McDonald versus Manning

Tuesday 26th June 2007

Over 200 people have complained to ITV after Sir Trevor McDonald called the late Bernard Manning a "fat white bastard" on News Knight, the network's new weekly satirical comedy show which debuted on Sunday.

In a section of the programme entitled "Racist and Dead" the former newsreader, now satirial comedy show host said: "This week it's fat, narrow-minded comic Bernard Manning. I never thought he was a racist. I just thought he was a fat white bastard."

Although the host's scripted comment raised one the largest laughs of the night from the studio audience, the broadcaster has confirmed to Broadcast magazine that it has received a number of complains.

Jim Bowen called the comment "appalling" but an ITV spokesman defended the show as satire, adding: "I'm sure Bernard would find the whole thing hilarious."

Ofcom is currently assessing the complaints.

News of the complaints have coincided with the funeral of the controversial comic, which took place today at Blackley Crematorium. Some 500 people lined the streets near the comic's Embassy Club in his hometown of Middleton, where he used to perform several shows each week. The mourners included comics Bobby Ball, Roy Chubby Brown, Frank Carson, Jim Bowen, Stan Boardman and Cannon and Ball.

Meanwhile ITV have another worry - although News Knight was generally well received and has received lots of press coverage, Sir Trevor McDonald's move into satire attracted just 2.3 million viewers on Sunday, a huge crash. Last Sunday the final of Britain's Got Talent managed to attract 10.6 million viewers to ITV1 during the same time period.

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