but was equally famously fired after American fundamentalist tele-evangelist Jerry Falwell warned parents that handbag-carrying Tinky Winky could be a hidden homosexual symbol, because “he is purple, the gay pride colour, and his antenna is shaped like a triangle: the gay pride symbol”. Ragdoll, the show’s British production company, decided that Dave’s “interpretation of the role was inappropriate” and sacked him.
In Kazakhstan, the Teletubbies are still banned by order of the president who considers Tinky Winky to be a pervert.
The Sex Life of a Comedian is about a stand-up comedian on the UK circuit who gets a job wearing a blue furry costume in a world-famous television show but then gets fired. The story involves drug-fuelled celebrity sex romps, the Mafia and wild parties aboard luxury yachts.
Well, at least no-one in the television or comedy worlds has to worry about it being autobiographical, then.
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Filed under Books, Comedy, Sex, Television
Tagged as anthology, BAFTA, bbc, Ben Elton, book, Bruce Forsyth, children, circuit, comedian, comic, Dave Thompson, David Thompson, fundamentalist, funny, gag, gay, Harry Hill, homosexual, humor, humour, iBook, itunes, ITV, Jerry Falwell, Jim Tavare, joke, Kazakhstan, Kindle, lulu, lulu.com, Mafia, Malcolm hardee, pervert, print on demand, publisher, publishing, purple, sacked, scriptwriter, self publishing, sex, sex life, Sit-Down Comedy, sketch show, stand up, tele evangelist, Teletubbies, teletubby, televangelist, Time Out, Tinky Winky, TV Burp, TV television, writer
January 26, 2011 · 10:19 am
On Sunday 11th October 1992, when Bill Dare was producer of the TV satire series Spitting Image, he put Jesus Christ into the show for the first time – as one of the latex puppets.
The production company involved, Central Television, told the Independent newspaper: “As with all Spitting Image material, this short item has been checked at the highest level for taste and legality and considered suitable for transmission. Spitting Image is renowned for being controversial and viewers must make up their own minds.”
Central received 380 complaints about the sketch before it was transmitted, but only 20 complaints after the broadcast. Overall, according to Bill Dare, ITV received about 70 complaints after the sketch was screened.
The Rev Eric Shegog, Church of England director of communications, said afterwards: “I would have thought, generally speaking, most Christians would not have taken much offence at it because it was so innocuous.”
Legendary moral campaigner and veteran complainer Mary Whitehouse said the puppet show’s sketch – which was about God looking high and low in heaven for a copy of the Bible and failing to find one until Jesus suggests that he look in Yellow Pages – was ‘tasteless’ and ‘silly’, but said that she would not be making a formal complaint.
Nonetheless, Bill Dare asked Central if it was OK to use the Jesus Christ puppet in another upcoming Spitting Image show and perhaps as a regular cast member. Bill was told there would be no problem with using the Jesus puppet again.
But then ITV got complaints from a fundamentalist Muslim group because Jesus, as well as being a Christian icon, is regarded as a Messenger of God by Muslims.
ITV reversed their decision and told Bill he could not use the Jesus puppet in Spitting Image again for fear of… causing offence.
What this shows I do not know. But this was back in 1992.
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Filed under Comedy, Religion, Television
Tagged as Bible, Bill Dare, censorship, Central Television, Christ, Christians, Church of England, Eric Shegog, fundamentalist, God, ITC, ITV, Jesus, Koran, latex, Mary Whitehouse, messenger of god, Moslems, Muslims, offence, prophet, puppet, religion, religious, satire, Spitting Image, television, TV, yellow pages